EVPs of the Best Employers

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

The war for talent is high on the agenda of CEOs around the world. Concerns around the availability of key skills are at an all-time high according to PWCs Annual Global CEO survey.

Recruiting good people is costly and time-consuming so anything that improves retention and enhances engagement is a priority for HR professionals. Smart businesses pay attention to their employment brand and how they are perceived by potential employees.

L’Oréal, a great example, uses a global careers website to outline the characteristics the brand seeks in ideal candidates and shows them what an environment that will inspire looks like. The rich scientific heritage of the organisation is emphasised while their mission statement is clearly spelled out.

Universum publishes an annual list of the World’s Most Attractive Employers (WMAE), which examines what candidates are hoping to see from a workplace. In order to be considered, a company must rank in the top 90% of employers within at least six of the 12 largest economies in the world, weighted by GDP.

In 2017 the three companies which attracted most business students, globally, were Google, Goldman Sachs and Apple.

That’s interesting given that the survey reports that students associate smaller organisations with better atmosphere and friendly environments. Work/life balance is highly valued, students also want to see their work amount to something and effect change, both in social terms, but also within their own careers.

Candidates want to work in a dynamic and creative environment and express a strong preference for leaders who support their development and they want professional training and development; it’s interesting to note that many candidates prioritise training and development ahead of earnings.

In articulating an EVP that differentiates the organisation it pays to promote employee advocacy. Messages about employer brand play best when they come direct from the mouths of employees. In the modern workplace hiring relies more on social media and employee referrals than it does on recruitment sites and professional networks.

Leverage the power of social media and encourage employees to share information about the organisation using their personal accounts, it’s the smartest way to promote your employer brand and culture.

Why does it matter?

Universum points out that, generally speaking, organisations who don’t attract the optimum level of attention from talent need to pay a wage premium to secure top talent; more attractive employers do not.

Towers Watson research shows organisations that use their EVP most effectively are five times more likely to report their employees are highly engaged and twice as likely to report achieving financial performance significantly above their peers when compared to companies that use their EVP less effectively. They add that the most effective organisations take a cue from consumer marketing and categorise employees into meaningful groups.

Research by Gallup looked at what makes an employer attractive to candidates and concluded:

  • They understand what good looks like – using an evidence-based approach to develop a definitive guide for attracting applicants with the most potential to thrive
  • They connect applicant messages and culture – ensuring that their applicant attraction message accurately reflects the business’ work environment
  • They differentiate themselves from the competition – providing potential hires with compelling reasons to choose the company as a workplace

Gallup points out that Apple’s carefully crafted employment brand “resonates with people who have a strong desire to learn and grow, and says a lot about the company’s culture and what it values”. In essence, Apple’s EVP appeals to the right kind of people, those who want to learn and grow and who are likely to be engaged with Apple’s development-oriented culture, a win-win scenario.

A robust and authentic EVP is a talent magnet – you could hardly find a greater contrast than between glamourous L’Oréal and Timpson, the key cutting shoe menders, but both organisations know how to sell themselves:

  • L’Oréal – You can do things we cannot, we can do things you cannot; but together we can do great things. It’s about becoming a better person because the people you work with are challenging you to become the best version of yourself.
  • Timpson – We give our colleagues total authority to do whatever they can to amaze our customers. We are really proud of the fact that all of our senior managers, have been promoted from within our business.

We believe developing a strong EVP is a crucial component of a successful talent management strategy.


Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.


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