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Employer Brand Strategy Sprint Series


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Building a Distinct EVP That Resonates with Talent

3 min read.



Employer Branding

Crafting an EVP that is unique from your talent competitors and creates real impact means uncovering the emotional truth of working at an organisation. And for that, you need to dig deep...

Do you ever look at your competitors’ employer brands and EVPs and think they’re all pretty similar?

Maybe they are quite close to yours? Interchangeable even?

Developing an EVP that is unique to your organisation and therefore impactful and compelling to your candidate audience requires more than allusions to passion, integrity, and teamwork.

What company doesn’t claim to have integrity? What leader would deny having a passion for what they do and what company can succeed without teamwork?

In forming your employee value proposition, or what we like to call more simply the ‘give and get’, which seeks to answer the question ‘do I have what it takes to thrive at this organisation?’, you must identify the realities of the working experience, including:

  • Vulnerabilities of the organisation
  • Harsh realities
  • True behaviours throughout the company
  • Strengths and benefits
  • Opportunities appreciated throughout 

Creating an impactful EVP

At Ph.Creative we say, ‘data tells us what, people tell us why’.

Creating an EVP that is a true reflection of your workplace experience requires more than just a trade-off, identifying the pros and cons of working at a company. It is not simply about revealing equal parts good and bad.

Supposing we had an EVP built around these pillars - Inspirational management, personal development, and great teamwork.

Are those pillars strong enough to bear the weight of a compelling and unique proposition?

The reality is they sound like research themes rather than pillars. They sound a little bit generic.

To really add impact to the message and put clear daylight between you and your talent competitors, you need to dig in and discover personal stories from across the organisation, to get examples of personal development, for instance.

Ask this:  What is it about personal development that people care about? Why is it important to the organisation? How does it show up?

There is plenty of scope to add a little bit more character, personality, and unique elements to each one of those.

Researching an EVP

If you're struggling to find the common theme and what links all these things together, take a little bit more time to go back to your audience. Maybe ask some different questions from a research perspective. Like why did you join? Why do you stay? Try and find some commonality from across the organisation of the answer to that question.

Design questions that are from a culture perspective, design questions from a career catalyst perspective, and design questions from a citizen perspective to see what shows up the most.

If you start there and follow that strategic approach, it becomes easier to home in on what makes your organisation different, and if you can find examples of how that shows up at a grassroots level, then you can interview the founder or the senior leaders to get an essence of the origin story, the direction of travel.

What you're looking for is that element of distinction that stands out from across the organisation. So, there's an element of authenticity, but also think about the rings of quality, which are Differentiation, Relevance, Memorability, Sustainability and Pliability.

Ask yourself ‘is what I'm coming up with, different to everything else that I'm seeing?’. Do your market research, go and get your top 10 competitors and look at their EVP statement. You will find that they're all much of a muchness and if you juggle the logos and the employer brand essence, usually it doesn't matter how you match them up, they all kind of work.

The bar is low, in most cases. So, push yourself. Make sure that it does differentiate, ask yourself, is it more relevant to our target audience than our competitors? Is it memorable?

Don't be tempted to settle. If your gut tells you, it's not quite right, then it isn't.

Creating employer brand stories

Let’s look at a typical positioning statement like ‘a people first company’.

It's not a bad place to start. But just ask yourself this. Could some of my competitors claim the same thing. The answer is ‘yes’. How then do we create the element of differentiation we need?

You need to dig deeper, ask hard questions, play Devil’s Advocate. Play the ‘So What?’ game.

Ask, ‘why should I care about that?’. Well, you should care about that because “people first” companies are populated with more empathetic personnel.

So what? Why do I care about that?

Well, more empathetic people tend to be able to find real insight that people care about faster than anywhere else.

Why should I care about that?

Finding real insight faster than anywhere else creates efficiency that is driven by human connection.

Why should I care about that?

Ultimately, because this is meaningful to our purpose, or it aligns with the company and it's what motivates and drives us, and it shows up across the organisation.

If you can keep digging and digging and digging until you hit the floor, that's when you're allowed to stop and try and find examples.

We like to play a game when we run our workshops - can we make someone cry in a workshop environment? Not to upset them, but to get a story out of that group that is so personal, it brings them to tears.

If you can find that level of emotional connection to why people turn up to work every day, then you're onto something.

And we've never failed to bring somebody to that emotional level when we are in a workshop, because we'll dig, and we'll probe, and we'll ask for those stories.

And usually, that first story makes other people confident enough share their story as well. So, you don't have to do elaborate, costly research, but do that kind of research and set the bar high for where you want the emotional connection with the people in the room. That's how you'll get something which is unique to your organisation.

Have the courage and conviction to not settle for something that is generic. Go further. Dig deep.

Find out more about the Employer Brand Strategy Sprint Series — today so you can perfect your “give and get” approach and fuel your organisation's success.

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