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The best Employee Value Propositions have this in common

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The best Employee Value Propositions (EVP) and cultural statements use real employee stories to validate and activate these words for their candidates and employees. This piece is an excerpt from our content guide, Activate Your Employee Value Proposition with Stories.

Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) are promises to candidates and employees about what the company offers them in exchange for working at your company, beyond wages or benefits. EVPs are cultural statements, sometimes with supporting cultural pillars, based on extensive internal research from employees. 

EVP statements are useful and important guideposts to building your employer brand. Yet, an EVP statement and the pillars that support them often mean a lot more to the people who created it than to the candidates with whom they are trying to engage. In fact, many of the EVP statements out there are interchangeable, unmemorable and not helpful to candidates. At a time when candidates are genuinely trying to learn about why they should consider you as a potential employer, it’s a missed opportunity en masse.  

Without proof — real employee stories — some employer value propositions mean nothing to the most important audiences. 

That’s why when you develop and activate your EVP and employer brand, real employee stories are essential. Stories are the best way to capture attention, differentiate your company from the competition, and ultimately drive great-fit candidates to apply and convert. 

Your EVP’s impact on your employer brand

The EVP ultimately sets an expectation for how employees will experience the culture. It’s important because ultimately a clear EVP will attract talent whose motivations match what your company already rewards and values.  It creates the building blocks for engagement, accountability and motivation in all employees.

Creating an EVP also gets you really clear on what’s unique about your employee experience, who you are and what you offer as an employer. That clarity will help you prioritize which messages to convey to candidates in your employer brand and recruitment marketing content. Typically there are four phases when developing and launching an EVP: 

  • Conducting internal (employees, leadership) and external (candidate, market, competitive) research
  • Establishing supporting employer brand pillars and crafting an overarching statement
  • Supporting and activating with employee story substance and other content
  • Filling your candidate channels consistently with content that communicates and reinforces your EVP while building engagement among your audience

Sometimes an organization doesn’t possess an overtly-stated EVP. In these cases, the company’s values, mission and purpose step in for the EVP. But just like a formal EVP and its pillars, these concepts mean nothing without employee story substance. 

Effective employer brand and cultural messaging requires stories 

How do you communicate your employer brand and culture concepts so candidates resonate with them? How do candidates know what they’re reading on your careers site is real? You provide proof. The best proof possible is stories from your employees. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer data reveals that employees are the opinions and perspectives most readily believed by candidates, employees and customers. 

Without real employee stories that ground and prove your EVP and other cultural statements, EVPs mean next to nothing to candidates. For today’s job seeker, most EVP words on a career site are interchangeable or forgettable. 

But when you provide candidates with stories of how the EVP is experienced by employees, from the employees, now you’re bringing the EVP to life. You’re making it real for them. 

Not only will they understand your EVP, they’ll remember it. 

Why employee stories work

Employee stories are the basis for the best employer branding and recruitment marketing content. They are proof of real culture — you can’t argue with someone’s experience. And, what your company has done to improve the personal and professional lives of your employees is powerful, memorable and engaging branding and marketing content (and it’s true). 

Stories give real insight

They communicate what’s great about working at your company to both your internal and external audiences. Stories show candidates what it looks like to thrive in the culture, and those same stories have the effect of energizing employees.

Stories are memorable

Science says our brains are hardwired to retain information delivered in a story better than other types of information. It’s easier for us to process information when there’s a cause-and-effect scenario, and stories tend to have that structure. 

Stories inspire emotional connections

When consuming a story, people put themselves in the shoes of the storyteller, which implants a memory we haven’t experienced (like working at your organization), and helps them relate to someone they don’t know (the employee who is sharing their story). 

Stories prove you are who you say you are

Just because you have your EVP posted on your career site doesn’t show that the employee experience supports it. True stories, on the other hand, provide proof employees are having the experience you say they are, and that you stand for what you say you do. 

Stories compel candidates to action, build strong pipelines...and shorten time to fill

Candidates can either see themselves at your company, or they can’t. They either align with your message and mission, or they don’t. The earlier you can fire candidates up or opt out, the faster you can build strong pipelines with candidates who will accept your offer and thrive at your workplace.

Learn how some of the best employee value propositions are being activated by stories in our guide, featuring actionable examples!