Building a world-class employer brand using EVP

6 mins
September 1, 2022
Business Growth

For many Helm members, the recruitment and retention of high-quality talent has become a huge business challenge. In a recent Helm LinkedIn poll  the overwhelming majority of respondents (74% at the time of writing) cited recruitment as the people challenge most keeping them awake. Admittedly its a small sample.

But one impact of recent events, from the pandemic to Brexit, to the great resignation, has been to tip the balance of power in the labour market towards employees. 

Almost half of employees globally are considering moving on from their existing employer, with over a third (36%) happy to do so without a new role to go to. With the balance of power seemingly tipping towards employees, it’s clear that employers need to do more to stand out.  

It’s clear employers need to do more to stand out and appeal to the widest pool of talent.

At a digital discussion for members, Helm member and founder of Initial Jamie Matthews, looked at how the idea of creating a powerful employer brand can help. His approach was to focus on a toolkit called The Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The full session is available to watch on-demand (members only).

Understanding the Employee Value Proposition

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the mix of rewards and chances a company gives an employee for their skills and experience. It represents the value exchange between an employer and the employee and plays a crucial role in recruitment & retention.

Components of an EVP typically include:

  • Compensation: Your base salary but also bonuses, equity, and other financial incentives.
  • Benefits: Health insurance, retirement plans, annual leave, parental leave, and other perks contributing to an employee's wellbeing.
  • Career Development: This covers opportunities for learning, professional growth, and career advancement within the organisation.
  • Work Environment: Both the physical workspace and the social/cultural environment
  • Work-Life Balance: Notable examples flexible working hours, remote work options, and wellness programs.
  • Purpose: This refers to the meaning and impact of the work, which is particularly important for employees who want their work to align with their personal values or contribute to a larger societal good.

‍Difference between Employer Brand & EVP

Your EVP is the tangible and intangible benefits you offer to your employees. It's the promise that motivates your employees and drives their performance.

Your Employer Brand, however, is the perception of your company as a workplace, both internally and externally. Unlike the EVP which you can directly control, your Employer Brand is shaped by others' experiences and opinions.

While your consumer brand can influence this perception, it doesn't necessarily reflect the reality for your employees. You can try to shape your Employer Brand via social media and other channels, but its authenticity is determined by current and prospective employees' perceptions.

Your EVP sets the foundation for your Employer Brand by defining your company culture and setting expectations for potential hires. Especially in today's remote work culture, a well-defined EVP is crucial to unifying your team around common values and mission.

When your team aligns with your mission, your Employer Brand benefits. A cohesive team positively influences your reputation through positive reviews and employee advocacy.

In essence, your EVP ensures your company's portrayal is consistent, genuine, and aligns with employees' expectations, aiding not only in talent attraction but also in retention.

A founder’s take on the Employee Value Proposition

As part of our exclusive Digital Session for our members, Jamie looked at the issue of employer branding from a perspective focused not just on the slightly vague concept of an employer brand, but the rather more tangible concept of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

Jamie offered us his definition of EVP:

“The value exchange between an employer and its employees. To put it another way, it’s the total employment experience that is offered by a company in exchange for the productivity and performance of its staff.”

This involves many different, but related aspects of the company’s culture and values, its way of doing things and the rules and behaviours it sets for staff and the “psychological contract” between the two. Jamie showed a map of some of the many connected elements involved.

The main point Jamie was making was that EVP is an excellent way to bring many elements of this ecosystem together. “A strong EVP will bring the seemingly unconnected, perhaps disparate elements of a business under one cohesive strategic umbrella.”

The influence of the pandemic

Covid changed forever many aspects of business, but few were shaken so fundamentally as the essential psychological contract between employee and employer. Put bluntly, Jamie explained that there has been an explosion of people feeling they don’t want to do “the same old sh1t I have been doing”.

And the post-pandemic workplace requires a value proposition based on new management principles, providing opportunities for deeper connections. According to Jamie, offering “radical flexibility” is what will have the most impact.

With a rapid expansion of employee experience rating platforms, such as Glassdoor, and a generation who have grown up used to peer-to-peer ratings services such as TripAdvisor, there is a need to think differently about the recruitment process. Employers need to understand that employees are treating job moves like other purchases.

As Jamie put it, “Your next employees are buying a job from you and there are plenty on offer from a wide range of competitors. Social media and platforms like Glassdoor mean that both positive and negative employee experiences have a much longer shelf life and therefore impact on a company’s future hiring ability.”

How to build an EVP

Building an effective Employee Value Proposition (EVP) involves understanding what your employees and potential candidates value and aligning those with your business goals. Here are some steps to help guide you in developing a compelling EVP.

  • Conduct surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews to gain insights into what your employees value most.
  • Look at what competitors in your industry are offering their employees. This will help you understand what potential candidates might expect and where your organisation can stand out.
  • Based on your research, define the key components of your EVP that you think will be most attractive to your employees and potential candidates. 
  • Make sure your EVP supports your overall business goals and strategy.
  • Once you've defined your EVP, communicate it clearly and consistently, both internally to current employees and externally to potential candidates.
  • It's crucial that the experience of working at your company aligns with what's promised in your EVP. Regularly gather feedback from employees and make necessary adjustments to ensure you're living up to your promises.
  • Regularly revisit your EVP to ensure it stays relevant and competitive.

An effective EVP is unique to your company, reflecting your particular strengths and culture. 

It's not about offering the same benefits as everyone else, but rather about highlighting what makes your company a unique and rewarding place to work.

Jamie Matthews on how to build EVP better 

Jamie offered tips on the eight traits of great EVP. These were:

  • It must be visible
  • It should be felt
  • It must be consistent
  • It must be ownable
  • It must be different
  • It must be true
  • It must be relevant
  • It should build relationships

He ended by exploring the ways that a strong EVP can help an organisation, citing a wide range of areas from values and culture alignment to optimised training goals, from faster career progression to better salaries, from an enhanced reputation to a clearer vision, as well as several other factors such as a stronger recruitment profile, better bottom-line growth and higher levels of staff retention.

Become a Helm member today for access to our digital sessions with business founders

Andreas Adamides


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