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I know, but I don't ... what IS an EVP?

What is an EVP? Simple question, often mis-answered. If it weren't, we wouldn't still hear the question....


More employers are interested in their EVP, more suppliers are there to support them - and YET - this question still regularly appears. So, why isn't it being answered satisfactorily?


First, those looking to enlighten often wander into definitions. In seeking to provide clarity, they may sow confusion. There are too many definitions and there's always a risk of blurring the lines between EVP/Employer Brand/Employee Engagement and Experience. The lines ARE blurry; that may not be helpful.

And often, I don't think a definition is what people are often looking for. If they've identified an EVP could be useful to them, I think they tend to know why, in their own terms.


Secondly, I think there's a jump to straplines. They're the sexier outward face of the EVP after all, and they're easy to grab and to share. But that easiness, I think, risks it seeming too simplified (anyone can do that) and too “so-what?”

Maybe you will achieve a crafted line, which embodies you as an employer, but does that address your issues? Does that help reach into niche skill-sets, or broaden the types of people you recruit, or capture the understanding of those that have never considered you as an employer?


What I think many people actually want to understand is "what are the tangible deliverables of an EVP?" What do I GET?

And that I think takes in four features. (There might well also be a strapline - it's a great test of how much meaning you encapsulate in the fewest words. But it's not essential, yet, maybe not ever.)

The elements I think you must have, hold and believe in the truth of, are:

1) Your EVP itself. That's a short paragraph, maybe very short, that describes your unique offer to employees. It may never be visible, but everything visible should carry that meaning.

2) Your EVP brand model - the 3/4/5 things/themes/pillars that you distinctively offer and/or demand of employees. There needs to be some detail here, and if you're going to need to segment for different audiences, this is the place for that detail.

3) Your brand narrative. This does two things:

 a) It captures every point you want to convey, an expansion of your EVP paragraph that leaves nothing to interpretation

 b) It binds the elements of the brand model, ideally taking you from start to finish in one coherent story, rather than being unconnected "good things"

4) Your evidence pool. Whatever you've drawn on to construct your EVP, be that existing or new research: show how it got you there, show how it links into each theme, and show it builds to the case you're making.


Which all kind of leaves another question hanging - so what do I DO with all of this? And I'll come back to that next time...

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