What is an employer value proposition (EVP)?


Employer value proposition encompasses an organisation’s mission statement, values and culture and defines the relationship between employer and employee.

An employer value proposition (EVP) is a comprehensive set of benefits that an organisation offers its employees in exchange for their time, skills and contributions. The employer value proposition encompasses not only tangible rewards such as compensation and benefits, but also intangible aspects like company culture, career development opportunities, work-life balance, work-life blending and the overall work environment.

An effective employer value proposition highlights the unique attributes that make an organisation an appealing place to work and helps differentiate it in a competitive job market, ultimately influencing candidates' and employees' perceptions, decisions and level of engagement. Overall, a compelling EVP aligns with the company's core values and resonates with candidates and employees, helping to build a strong employer brand.

History of employer value proposition

The term ‘employer brand’ is believed to have been first used by Simon Barrow and Tim Ambler in their article ‘The Employer Brand’, published in The Journal of Brand Management in 1996. In this article, Barrow and Ambler discussed the concept of treating employees as internal customers and applying marketing principles to attract, engage and retain talent.

Shortly after, the concept of ‘employer value proposition’ started to gain more recognition as companies began to realise the importance of defining and communicating the unique benefits, culture and opportunities they provide to attract and retain top talent. As the competition for skilled employees intensified, the need to differentiate oneself as an employer of choice became more evident.

While EVP-related ideas and discussions can be traced back further, it wasn't until the early 2000s that the term ‘employer value proposition’ began to be more widely used in HR and recruitment circles to describe the overall value that an organisation offers as part of its employment package. Since then, the concept has evolved and expanded to encompass various aspects of the employee experience, including company culture, career development, work-life balance, work-life blending and more.

Recent trends in employer value proposition

In recent years, the concept of EVP has evolved further with the growing influence of social media and increased transparency. Through social networking platforms like LinkedIn, employees can share their experiences and opinions about their workplaces more easily. As a result, companies have recognised the need to align their EVP with their actual workplace culture and practices.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also played a large role in bringing the employer value proposition to the forefront of many employees’ minds. As the pandemic caused many people to reassess their priorities and values, more and more employees and potential candidates expect to see a company’s values demonstrated – rather than just talked about – in their policies and actions, such as their DE&I efforts, sustainability principles and approach to flexible working.

In fact, a study conducted by Team Lewis revealed that only 19% of Gen Z respondents would work for a company that does not share their values, but 41% say they would only if the company has a strong diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) or corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.

The pandemic has also ushered in new trends such as the Great Resignation, where employees are leaving the workforce completely or are just more likely to leave their jobs for better opportunities and benefits. This has created a candidate-driven market – and a fiercer war for talent – where the employer value proposition, or the lack thereof, can make or break a business.

As EVP has the power to significantly impact employee attraction and retention, many companies outsource their employer branding and employer value proposition efforts. While the core aspects of an EVP should come from within the company, outsourcing specific tasks can ensure consistency in messaging and bring in fresh perspectives, specialised skills and efficient execution.

Advantages of employer value proposition

  • A well-defined EVP can help companies stand out in a crowded job market, attracting high-quality candidates who resonate with their unique value proposition.
  • A strong EVP fosters a sense of belonging and purpose among employees, leading to higher job satisfaction, motivation and overall engagement.
  • According to Gartner, companies that effectively deliver on their EVP can lower their annual employee turnover by as much as 69%.
  • Research by marketing agency Team Lewis found that a strong EVP can attract younger talent, specifically members of Gen Z.
  • By attracting and retaining the right talent, companies can reduce recruitment and training costs associated with high turnover rates.

Disadvantages of employer value proposition

  • Potential employees may be put off from applying for a role if they believe that the company’s employer value proposition does not align with their personal values and needs.
  • Developing and maintaining an EVP requires significant time, effort and resources, including continuous monitoring and adjustment to stay effective.

Use case

In 2021, health and medical technology firm Philips looked to bring its employer value proposition to life by creating video stories of its US employees. The aim was to create content that would target talent in several divisions including engineering, sales, precision diagnostics and marketing transformation.

Philips conducted a series of staff interviews in their home offices, focusing on real personal and professional stories. Staff shared stories about mentorship and career mobility during their time at Philips and how they felt a direct connection to the company’s mission to improve healthcare. They also discussed collaboration with colleagues and how that led to new ideas and products as well as continued support.

According to the company, the 12 videos were instrumental in communicating its employer value proposition and company culture, and helped serve specific hiring needs, such as targeting candidate personas.