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November 16, 2023

What Is an Employer Value Proposition? Your Secret Weapon for Attracting Qualified Candidates

a person holding a glowing box with a question mark on it over their head.

In today’s job market, employers aren’t the only ones with buying power — candidates can also shop around for the best value and team cultures.

That’s why it’s important to create an employer value proposition (EVP) that helps you win the attention of top talent. With a strong EVP, you'll have clarity into what you’re offering new hires and can build a recruitment process that consistently attracts qualified candidates. 

Ready to ditch the bland job postings and become the MVP of EVPs? In this article, we’ll help you create your own employer value proposition.

What we’ll cover

  • What is an employer value proposition?
  • Employer value proposition vs. employer branding
  • Why create an employer value proposition?
  • 6 questions to help you build your EVP
  • 3 real examples of powerful employer value props

What is an employer value proposition?

An employer value proposition (EVP) is the value that you, as an employer, offer to your employees in exchange for their hard work, skills, and experience. It can include salary, benefits and perks, as well as the core values that drive your organization.

Here are some of the elements that can go into an EVP:

  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Rewards
  • Company vision and values
  • Social purpose
  • Company culture
  • Work environment
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Work-life balance
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Community engagement
  • And more

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Employer value proposition vs. employer branding 

What makes an employee value proposition different from your employer branding?

It boils down to this: EVPs are internal and your strong employer brand is external.

An employer value proposition is the promise you make to your employees in exchange for their long-term commitment to the company. While the values and benefits expressed in this statement can (and should) appeal to external applicants, it’s rooted in the work you’re doing internally to retain top talent.

Your employer branding strategy is all about how your company looks to the outside world. The employer brand is the messaging you broadcast, highlighting your company’s mission, values, and perks. You can think of it as how your EVP is perceived by others.

Why create an employer value proposition? The benefits of a strong EVP

Developing your company’s EVP isn’t a philosophical exercise. It can lead to many tangible benefits for your business. Here are some of the key reasons to create an employer value proposition.

Attract the right talent

A compelling EVP not only elevates your employer brand, it also makes you a more viable landing pad for the best talent. Research from Gartner shows companies can reach 50% deeper into the labor market with the help of an engaging EVP. Zeroing in on what makes your company unique will help you attract five-star candidates who gel with what you have to offer. This can go a long way in creating a talent acquisition strategy that sets the stage for strong performance.

Increase employee retention

With a strong EVP, new hires have a better chance of sticking around because employees feel they understand your vision for the organization. Gartner (yep, same study) also found that by going the extra mile and effectively delivering on your EVP, you can decrease annual employee turnover by nearly 70%.

Find your best-fits faster

A well-written EVP provides a glimpse into life at the company. This helps potential candidates discover for themselves whether or not your organization is the right fit. Misalignment of fit is a major cause of turnover, and according to the folks at Zenefits, 25% of employers have hired new employees who don’t even bother to show up on their first day. If you want to filter out the mismatches and find your best-fits sooner, an EVP can help make it happen.

Boost employee engagement

In addition to better recruitment marketing and hiring, EVPs are also about making a high-visibility commitment to (and a positive impact on) your existing employees. A comprehensive EVP helps employees understand the company’s vision, values, and mission, nurturing a sense of purpose in their day-to-day work. This can have a huge positive knock-on effect. According to Gallup, high engagement can pay off to the tune of a 23% boost in profitability.

6 questions to help you build your EVP

An effective employer value prop doesn’t appear out of thin air. It takes some serious introspection to create a statement that sings.

These questions will help guide you as you create your EVP.

1. What makes my company unique?

Every organization has that one special selling point that sets them apart from the pack. Whether it’s generous vacation time, ultra-flexible working options, or an inspiring company culture, think about what you offer employees that other companies can’t. 

Not sure what your magic sauce is made of? Create an employee focus group to find out what they really want.

2. Am I really committed to this? Or does it just look good on paper?

An EVP should show off your strengths, but you still have to put in the work to make those promises a reality.

If you highlight career development opportunities in your proposition, you need to have the quiet hiring structures in place to back that up. If you claim to have a competitive healthcare package, make sure you’re regularly reviewing your employee benefits to keep them up-to-date. It’s all about maintaining your responsibility to your employees IRL, taking your EVP from a proposition to a full-time commitment.

3. Is my EVP comprehensive?

Today’s job seekers are often choosing between multiple offers. When they start comparing companies, you don’t want to get crossed off the list because you forgot to include a key piece of information.

Cover your bases by including the following elements in your EVP:

  • Total compensation package (including benefits, bonuses, and perks)
  • Opportunities for growth
  • Company history and future plans
  • Work style (Hybrid? In-office? Fully remote?)
  • Work-life balance

4. Is my EVP inspiring?

When writing your EVP, make sure that it says something real about your organization. While a ping-pong table in the office and cold brew on tap might have been major draws once upon a time, the key to attracting candidates who get what you're about is to skip the perks-first approach and dig deeper. 

Focus on the value employees will get from working at your organization, whether that’s career-elevating mentorship opportunities, the chance to work on something big, or a better work-life balance.

5. Am I being specific enough?

A good rule of thumb for your EVP is to ditch the buzzwords and offer specific examples of work experience at your company. Rather than describing the office as a “collaborative environment,” share insights about your company’s performance review process and “ask me anything” sessions with management.

6. Am I taking all branches into consideration?

If your company has several offices in different cities, make sure your EVP accounts for the distinct cultures of each location. If your Los Angeles office is mostly creatives, but your New York location is mostly finance, highlight the unique points of each.

3 real examples of powerful employer value props

Ready to write your own EVP? Take inspiration from the best with these real-life examples.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot’s EVP is top-tier because of its specific language and targeted examples. When talking about its open culture, HubSpot piques your interest with the tagline: “There's no inner circle.” 

They then go on to describe how everyone from interns to execs shares ideas and knowledge, creating a “radically transparent” environment where everyone can “think like founders.” They also include a helpful section about their hybrid company structure, providing convenient links to learn more about work life at each of their 15 offices.

“Your best work starts here. When people ask what it's like to work at HubSpot, you’ll usually hear the same few sentiments. There's no inner circle. Everyone from the C-suite to interns share information, knowledge, and ideas. Being radically transparent helps us all think like founders, and stay focused on solving for our customers. Everyone's empowered to work autonomously. We trust amazing people to do amazing things.”

2. LinkedIn

As part of its LinkedIn Life program, LinkedIn’s EVP clearly articulates the personality and ethos of the company. Their mission isn’t just to create a “trusted, caring, inclusive, fun, and transformational experience” — they want to do it for “every member of the global workforce”. 

A big promise, but for the world’s largest professional network, it rings true. By thinking big picture and making good on their promises, LinkedIn illustrates its value not just to its employees, but to job seekers everywhere.

“What is #LinkedInLife? A shared sense of belonging, the flexibility to prioritize what matters most, the space and support to dream BIG, a welcoming and inclusive environment. At its core, LinkedIn Life is our collective personality as a company. We aspire to create a trusted, caring, inclusive, fun, and transformational experience for each other at LinkedIn, and through our platform for every member of the global workforce.”

3. Shopify

Like LinkedIn, Shopify takes its corporate mission and makes it feel larger than life via its EVP. With a full-screen commitment to “Make commerce better for everyone,” Shopify describes their work compellingly (and succinctly) as “Life-defining work for you—and entrepreneurs.” 

This is a direct nod towards Shopify’s existing top-performers — described as “gold-medallists, chess grandmasters, and Michelin-star chefs”. Those who aren’t interested in that type of culture, need not apply.

“This is not zero-sum work. Our product enables entrepreneurship to create new value for the world and unlocks unlimited personal growth for the people who build it. We all get shit done, ship fast, and learn. We operate on low process and high trust, and trade on impact. You have to care deeply about what you’re doing, and commit to continuously developing your craft, to keep pace here. That means Shopify is not the right place for everyone…. Some people who join us are already the world’s best at something: gold-medallist, chess grandmaster, Michelin-star chef. If this is you, hit VIP access at the top to convert your skills into high-performance Shopify roles.”

Show your candidates what you’re worth

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