Creating a company’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is no easy task. Ask any talent brander, and they’ll tell you all about their struggles and victories along the way. Nevertheless, developing, communicating, and embedding the EVP within a company is crucial for any organization that wants to attract the right talent. That’s because the EVP is the baseline for any employer brand, and it exists whether it’s spelled out or not.
During a Talent Brand Summit, Rian Finnegan, senior manager of employer brand and recruitment marketing and facilitator of the session “Multiple EVP Personalities,” summed up the heart of EVPs with the question: “Why should I work for your company instead of somewhere else?”
It’s simple, but it illustrates the importance of articulating your differentiators. If candidates – and certainly employees – can’t come up with a satisfying answer to this question, your company will miss out on attracting great talent. Leadership should take note if employees don’t have enough substance to say or share; this serves as a warning light about the level of employee engagement.
Just like the adage “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” companies define top-notch talent differently. Every company is not a fit for everyone. To get the people you need, your EVP becomes one of your most important assets — but only when it ties back to your mission, vision, values, and core identity. If it doesn’t, the people you’ll attract won’t be driven by your company’s purpose. And no matter how good those people are, they aren’t the people you want.
EVP personalities are the more refined messages tailored to to different job functions or locations. For example, the value proposition for an engineering group may differ from the value proposition for the call center. These EVP personalities all fall under the core/ umbrella EVP, but different facets/levers may be dialed up or down to address the ideal candidates for each group.
Every company wants to attract the right talent. That’s why EVPs and EVP personalities impact every business no matter the industry, size, target talent, etc.
Building and maintaining an EVP is not simple. Organizations universally seem to run into the same issues and have similar perceptions regarding this process. It’s even harder for businesses that have large groups of employees that operate in different locations and countries with varying roles, team dynamics or focus. Those with multiple brands have even more complexity.
Companies that want to stay true to their purpose and successfully manage their employer brand must contend with these realities.
2. Mergers and acquisitions can take a toll on EVPs. Leadership changes, external circumstances (hello there, COVID-19!), shifts in business and hiring priorities, market changes, and other factors impact the EVP personalties. Refreshing them, adjusting them, aligning them with the main company, or scrapping them completely involves a long process of clarifying conversations, writing and rewriting, and building trust to gain support. Whether or not the team(s) agree to move forward, this valuable work provides an opportunity to evaluate how well EVPs are working and how well they reflect the DNA of the company (or companies).
3. The process of EVP building inevitably involves roadblocks with leaders, decision makers, and key employees representatives. This is especially true when there are many players from different companies involved. To prepare well for those challenges, include all stakeholders from the beginning. Providing opportunities for everyone to communicate their opinions and ideas goes a long way in solidifying support. You can let others influence the process and outcome without catering to every request. Just being involved gives everyone a sense of fairness and lays the foundation for enthusiasm and alignment in the final stages of development.
Although numerous brands do an exceptional job with their overarching EVP, many companies could benefit tremendously from defining and refining their value propositions for subgroups (regions, call centers vs. engineers, etc.).
Some brands do a good job of creating an EVP for their core market, let's say North America, but then don't take the time to localize/regionalize for countries or locations where they hire less.
Issues that can be detrimental to the employer brand
Employees create the culture; we tell it. As talent brand leaders, let’s keep working to tell the story of our people and our individual company cultures that resonate with the majority of employees while acknowledging that not everyone experiences the culture in the same way.
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