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Employee value proposition: A key ingredient to gaining and retaining top talent

Do you aspire to position your organization as an employer of choice? While there are many steps to building that reputation over time, one accessible strategy that you can implement almost immediately is to establish an employee value proposition (EVP).

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What is an employee value proposition (EVP)?
  • How does an EVP help position you as an employer of choice?
  • How do you create an EVP?

What is an employee value proposition?

An employee value proposition (EVP) is a statement that shows what an employer or organization is willing to do to support its employees. Like a customer value proposition, an EVP is a promise of what an employer is committed to providing to its potential and current employees.

Why do you need an employee value proposition?

In tight labor markets, being known as a top workplace can help insulate you from the stress and strain of a widespread talent shortage.

A well-written EVP helps you articulate your dedication to welcoming, supporting and recognizing your employees. Highlighting what’s uniquely appealing about joining your organization, an EVP can provide job candidates with a first glimpse at your company culture. An EVP is a core component of any top employer’s recruiting and retention strategy.

Who should create an employee value proposition?

When you’re ready to write or revamp your EVP, assembling the right team of collaborators will help you produce one that’s both authentic and effective.

Ideally, you’d get input from those who are responsible for your:

  • Human resources
  • Recruiting
  • Department leadership
  • Marketing

There should be a strong dotted line from your EVP to your company’s culture, mission, vision and values, and bringing together this group of people will help you connect to that broader context

How to develop your employee value proposition

Think about your happiest, most engaged employees. Chances are there’s something about working for your company that has delighted them and motivates them to stay with you. Keep these employees in mind when you set out to develop your EVP. Why do they like working for you? The answer to this question becomes the foundation of your EVP.

Rather than making an educated guess, consider surveying your current employees to find out why they are happy working for you. Ask open-ended questions about their employee experience, such as:

  • Why did you decide to work for us?
  • Why do you enjoy working here?
  • How do you feel about:
    • The company benefits?
    • Your supervisor?
    • Your schedule and work-life balance?
    • Your career progression and growth opportunities?
  • Why would you recommend us as an employer to a friend?

You can also get unfiltered insight into your employees’ opinions about working for you by reading their comments on review sites like Glassdoor or Indeed, focusing on the most sincere, positive feedback.

Look for patterns among responses and reviews, borrowing these sentiments to craft your EVP.

What to include in an employee value proposition

Your EVP should align with the information you gather from your current employees, balancing:

  • What your company offers its workers
  • How you compare to your competition
  • The experience employees can expect from their first day to their last

Depending on the insights you’ve collected, you may wish to highlight a couple of key differentiators in your EVP, such as:

  • Compensation
  • Work-life balance
  • Corporate culture
  • Career progression
  • Job security

Your employee value proposition can be as short or long as it needs – focus more on highlighting the above sentiments and what’s most important to convey rather than fitting into (or trying to meet) a specific word count.

Employee value proposition example

Here’s an example of an employee value proposition:

At Company ABC, we provide a work culture that is empowering – encouraging our team to be great and give their best each day. Our valued employees are the foundation of our success and are the key to fulfilling our mission. Company ABC invests in employee learning and development and strives to promote from within.

How to use your employee value proposition

Once you’ve established your company’s unique EVP, you can start sharing it. Consider these options:

  • Make sure your tenured employees know your EVP – whether it’s already existing or brand new. Consider company-wide communications about the EVP, especially if it has been recently established or updated.
  • Give it a prominent spot on the “Careers” page of your website.
  • Begin your job postings with your EVP and list of employee benefits (instead of just tacking these on at the end).
  • Utilize your EVP’s messaging whenever you’re engaging with potential employees, whether in person or online.

Putting your employee value proposition into practice

Making good on your employee promise is even more important than crafting the right message. Once you establish an employee value proposition, you must live it out. If not, you risk damaging trust in your leadership and weakening your employer brand (as well as the likelihood that your employees will stick around).

For example, if your EVP mentions career progression or personal growth, ensure you’re truly providing those opportunities to your employees. What systems do you have in place to encourage all employees to grow?

No matter what your EVP promises, having regular surveys and communications is key to continuing to show employees that you care about their experience with your company. The EVP will allow you to fine-tune your level of support and consistently reaffirm your commitment to helping employees succeed. Also, recognizing and rewarding employees according to what you’ve outlined as important in your EVP will help your message to them resonate long after the recruiting process.

And lastly, plan for your EVP to evolve over time, revisiting it often to help ensure you remain sincere and stay relevant to the candidates you want to attract.

Summing it all up

As an employer, what is your promise to job candidates and seasoned employees? What makes your company unique? This is your employee value proposition, and the more specific, tangible and honest it is, the better. Promoting what makes you special as an employer will encourage more candidates to choose you over competing opportunities.

And remember, EVPs aren’t just a tool for making new hires. When accurate, they’re an aid to retention, helping affirm your company culture and employer brand through every stage of an employee’s tenure.

Knowing how to articulate your employee value proposition is just one of many strategies for attracting and retaining top talent. Learn more about becoming an employer of choice by downloading our free e-book, How to develop a top-notch workforce that will accelerate your business.