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How to Develop an Employee Value Proposition

Developing a strong employee value proposition (EVP) is a key element of any recruiting and retention effort. An EVP represents everything of value that the employer has to offer its employees—pay, benefits, training, career development opportunities, etc.—in return for the employees' positive productivity and performance. An EVP is part of the employer's branding strategy and is marketed to the current and potential workforce. The following steps can help an employer define its EVP and related messaging.

Step 1: Examine Existing Offerings

The first step is to inventory everything that is currently being offered to employees that could be perceived as valuable. Include traditional compensation and benefits as well as other perks that convey your company's culture and brand, such as a casual dress code, volunteer opportunities or robust employee resource groups. This list can later be compared to the data collected from current and potential employees in the following steps to help identify gaps where attention may be needed.

Step 2: Ask Your Employees

The most successful EVPs are built on the specific wants and needs of workers at a particular organization. Employers should collect data from current employees using employee satisfaction, engagement, stay and exit surveys to find out what is important to them and what they value at work. While compensation and benefits are often at the top of everyone's list, you may be surprised to learn what else is helping to retain your workers—or causing them to leave. For example, flexible work arrangements are in demand now more than ever. While previous generations may not have identified flexible work as a top priority, younger workers, Millennials especially, expect employers to continue offering the remote and hybrid arrangements that were implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It can be helpful to track the data collected on a spreadsheet or in a database that can be filtered by various demographics of the workplace. This will be important later when matching employee wants with the company's business needs.

Step 3: Identify Future Hiring Needs

Retaining current employees is important, but employers must also think about future recruiting needs. Identify the forecasted talent needs of the organization and gather market research through consulting firms and industry associations on what candidates for those roles are looking for from employers. The results can vary depending on industry or specialty. An employer focused on tech recruiting may find that potential employees want access to cutting-edge hardware and software as well as career development opportunities, while an employer who is hiring entry-level retail employees might find that predictable scheduling and competitive pay are what those employee value.

Step 4: Establish Your EVP

Define the EVP by considering the data collected through employee surveys and market research alongside the company's business needs as defined by the strategic plan. For example, if the organization's talent acquisition strategy includes goals for hiring more women and people of color in management roles, the data collected should be filtered to identify responses from those targeted demographics. However, there should be some balance between targeting the EVP to particular employee segments and keeping it broad enough to work for the largest number of people. Employers should also avoid targeting a particular population in a way that ostracizes other groups. For example, focusing solely on digital natives may make the company look undesirable to older workers, and featuring benefits specifically tailored to working mothers may make nonparents feel less welcomed. Employers should look for trends in the data that appeal to the majority of workers as well. An effective EVP will align the wants of current and future employees with the needs of the organization.

The EVP should also serve to differentiate the employer from its competitors. Not just answering for individuals, "why should I work for this company," but "why should I work for this company and not another company." For example, if your company offers a benefit that stands out from what competing employers are offering, such as unlimited paid time off or a pension plan, make sure this is featured in the EVP.

Step 5: Communicate the EVP

Once the EVP is defined, everyone should know about it. Leadership and managers must be knowledgeable about the EVP and the intended messaging, and the EVP should be clearly understood and communicated at every level of the organization.

Employers can use multiple channels to communicate the message internally and externally. Think about how your employees prefer to receive communication and if you don't know, ask them. Employers can utilize social media, intranets, e-mail, text messaging and any other communication vehicle that is effective for the workforce. Once internal employees are fully informed, invite them to help share the message outside of the company. Using testimonials from current employees is a powerful recruitment tool, as job candidates are more likely to listen to what current employees have to say versus what they may feel is the standard script from HR and hiring managers.

Sharing the EVP message publicly is important because you never know where your next employee might come from. Customers, clients and competitors can all be potential employees or referral sources.

Examples of company website messaging:


Whether you want to tout a particular perk that makes your company stand out; express your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; or describe the employee attributes that are desired and recognized at your company, employers should summarize the EVP into a concise statement that conveys the message clearly. While the full EVP is often communicated on company websites and careers pages, a summary statement can be used for broader marketing purposes.

Step 6: Keep It Current

Employers need to review their EVPs regularly to make sure they remain relevant and effective. Asking EVP-related questions when employees join or leave the company, during performance reviews, via stay interviews, and in employee surveys can provide ongoing data about how employees perceive the EVP. Recruitment and retention metrics such as employee engagement and turnover data can also indicate how well the EVP fits with employee needs and expectations.

How frequently employers make changes to an EVP depends on a number of factors. For example, if the organization or its labor market is changing rapidly, management may want to monitor the situation to see if revisions to the EVP are necessary. However, constantly changing the EVP message can lessen its impact if the perception is that the employer is just issuing a statement to appear as an attractive employer rather than conveying the true culture and employee experience of the organization.



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