Employee value propositions: Where (and why) to start

May 3, 2016

Thanks to Google reviews and sites like Yelp and Zomato, it’s easier than ever to check out restaurants before you decide where to grab lunch. Similarly, the internet has made it really easy for candidates to check out organizations before they work there.

Three out of four candidates consider an employer’s reputation before even applying for a job. So, how do candidates find out about your reputation? Social media and Glassdoor—where candidates and employees rank and review everything from CEOs, to interview questions, to benefits. They also make conclusions based on your online presence, including your careers site and how you write job descriptions.

75 percent of candidates are sizing you up before even applying. And that’s why great employer branding, and more specifically, employee value propositions (EVPs) are increasingly important.

What are employee value propositions (EVPs), anyway?

You know which fast food restaurants patrons say, “I’m lovin’ it.” You know which sports apparel company promises to help you “Just do it.” You know where to go if you want to be in “The happiest place on earth.” Why? Consistent marketing.

Now, you might never be the McDonalds of employers (and you may not want to be …). But what you can do is create a consistent message that sets the stage for your employer reputation and communicates the value your organization provides employees. That’s an employee value proposition (EVP).

Here’s an example: L’Oreal (who consistently ranks as one of Europe’s best companies to work for) has three main EVPs:

· A thrilling experience

· Inspiring company

· School of excellence

EVPs should highlight the unique value your organization offers, be consistent throughout recruiting materials, and easy to remember. Here’s how to identify the EVPs of your organization.

How to identify EVPs

Imagine an employee is trying to get a friend to apply to work at your organization. What great things would that employee say? Maybe employees love that they get an above average amount of vacation days. Or that the organization pays for lunch if goals are met every month. Name every single lovable thing about your company. (Hint: You can even do an anonymous survey so you know exactly what employees love. Google Forms can help with that!)

Next, drill down to why your company provides those things employees love. So, you provide extra vacation time for employees. Why? Is it because you value work-life balance? Work-life balance might be one of your EVPs. You buy lunch for hitting goals. Why? Is it because the organization has a commitment to constantly improve? Constant improvement might be an EVP. And so on.

Narrow your EVPs down to just a few. (Remember, you want these to be memorable, and long lists are not memorable.) Make them snackable—like taglines. You can do the logical explanations in descriptions that accompany them. If that sounds like a lot of work (or if taglines aren’t your forte), don’t worry. You won’t be doing this alone.

Who to include on your EVP team

Unless you’re a solo entrepreneur looking to set EVPs before making your first hire (And if you are, wow! Kudos.) you likely have some people in your organization who will provide vital, unique insights for creating EVPs.

· The CEO

Your CEO should have a big-picture vision for the whole company. This vision will help you share and angle your EVPs to attract the employees who will help paint the big picture. And actually, 60 percent of CEOs feel they are accountable for employer branding, so you probably won’t have to twist his or her arm too hard.

· The marketer

Recruiting and marketing are very similar endeavors. And those taglines you want to create for each EVP? They’ll likely have an idea of how to sell them to candidates. Your marketer will also likely have ideas for how to best distribute your EVPs when recruiting.

· The recruiter

Obviously. Selling your organization’s open positions to candidates has likely already given your recruiters a pretty good idea of which values help them close the deal. EVPs are just about formalizing those deal-closing values.

Can’t get these three people involved? That’s okay. Form a committee with some of your employees who have skills similar to a big-thinking CEO, clever marketer, or smooth-talking recruiter. What’s important is that you get different perspectives and come up with something that effectively communicates the value you provide.


Communicating the value you provide as an employer is vital for attracting top candidates. Recruiters will thank you because they’ll be twice as likely to get responses from candidates. Your CEO will thank you because it’ll decrease your cost to hire by 43 percent. And creating employee value propositions are the first step to communicating that value effectively.

**Interested in how to distribute your EVPs? Tune in next week for part two!

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