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You Can’t Make This Up! Why a Strong Foundation to Your Employer Brand Really Matters

Simon Phillips
April 26 ․ 7 min read
Defining your EVP

With so much of your attention already focused on the candidate and employee experience, you might be overlooking one of its most important components: your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). After all, it’s the foundation from which all your messaging should emerge – and if it’s not very well-crafted and completely believable, it can actually have a negative impact on your employer reputation and in turn your recruiting plans and retention efforts.

Investing the time and resources it takes to build an EVP, and in turn manage your Employer Brand, is well worth the effort. So, whether you’re up to the challenge of taking this on yourself – or with the help of experts – I wanted to share some insights to help you along.

Give it Cred

Think about your Employer Brand from a consumer perspective. Before making any major purchase, the majority of consumers will do research into it (and what “purchase” is more important than a career?). Credibility is the key here: it’s imperative that your EVP is based upon what it’s really like to work in your organization. Look at the great aspects of working for your company, and don’t shy away from areas that need some work. And above all don’t make claims you can’t deliver on!

When we develop an Employer Brand for a client, we build it from the inside-out. We begin with a discovery phase, doing interviews across all current employee groups to reveal insights about what it’s really like to work there, why they love it and why others might thrive there, too.

Keep it Relevant

Even the most credible message still needs to resonate with the candidates you want to attract and engage the talent you need. Tap into multiple talent groups, across multiple geographies, and multiple genders, generations, religions, ethnicities, diverse backgrounds and groups – internal and external – to explore what’s important to your different audiences, be they boomers or millennials, admin support or future leaders. Remember, choosing a potential employer is a highly personal decision. Leverage qualitative and quantitative research to understand what different types of candidates and employees want in a job and what would make them pursue a career with you.

And don’t forget your own recruiting teams! HR professionals are dealing with a variety of specific issues – from geographic location to urgent hiring initiatives – that will affect the types of key messages you’ll want to incorporate.  

Think About the Future

Every organization – yours included – has an aspirational or “future state.” A well-crafted EVP considers this and expresses not only who you are now, but where you want to be in the future. It will also ensure you’re attracting and retaining talent that’s a good fit now and down the road and who can ultimately help you achieve your corporate ambition.

Interview major stakeholders (like your CEO, CMO, and CHRO) to get their perspectives on the mission, business objectives and the overall purpose of your organization. Make candidates see themselves as part of your future success and want to be involved!

Be Unique

Let’s be honest.  When you click on most “mission and values” pages, a lot of what’s there is fairly generic. You need to really delve into what makes you different and how this differentiation makes a case for working at your company. At Symphony Talent, we actually create competitive analysis maps made up of competitor EVPs and employer brand claims, and look impartially into what makes working at Company X better than Company Y (or Z).

To uncover a space you can truly own, you need to research what the competition is saying about themselves (and NOT just business competitors, your talent competitors, too) and say something credible and relevant to your audience. Set up clear expectations: around the give and get: what you provide and what they can expect in return. Consider the emotional aspect of the employee experience and leverage current employees as influencers (their insights are hugely influential!).

Do the Diligence

A clearly articulated EVP will help you attract and retain the very best people – who can ultimately help influence other top talent to join your team and in return drive better business performance. Make sure your organization’s Employer Brand lives up to its fullest potential. Invest the time upfront to build that strong foundation – you’ll be glad you did!