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Aligning Reality with Message: How to Create a Simple EVP

Great accomplishments require great planning. Meticulous planning took us from earth to the moon.

Creating an employee value proposition (EVP) can be daunting. After all, most companies struggle with the recruiting workload they already have; there is no time or budget to sit down and figure out what an EVP would have to look like to be successful.

Add to this the pressure of getting left behind while everyone else is waving from the employee branding train, and it’s enough to make a talent-acquisition pro throw up his or her hands.

Don’t. Creating an EVP can be much more simplified than many branding agencies would have you believe. In fact, if you know your business, you can get it done pretty easily and have a document that can inform your recruiting and branding activities going forward.

Step 1: Assemble Your Team

No man is an island. And no recruiter is, either. As social media continues to proliferate, employee referrals take on a whole new meaning. No longer do you need to be in the department of talent acquisition to assist with hiring. Any engaged, excited employee can serve as an ambassador.

And since help is tough to come by, snag those who give the very best view of your company to the outside world. Try to create as diverse a team as possible, especially when it comes to skill sets (i.e. someone from marketing, a legal consultant, definitely an HR pro, maybe a frontline manager and even an intern!)

Step 2: Assess Your Culture

Not what you want it to be. What it is. Today. You see, employer brand is all about differentiation, which you can’t do that unless you know what your culture really is to the people who work there. (See, your team already is coming in handy!)

Some easy questions you can use to assess your culture include:

  • What is the vibe within the office?
  • Within certain teams?
  • What sort of working hours do people in the company keep?
  • What is the dress code?
  • What is HR’s take on the vacation and sick policies?
  • What kind of people are successful here?
  • Who has been here the longest?
  • Which positions have the highest turnover?
  • The lowest?
  • How do those positions or departments compare to the rest of the company?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are simply easy-to-answer barometers to get you started. Once you’ve answered a few, a picture should start to emerge about the culture of your company, especially if you ask multiple employees the same group of questions.

Still not seeing a pattern? Try creating a word cloud from the collective responses to each question and plot the recurrence of words. This will give you an idea of the internal perception of company culture.

Step 3: Create Your Strengths

Many of you just shook your heads and thought, “We can’t create strengths!”

Of course you can! Strengths, especially in the sense of employer brand, are your differentiators aimed at the right audience (and through the right channels, but that’s another blog post). Few disagree with the concept that engaged employees have personal values that align with their organizational values.

So what kind of people wants to buy what you’re selling? Maybe you are a work-hard-all-day-and-leave-at-5-no-matter-what kind of company. Lots of millennials are looking for that! Or perhaps you are a company that offers highly paid contractor work at odd hours and no extra benefits. There are people who want that, too! (Would you believe … baby boomers?)

Use your differences to attract those most likely to be successful at your workplace. Try to come up with a list of at least five differentiators or strengths. They can be compensation-related, scheduling-focused or connected to the kind of success plan your company has. Just find them.

Step 4: Write It Down

I think talent-management pros are really lucky. Very few people get to write out a vision statement for their company (entrepreneurs excepted). That’s what this step is: casting a vision for the talent your organization wants to attract.

Here are the questions you need to run this through before it will pass muster:

  • Is it realistic? (Refer to Step 2.)
  • Is it inspiring? (Refer to Step 3.)
  • Does it look like everyone else’s careers page copy? (Refer to Step 3.)

Step 5: Align and Tweak

Bad news: Your first attempt likely will not align perfectly with your overall goals. It needs to, because casting a vision without the corporate support to follow it through will create frustration and dissonance.

Run your EVP-lite through various stakeholders before running it past everyone else. Does it ring true? Will the people you are trying to attract be comfortable at your organization?

For those of you who work in larger companies with multiple locations, you might have to check whether your EVP works across all sites.

It’s not as simple as ignoring your EVP altogether, but these five steps can take less time than selecting a new system or organizing the spring blood drive (still both important things). Take the process for a practice run and see if you don’t emerge with a solid, accurate and inspiring EVP.

Blog Author: Maren Hogan

Maren Hogan is the CEO of Red Branch Media. With over 14 years of marketing experience and as a community builder in the HR and recruiting industry, Hogan has built successful online communities and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Hogan received her Bachelor of Science in Communications and lives with her three children and husband in Omaha, Nebraska.