Standing out among candidates — and keeping the talent you have — is an ever-growing challenge in today’s tight labor market. It may be time to evaluate a key TA element: your employee value proposition (EVP).
On last week's episode of Talent Experience Live, Michelle Sargent, VP of New Business and Partnerships at recruitment marketing agency Recruitics, shared pro tips on employer branding, creating EVPs that resonate — and how to spread the word to talent.
Watch the full episode below, or read on for details!
EVP is everything
According to Sargent, who has helped many employers fine-tune and promote their EVPs, companies she hears from today tend to be in SOS mode. “Right now, the conversations are very much, ‘We need help now. We need to find candidates,’” she said. “So the first question I ask back is, ‘Well, what’s your EVP, what does your employment brand say?’”
Attracting and retaining talent depends on a strong EVP
The concept of EVP has evolved over the past several years, Sargent said. And it's become a top priority as companies revamp their approach to hiring and retention.
Attracting talent. In fact, she noted, there are nearly 11 million open jobs right now, citing research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “How do you make your job, your company stand out from all of those? You need to have an EVP that differentiates you from all of those companies, all of those jobs. And as people start to get back to work, you really have to have that compelling message [as to] why they would choose you over those 11 million jobs out there.”
Companies can try every creative tactic in the book, from wrapped buildings to QR codes — but at the end of the day, it’s what they’re actually saying that matters most. “My advice is, level up the EVP and really take a hard look at what that EVP and employment brand are saying.”
Retaining talent. A well-defined EVP is also critical to retaining the employees you already have. “A strong EVP and workforce go hand in hand,” Sargent said. “Companies without them can have high turnover, or attract the wrong candidates.”
What channel works best for conveying your EVP?
To get a read on this, Phenom polled LinkedIn members on their favorite ways to promote their EVP. Here’s how they responded:
- 48%: Career site
- 30%: Social media
- 13%: Events
- 10%: Talent marketing campaigns
As for Sargent’s thoughts? All of the above are essential. “I don’t think that you can say just one. Your employment brand needs to live and breathe on every stage of that journey.”
Using HR tech to ensure consistency
So, mixing it up channel-wise is good – but avoid mixing the message.
Before a candidate even applies to a job, they'll experience an average of 3 to 18 touch points with an employer, Sargent said. As a result, it’s important that the EVP comes through at every touch.
She recommends using a talent experience management platform to ensure consistency and shared how using the Phenom solution was pivotal in promoting Brother International Corporation's EVP, “At your side.”
“We started [integrating EVPs] on Phenom’s platform, and then we did it across the entire digital footprint. So it was a fantastic way to showcase all of the different touch points in the candidate journey, and how it’s important to be consistent in that messaging so that candidates really soak it in.”
EVP vs. Employment Brand: There’s a difference
Although closely connected, EVP and employment brand have different functions — and it’s important to understand the nuances, Sargent said.
“I tell [clients], think of [EVP] like a table, with four legs and a top," she added. "Each leg is a promise and on top lays the EVP. You can’t have one leg without all four, and can’t have the top without legs to support it.”
The most impactful EVPs are the ones that authentically convey culture, she said. Sargent’s favorite examples of employer brands and value propositions are simple, iconic, and powerful:
Apple: Join us. Be you. The message here? We embrace our employees; you’ll fit in with our culture.
Hershey: Haven’t reached your full potential yet? Neither have we. There’s more to be made. This clearly tells candidates and employees that they’ll never stop growing and learning.
Chewy: Sargent gave props specifically to Chewy for its dynamic approach to culture. For example, Chewy calls team members Chewtopians. “I want to be part of that tribe – that to me is really compelling,” she said.
Get your revamped brand and EVP in motion
Once you’ve nailed your EVP, take these next steps:
- Secure buy-in. Like any major initiative, securing buy-in has to come first. It should also come from all levels of stakeholders, from the C-suite to hourly workers.
- Do your research. Conduct thorough research in the form of employee surveys, focus groups, competitive analyses, and internal analyses.
- Get feedback. Make sure you got it right – secure internal and external validation to make sure your employment brand resonates.
- Activate the brand. Decide how and where it will be communicated, and monitor how it’s being received.
Investing in video development also primes employers to stand out on social media, where job candidates (especially younger generations) spend so much time. Think Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube … video is the way to connect with candidates on these platforms.
Employer value proposition (EVP) and employer brand are not the same. EVPs should communicate what your candidates and employees stand to gain in return for their commitment to work for you. Your employer brand shows the outside world what your company does and why.
Define and refine your EVP. Once you craft a solid EVP, strategically implement it throughout every step of your candidate experience. Use HR tech and videos for consistent messaging that cuts through the noise.
Don't forget to get feedback. You work hard to create an EVP that accurately represents your company culture. Make sure your candidates and employees are receiving the message in the way that you intended.
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