What is an Employee Value Proposition and Why does It Matter?


October 8, 2019


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Employees evaluate companies the same way they evaluate products. How are companies matching up in the eyes of potential employees?

Man is on the hunt for a new job. He finds one with a very impressive EVP, and an even more impressive recognition program, Kudos.

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Employees evaluate companies the same way they evaluate products. How are companies matching up in the eyes of potential employees?

More companies like Glassdoor are allowing for the honest, open, and uninhibited review of organizations globally. Many employees, both previous and current, take advantage of the unique opportunity to anonymously pick apart or praise companies.

Organizations may be grateful, yet apprehensive of such platforms because the potential to receive either happy or disgruntled reviews can be scary.

Candidates are quick to peruse platforms like Glassdoor to gain a better understanding of a company's culture and what it's like to work there.

"An employee value proposition (EVP) is an all-encompassing offering of what employees can expect to gain or benefit from when working for your company."

Undoubtedly, companies search for candidates who share similar qualities to their current high-achievers. That’s perfectly understandable; what organization doesn’t want productive, collaborative, and passionate teams?

But not every company knows how to attract and retain those types of employees — the ones who show up because they want to, not just because they need to. What do some of the world’s most successful companies, like L’Oreal or Apple do to entice the best candidates and retain their top talent?

It starts with an EVP.

What is an ‘EVP,' Exactly?

You may have heard of the term ‘value proposition,’ which refers to the key differentiator of a company; a promise that each customer will receive something of value.

However, a value proposition isn't the same as an EVP. Any organization should design its value proposition with its customers in mind, but the EVP needs to be designed and customized with employees in mind.

Simply, an employee value proposition (EVP) is an all-encompassing peek into what employees should expect to gain from working for your company.

Traditionally, EVPs include benefits, rewards, and perks such as extended vacation days. An EVP is one of the most important factors for recruiting and retaining employees.

In the modern workplace, an EVP could include both traditional and modern benefits that positively impact work-life balance and the professional environment. Benefits can range from remote work options and time-off during the workday to attend fitness classes, to learning and development opportunities, a collaborative working environment, and more.

Why Should You Focus on Your Company’s EVP?

Before considering the 'why' behind an EVP, it's helpful to first look at how an EVP should function.

What an EVP ultimately boils down to is relatability — a company’s EVP should win the hearts and minds of employees by connecting with them on both a rational and emotional level.

From a company perspective, that means clearly and consistently relating the values and vision of your company to current and prospective employees. For employees, it means looking closely at how you align, and evaluating whether that organization fulfills your personal and professional needs.

Organizations that proactively focus on an efficient EVP see between 30-40% more commitment from their teams than those that don’t, which points to one of the most significant and common organizational woes — retention.

Here are a Few Stats that may Surprise You about the EVP:

It's fair to say that a compelling EVP can assist organizations in hiring the right employees, while also reducing turnover. These are two significant challenges most C-suite and organizational leaders face today.

Beyond those two elements, an EVP is critical for ensuring people want to work for your company. Leaders can no longer ignore that candidates evaluate companies the same way they do products. This forces organizations to dive deeper. What they can offer people, as opposed to looking solely at what people can offer them?

According to a recent survey from Glassdoor, company mission and culture matter more than salary. So much so, that 77% of adult candidates consider a company’s culture, and 79% consider its mission and purpose, before applying. This is especially true for millennials, which Glassdoor found to prioritize culture over salary.

Culture is an intangible component of an organization's EVP. People care about workplace culture, perhaps now more than ever.  

What Does Your Company’s EVP Need to Succeed?

Only 2 in 5 employees believe their current organization has an effective and attractive EVP.

Meanwhile, only 44% of CEOs and C-suite executives feel their company has a managed EVP, and are less likely than employees or HR professionals to know whether their company employs it. In contrast, 60% of CEOs believe they are responsible for the overall branding of their organization.

An EVP needs to be unique, relevant, and realistic for it to help attract, retain, and engage employees. But like any initiative, an EVP only works if leadership truly believes it.

Don't forget that the EVP is on the employer, not the employee. When employees have the support and tools they need to succeed, they are more likely to be engaged and productive. Still, the responsibility of developing a purposeful EVP rests with the organization — not the employee. While the term 'employee engagement' refers directly to the employee, employees succeed without the resources and encouragement from leadership.

Consider these key elements to improve your EVP:

Start by Asking Your Employees What They Need

Most EVPs revolve around the perceptions, opinions, and feedback of existing employees; they rarely take into account those of past or potential ones. Leaders must consider what past employees felt was lacking, and how prospective employees may feel.

For example, Glassdoor allows leaders insight into what employees think of a company's culture, salary ranges, development and advancement opportunities, leadership, and more.  

Organizations can start by surveying current employees and asking what types of benefits they need, or would 'like to have' (fitness passes or free parking). These insights can be compared to previous employee surveys (through platforms like Glassdoor) to streamline the benefits of an EVP.  

Consider Your Company’s Culture

Not every employee works or performs tasks in the same manner, nor will every employee need the same resources in a working environment to be successful. Some can function with the bare minimum, while others may find that time for play (such as having a ping-pong table in the office) stokes creativity and collaboration.

It's important to remember that EVP’s inherently consider every aspect of what will make an employee want to join, and remain with your company. So, your EVP will need to evolve to accommodate different working styles and needs, based on the type of employees your organization is looking to hire. If you factor this into your EVP, you're well on your way to improving your strategic approach to hiring.

Be Flexible and Agile

The best organizations are agile ones; able to adapt naturally and strategically to change, as well as the pain points every company faces with growth. The same should go for your company's EVP. You'll need to segment and customize your EVP based on the target audience or type of employee you're looking to attract.

That means being flexible with your offerings, and adaptable to the changes and trends in labour markets and workforces.

Always Incorporate Recognition

At Kudos, we're adamant about our recognition strategy, and not just because we develop recognition-first software. Recognizing and acknowledging others' contributions and dedication not only improves engagement but motivates employees to do their best work. Recognition should be a cornerstone of any EVP; it is a crucial part of your overall workplace culture. By incorporating recognition into your EVP, both existing and potential employees can see the value in working with your company (because they'll be valued, in turn).


89% of leaders believe their employees quit because of money. While salary plays a significant role in recruiting employees, it is no longer the sole deciding factor. Many millennials report development opportunities area key driver in their decision to join a company. By including development in your EVP, you're signifying to employees that you care about their career trajectory, advancement, and promotion.

89% of executives expect an increase in the competition for top talent. With that increase comes the need for organizations to truly stand out among countless others competing for the best employees. Is your EVP working for your company’s hiring strategy, or against it?

Listen to this article from our conversational blogcast, Kudos® Corner!

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About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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