Effective employer branding starts with a stand-out Employer Value Proposition (EVP). You can’t develop an effective employer brand if you don’t know what you can offer your ideal employees, that they will value in exchange for the work they do.

An EVP is essentially a USP for your target employees. And like USPs, for it to work, uniqueness is just the beginning.

An EVP must not only be UNIQUE but it must be COMPELLING AND RELEVANT to your ideal employees. It should also be TRUTHFUL.

Our seven steps will take you through the process required to create a value proposition that will help you attract the best talent. No Generic Selling Points in sight.

(By the way, our final step is a gem: crafting the words you need is foolproof with the tips we provide there!)

1.  Decide who your ‘ideal employees’ are

Marketing requires a target persona. Your employer value proposition should therefore start with your ideal employees in mind. If you’ve not already done so, work out your core values and consider what type of employee will align best with these. 

Whilst skill sets will change for each role, who will thrive in your company culture won’t. 

You can then start to dig deeper into what employer offerings you can offer which will attract the right people for your business.

2.  Map your offerings to the hierarchy of values


Taken from health, wealth and careers consultancy, Mercer’s guide: “Strengthening your Employer Value Proposition

Your value proposition is made up of three distinct elements:

  • contractual rewards
  • experiential rewards
  • emotional needs

As the pyramid above shows, the easiest differentiator is ‘emotional needs’. However, to differentiate on emotional needs, you must offer some foundational rewards of contractual and experiential rewards.

Examples Differentiation Tactics


The foundational ‘building blocks’ with monetary value.


Offering a competitive package is critical.


Enabling employees to create better memories inside & outside of work without worrying about the costs. This is by enhancing their career development and their physical, financial, emotional and social well-being.

Learning and development
Wellness programmes and schemes
Flexible working
Remote working
Opportunity and recognition for personal achievement
Duvet days
Dress-down Friday

Experiential rewards enable employers to present a compelling value proposition that is different from competitors.

Align people to the organisation’s larger societal purpose or design jobs that give them purpose.

Company purpose:
CSR initiatives
Role purpose:
Roles aligned with strengths and interests
Challenging work
Meaningful work
These higher emotional needs are the easiest way to create a unique employer value proposition.

As Mercer explains, there is no “one size fits all” approach for companies to maximise the return on their EVP – something we see ourselves day-in-day-out as a recruitment agency.

  • Looking to ‘buy in a team’? It’s likely you will have to offer a very competitive salary.
  • Hoping to grow organically? A focus on career progression and well-being will usually be needed.
  • Can’t meet the market-rate for the compensation package? Your experiential and emotional rewards will need to be particularly compelling and different.

(Selling in a role as offering a ‘greater purpose’ doesn’t mean you can get away with shoddy salaries – at least if you want to attract the best talent!)

(Win the war for talent with our Employer Branding Checklist)

3.  Gain insight from existing and past employees

Only 51% of companies have formalised their EVP and only two-fifths of employees feel that their company’s EVP is compelling or differentiated.

According to Mercer: Strengthening your Employer Value Proposition

Before you formulate or revamp your Employer Value Proposition, it’s important to evaluate where you currently stand.

Start with your existing employees. What would your existing employees say about you? Carry out confidential staff surveys and, if possible, interviews and ask:

  •          Why did they join?
  •          How did they hear about your company?
  •          What did they like and dislike about the candidate experience?
  •          What do they believe your core values are?
  •          Which of your company values resonates most with them and why?
  •          What three words best describe your organisation as an employer?
  •          What do they like about your organisation and the team?
  •          What do/can you offer them that they highly value?
  •          What do they value most from an employer? (Provide a list of contractual, experiential and emotional values.)

You should also undertake exit surveys to understand why employees leave.

4.  Review your competition

You can’t produce a unique Employer Value Proposition if you don’t know what the competition is saying. Take a look at their websites and social media. What is their ‘key message’ and what values are they promoting?

You’ll also want to establish what they are offering as a benchmark for your own EVP. Look at their contractual, experiential and emotional offering. What salary and bonuses are on offer? Do they offer perks like gym memberships? Are career paths well-defined with great opportunities for promotion (and is this backed up on Glassdoor?)

5.  Find out what your ideal candidates are looking for

Nine out of ten employees (89 percent) claim that remote working is their number one motivator to boost their productivity at work.

Data published by HSBC, as reported on Workplace Insight

Research reports can provide some insight into general trends on what candidates value, like flexible working and a work-life balance. However, this will vary across industries and is constantly changing.  If you are working with a recruitment consultant, make the most of their knowledge. They will know what the best talent in the market is looking for i.e. learning and development, new challenges or whether money really does talk.

If you can’t offer a competitive ‘foundation’ value for salaries and benefits, a recruitment consultant will also be able to tell you what you can offer or promote to make your EVP more compelling.

6.  Assess the data

What your employees and candidates say is important to them can often be different to what really motivates them.

Analyse the data. Did performance, productivity and engagement increase or decrease when certain rewards or benefits were offered? Did your staff retention rate improve or fall? What benefits or perks, such as healthcare or gym memberships, are being used?

You can do the same with your recruiting efforts. If working with a recruiter, ask what benefits or rewards get talent into the interview room? Do you see an increase in great applicants when you mention certain benefits over others?

7.  Swipe top copywriters’ tips (and your own employees’ words)

If your Employer Value Proposition is to stand out amongst the rest, it should take centre-stage of any branded messages (much like your USP would).

Joanne Weibe is a world-renowned copywriter who has worked for leading SaaS companies such as Unbounce. Her tips for writing a great USP apply equally to writing a perfect EVP.

The five ingredients for an effective EVP:

  1. It states what’s unique or different about you
  2. The thing that’s unique or different is DESIRABLE to your prospect
  3. It is specific, not a watered-down summary
  4. It is succinct (again, without losing specifics)
  5. It is more likely to be remembered than forgotten

The cheat’s way of crafting an EVP

Joanne Weibe is also a firm believer that the best-performing ‘copy’ is swiped from your ideal prospects. (And she has the data to back it up.) Instead of prospects, look at what your ideal employees are saying in the following places:

  • Employee testimonials
  • Glassdoor reviews
  • Employee surveys
  • Anywhere they are talking about your company or competitors

Suddenly, writing your EVP becomes a little easier…

Your Employer Value Proposition is just one part of employer branding. Our step-by-step employer branding checklist takes you through all the steps you need to attract the best candidates.

Improve Your Employer Branding

Win the war for talent with our step-by-step checklist