Defining Your Value and Employer Brand Early On

The employee value proposition (EVP) statement is the centerpiece to any well executed employer brand strategy. Your EVP should encompass the true essence of what it’s like to work for your company -- not only from those who are crafting the EVP, but it should encompass several parts in order to be effective. Most companies start building their employer brand before they even think about the true value of working for their company. Without an EVP you cannot build a successful employer brand.  

So how does one define their value early on and build their brand to become a top choice when candidates are searching and applying for jobs? Your EVP shouldn’t be an overnight statement, but one that encompasses all pieces of your culture and employee experience.  

4 Ways to Help Define Your Employee Value Proposition

1. Conduct employee surveys / exit surveys

The easiest way to help shape your EVP is to go straight to the source -- your employees. Getting candid feedback might be difficult if your HR department is conducting these in-person. Think about conducting these anonymously or by hiring an outside firm to conduct the interviews and put together data based on what your employees really think. Getting solid bits of information around what it’s like to work for your company will uncover both good and bad, but will allow you to have a conversation that will create a last impact on your culture and workplace overall. These surveys should ask questions like what it’s like to work for the company or what specifically attracted them to apply and decide to take the job offer.  

2. Be who you are and not just what you want to be

We hear the phrase “fake it till you make it” quite often in the business world, but this will not work when establishing a solid EVP. Not only will your employees see right through it, but eventually it’ll shatter in front of potential candidates and create higher turnovers early on. While you want to keep your EVP very aspirational, it’s important to deliver on the type of promise that you’re making to gain the trust and respect of those people. Your EVP will, if executed properly, show candidates the true essence of your company and what it’s like to work there.  

3. Find examples both industry and non-industry related

Look at your competitors. Look at those in your industry who aren’t necessarily competitors, and then take a look outside your industry completely to look a potential talent competitors outside your industry and see what’s out there. Find bits and pieces that you like and that you love and see if they’re a good fit for your company based on the research you've already done. Once you’ve accumulated these examples have an internal discussion and make a list of what makes your organization great and how it ties into the different examples you’ve found. Be cautious in ensuring that your overall EVP is unique to your employer brand and not something that imitates another.  

4. Build your employer brand around your EVP

Once you’ve conducted surveys, competitor research, and crafted an EVP that speaks to the true nature of your company -- then and only then are you ready to build your employer brand narrative. Use the data you’ve collected to craft a story around what it’s like to not only work for your company as a whole, but what it’s like to work for individual teams. Tell your story in a way that captures job seekers and gives them real insight on the day to day of your company and the teams within it. Your brand can speak to what you’ve found out, but it’s best to have it intertwined with employee testimonials -- both video and written. This is the part where your EVP goes to “show” instead of “tell”. 

When developing an EVP, it’s important to take your time and truly capture what it’s like to work at your company. This process can sometimes take a couple months to conduct research, formulate a statement and reiterate over and over based on feedback. Before launching it -- ask yourself -- am I proud to work at a company that reflect this specific statement? If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track. Now validated it with internal stakeholders and employees. If they validate that it’s authentic and true, you’re hitting it right on the money. If not, go back to the drawing board. This statement will be the foundation of your brand and make you the employer that candidates who align to your culture and mission will want to work for.  

Will Staney

Will is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies, LLC and the former Head of Global Talent Acquisition at rapidly-growing startups Twilio andGlassdoor. Prior to that he held recruiting leadership roles at enterprise software leaders VMwareSuccessFactors and SAPwhere he lead strategic programs includingemployer brandingsourcing strategy, recruiting operations and systems process design.

During his over 7 years as a recruiting practitioner, after 10 years in sales and marketing, he developed a passion for building what he calls "modern recruiting machines". He would push innovation from the inside, execute on his vision, and once it was realized he would pass the torch on to those he had mentored and move on to his next challenge. He was destined to start a consultancy so he could help as many companies as possible adopt a more proactive recruiting strategy with community in mind.

In his free time, Will enjoys riding his motorcycle, trying out the newest gadgets, and spending time with his two kids, Foster and Felicity.