As part of our work with multinational companies and global brands we have seen a steady increase over the past five years in the topics of employee value proposition (EVP) and employment brand (EB). Many organizations have begun to define the employee experience in their company, and many have taken steps to add internal departments focused on the work of branding and communicating this experience.
We often get questions regarding the difference between the employment brand and the employee value proposition. Are they the same thing? If not, how are they different? What are the qualities of each? Which one is more important? Where do we start our own journey of defining and communicating our employee experience?
It’s important to remember that the work of the EB or EVP often lives within the Human Resources function of the organization. While HR offers valuable expertise in the area of managing people, for this particular exercise an understanding of brand, marketing, and communication is also important.
An Employment Brand is Like a Reputation
In defining the difference between EB and EVP, it’s useful to first define what we mean by the term “Brand.” The topic of brand is much debated, but the prevailing thinking is that the brand is less about the logo, the look, the feel, and more about the gut feeling the audience has about your organization. Think of it as your reputation. You can do things to influence your reputation but, at the end of the day, others determine what your reputation ultimately is.
In looking at the difference between the employment brand, and the employee value proposition, I suggest they are two sides of the same conversation. One side represents the intent of the company, while the other side represents the understanding and related connection of the desired audience.
Employee Value Proposition Presents a Compelling Set of Value
The employee value proposition is the deliberate construct of the organization to provide a compelling set of value that will attract the desired future workforce and, at the same time, keep the desired current workforce in the organization. The EVP will offer messages that address the rewards, the opportunity, the culture, the organization, the work, and the people you will be working with. Inside of these categories the EVP might cover specific attributes like health insurance, vacation, retirement, career development, ethics, job impact, manager qualities, etc.
The Employment Brand, just like a consumer brand, is how the future and current workforce understand this proposition. How they feel about it. How they resonate with it. And ultimately the gut feeling or reputation it creates for the organization. The ultimate desire is, of course, that the proposition be so compelling and well enough understood that current workers are consistently reminded what a great organization they work for, and future workers will be drawn to the opportunity.
In the space between the EVP and the EB is the way all of this is communicated and presented to both internal and external audiences. Some organizations have formalized the EVP and created full marketing/communication packages that control the presentation of the message in a format similar to consumer marketing. Other organizations are leveraging social media to build their employment brand through dialogues between current and future team members. The goal here is to generate a positive and authentic public persona in the increasingly important social space.
How does this distinction between the EVP and the EB resonate with you? I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you been involved with this type of work? What have you discovered about creating a strong EVP and then communicating it effectively to achieve the desired result?
The work of the EVP and EB fits within a comprehensive strategy for Internal-External Brand Alignment. You can see how deliberate alignment of the EVP with the consumer brand, and its inherent promise, is a strong step towards building IEBA from the very beginning of your relationship with your team.
If you have an interest in developing an Employee Value Proposition and leveraging it to create a strong Employment Brand, we would love to talk with you, so please feel free to contact us.