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The employee value proposition, employer branding and ambassadors

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Recruitment, Recruitment and Skills, Recruitment Hub

Three cartoon drawings of a board meeting. In the first one, the CEO says "We need more of what the management experts call Employee Engagement". In the second drawing, the CEO says "I don't know the details, but it has something to do with you idiots working harder for the same pay". In the third drawing, someone asks the CEO a question "Is anything different on your end?". The CEO responds with "I think I'm supposed to be happier".

When we advertise a vacancy we’re asking a candidate to join and contribute their knowledge, skills, talents, behaviours, time, and energy to our organisation.

In return the successful candidate is offered a complete package - this is the employee value proposition. Some places call this the employer value proposition. But I believe it is an employee-centred approach and should be informed by current employees, as well as the external target audience.

The employee value proposition (EVP)

It’s everything that matters to employees at work, and are the things they proudly talk about to friends and family away from the workplace and across social media. But remember not all employees are the same so it’s important to do your user research.

Each organisation’s EVP must be unique, relevant, and compelling if it is to be successful in attracting the right talent, engaging them, and also retaining their services.

A successful EVP will cover all the main reward areas:

  • various forms of pay and benefits
  • location
  • learning and development
  • flexible work arrangements
  • wellness programs and schemes

It also includes a range of intangible factors that don’t show up in the payslip, but nonetheless carry high value. These could include:

  • pride-inducing set of workplace values
  • a clear organisational vision
  • a complementary strategy to this vision
  • an appealing organisational culture
  • positive, inspirational leadership
  • challenging and meaningful work
  • the opportunity and recognition for personal achievement
  • a sense of purpose
  • wider community service

It’s worth nothing that EVP is different to employer brand.

What is employer brand (EB)?

An employer brand is the cluster of beliefs, experiences and impressions that candidates attach to an organisation. The employer brand isn’t a logo or a catchphrase commonly linked to the organisation. Those are brand representations, not the brands themselves.

In essence, the employer brand is a condensed set of information that is used to help the candidate make a decision whether they would like to work with that organisation. That decision is cognitive, but also often emotional.

Benefits of a strong EVP and EB

  • Constructing a strong value proposition, and supporting it with a compelling employer brand, is a worthwhile effort.  A good EVP often includes:
    • attraction and retention of talent
    • helps prioritise the HR agenda (whatever that is?!)
    • creates a strong people brand (again just stolen some jargon from HR!)
    • helps re-engage a disenchanted workforce
    • could reduce the time/money spent on replacing leavers
  • A clear EVP gives you material to use across recruitment material.
  • When making a formal offer the EVP should take the focus off of salary as the primary "offer".
  • Personal job satisfaction is often driven by far more than financial factors such as salary and benefits.

(My pal Matt Buckland, wrote a great blog piece on interpreting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for the candidate/employee. It’s worth a read)

It is important so that you can attract the best candidates. Organisations that don’t have strong EVP or EB invariably aren’t employers of choice. This means that when the really good candidates (the ones every organisation wants) are looking for a new challenge, they won’t normally come to you.

Really good candidates don’t often search for jobs online, they talk to their networks containing other people whose opinion they value. If those networks contain really happy people that proudly speak about their work and their organisations, these really good candidates will start to show an interest in potentially joining them. It’s quite simple when you think about it.


People who experience great work satisfaction are ideal candidates to be your ambassadors, to help carry your compelling offerings across to their respective specialist and social networks, sharing a consistent message.

You may even want to set up a referral scheme to reward these ambassadors for helping recruit talented candidates.It could contribute towards other objectives, which if met/exceeded could result in financial rewards.


As well as using your employees to be your ambassadors of this EVP, you can also use social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Glassdoor etc) and other specialist sites to help publicise opportunities. More than that, you can also use these platforms as engagement tools to keep it touch with potential candidates who are currently passive, but are keeping an open mind for the right opportunity.

One thing worth noting about engaging in social media is that if to make sure you actually are capable of engaging properly with the audience. It isn’t just a one way broadcast tool and you could get it very wrong if you haven’t thought it through. We’ve written a great guide to social media on the main GDS Blog.

ZeShaan Shamsi is the Head of GDS Recruitment. Follow him on twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to the Digital People Blog


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