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Whitepaper - Employer Branding and the Emergence of EVP

A strong Employee Value Proposition attracts and keeps the talent you need to build a safe and profitable business.

“A business is nothing without its people." A quote often cited when referring to the growth and success of an organisation. 

But, how many businesses could be more successful or experience faster growth if they could efficiently attract and retain employees?

The behaviours and needs of employees are changing rapidly. The traditional basic requirements such as salary and benefits have evolved to a far more complex mix of social values, beliefs and work/life balance.

As a result, your employer brand and employee value proposition (EVP) have never been as critical or essential as they are now.   

About Caselton Clark

Our whitepaper on employer branding and the emergence of EVPs blends our experiences of client and candidate behaviours with global thought-leadership research.

At Caselton Clark, we’re invested in learning about and contributing to the industries we support. 

By demonstrating our recruitment leadership and expertise, we aim to provide you with the advice and knowledge on how best to attract, engage and retain your most valuable asset.

Our collaborative and augmented approach is geared toward helping you make smart and considered decisions that will contribute to the growth and profitability of your business.

Employer branding and the emergence of Employee Value Propositions

Although the upheaval the pandemic wrought has subsided to some degree, the aftermath has long-term implications for the IP labour market. According to a Commons Library briefing on UK labour market statistics[1], unemployment fell again in the latest quarter (January - March 2022), reaching its lowest level since 1974. Extraordinarily, the evidence shows that there are more job vacancies than unemployed people. But why is that?

Along with the pandemic causing a significant decrease in the workforce due to long-term illness or early retirement[2], Brexit has slowed the growth of the EU workforce in the UK[3].

So, what does this mean for employers? With a smaller pool of candidates available to them, employers are struggling to attract and retain top talent. Employees literally have the world at their feet, thanks to the global reach of remote work. Where applicants once sought to make themselves the ideal choice for a potential employer, companies are now in a position of having to convince candidates to join their team. And that’s where the importance of employer branding comes in.

 

Defining employer branding

Employer branding, much like product branding, relates to how the market, in this case, the labour market, views a company. The consumer is now a prospective employee who needs to be drawn in by the company’s branding. Successful employer marketing initiatives include an in-depth look at the culture of the organisation, its values, and how well it treats its employees.

By creating a brand that reflects the identity of the company, employers will attract candidates that will fit in seamlessly into their organisations. However, applicants want more than just a pleasant place to work - the package needs to be worth their skills and education. Hence, the emergence of “employee value propositions” (EVPs) in employer branding.

 

What is an employee value proposition?

An EVP is a manifesto of everything a company has to offer a potential employee. In a climate where candidates are spoiled for choice, companies need to differentiate themselves from their competitors for talent. While the latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs survey[4] indicates sizeable increases in starting salaries with a record-high rate in March, the Spring 2022 report of the CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook shows that only 27% of UK employers can increase salaries to meet recruitment challenges over the next six months[5].

To compete, employers have had to expand the range of benefits and perks offered to their employees. So an EVP is not limited to remuneration and typical benefits data. It also addresses aspects such as career development, potential leadership roles, and team dynamics, to name a few. Here are some other factors that can be included in an EVP to attract talent, according to LinkedIn’s “What is employer branding and how can it grow your business?”[6]:

  • Organisation site and facilities
  • Continuous employee evaluation and recognition
  • Ratio of work to time off
  • Travel opportunities
  • Community service and outreach programmes
  • Stock options and incentives

 

How does an EVP relate to employer branding?

EVPs form the basis of employer branding. Where an EVP denotes specific tangible and intangible benefits of working for the organisation, employer branding provides a broader perspective on the company’s mission and values.

 

Creating an EVP

Before a company can begin formulating an employee value proposition, it must have a clear idea of the image the company wants to project and how it wants to be perceived by past, present, and future employees. An analysis by Harvard Business Review found that a poor reputation can cost a company at least 10% more per hire[7]. Creating an appropriate EVP comes at a cost, but it will pay off in the long run.

The process begins with an analysis of the type of applicant the company wants to attract. This persona epitomises the organisation’s perfect hire in terms of qualifications, skills, short and long-term goals, and values. This person must be a good fit for the company culture and meet all demographic requirements. All future research will be aimed at this persona, so it is important to do due diligence in this area.

Companies need to do internal research to find out what their greatest assets are. Using the viewpoints of current employees in social media campaigns gives the company credibility when it speaks of the type of working environment it promises. The voices of current employees are more powerful than that of the CEO according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer[8]. It shows prospective employees find the opinions of persons like themselves are more important than those of high-ranking management. It's also important that the final EVP's initiatives are applied to both current and new employees to ensure the company walks its talk.

In this candidate-driven market, the ideal employee is more than likely a passive job seeker. An EVP must be communicated along the right channels to reach and engage this individual. An assertive recruitment marketing campaign combined with current employees acting as brand ambassadors on social media will ensure that your EVP draws and retains the right talent for your organisation.

There needs to be a continuous evaluation of an EVP - it’s a dynamic concept that shifts and changes with the world around us. The pandemic forced employees to focus on what really mattered to them - their mental health, well-being, social outreach, and flexibility to balance work and personal life. A Personio survey[9] found that 18% of employees in the UK and Ireland cited a toxic work culture as a major factor in their decision to look for a new job. 29% of employees were affected by a lack of appreciation of their work and 25% by poor management. An observant and vigilant employer would be readjusting the values in their EVPs to meet their employees’ needs.

 

Final thoughts

A Gartner survey[10] found that a robust EVP can reduce employee turnover by 69%. A company's strong employee value proposition demonstrates its commitment to employee happiness and satisfaction. At a time when salaries are easily matched, an employer needs to tip the scales in its favour by creating a work environment where a candidate can see themselves operating successfully and comfortably. The right EVP will have quality applicants falling over themselves to join the team.

[1] Powell, A., Clark, H., & Francis-Devine, B. (2022). UK labour market statistics. Retrieved 27 May 2022, from https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9366/CBP-9366.pdf

[2] Bell, T. (2022). Pandemic-driven early retirement isn’t a silver lining when it’s because of ill health | Torsten Bell. Retrieved 27 May 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/27/pandemic-driven-early-retirement-isnt-silver-lining-ill-health

[3] Partington, R. (2021). Number of EU citizens seeking work in UK falls 36% since Brexit, study shows. Retrieved 27 May 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jun/17/number-of-eu-citizens-seeking-work-in-uk-falls-36-since-brexit-study-shows

[4] Report on Jobs: Upturn in hiring activity slows again amid candidate shortages : The REC. (2022). Retrieved 7 June 2022, from https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/news/press-releases/report-jobs-upturn-hiring-activity-slows-again-amid-candidate-shortages

[5] Boys, J. (2022). Labour Market Outlook | Surveys | CIPD. Retrieved 29 May 2022, from https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/work/trends/labour-market-outlook#gref

[6] Lybrand, S. (2018). What Is Employer Branding and How It Can Grow Your Business?. Retrieved 29 May 2022, from https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/employer-branding

[7] Burgess, W. (2016). A Bad Reputation Costs a Company at Least 10% More Per Hire. Retrieved 29 May 2022, from https://hbr.org/2016/03/a-bad-reputation-costs-company-at-least-10-more-per-hire

[8] Rodman, T., & Schaffer, M. (2019). Attracting Tomorrow's Talent in Today's Digital Landscape. Retrieved 29 May 2022, from https://www.edelman.com/insights/attracting-tomorrows-talent-in-todays-digital-landscape

[9] Counting the Cost: How Businesses Risk a Post Pandemic Talent Drain. (2022). Retrieved 7 June 2022, from https://hr.personio.de/hubfs/EN_Downloads/202104_HRStudy_UKI.pdf

[10] Employee Value Proposition (EVP) | HR Insights | Gartner.com. (2019). Retrieved 29 May 2022, from https://www.gartner.com/en/human-resources/insights/employee-engagement-performance/employee-value-proposition

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