EVP vs. USP: The Difference and When to Use Which

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

The Value Proposition is a well-established marketing concept; and EVP is the employment-related version. The marketer wants their product to be “different”, so that people choose that product before another. The HR professional wants to be an employer of choice.

From time to time we may think that an employer has a very distinctive point of difference that might be referred to as a USP. We might argue that the employer brand is an extension of the brand in the talent marketplace. However, the combination of factors that make an organisation an attractive employer isn’t evaluated in the same way as a product or service.

A strong employer brand should be clear and relevant, so that it differentiates the organisation in the eyes of employees and potential recruits. Ask employees at a good organisation why they love their workplace and they’ll say things like: “The company allows employees to grow and make a meaningful difference in the world”, “My employer helps staff with improving and developing their skillset”, “We all feel we are contributing to the success of the organisation.”

Take an all-round view

In trying to build and enhance EVP you need a 360 degree view of the organisation to establish real insight as to your reputation as an employer; why people to choose to work with you. What is it about the organisation that makes you a great place to work?

Look at everything you say as an employer and ensure it is authentic. Talk to stakeholders for a view of what you offer; ask candidates who turned you down and leavers or pensioners, then talk to recruiters and other suppliers.

Don’t discount existing employees, they know what matters to them and their colleagues, they know your brand and understand what customers value about your strengths and offering. A strong employer brand drives engagement, increasing workforce value and decreasing turnover, what’s good for staff is a good investment.

Engagement is what drives discretionary effort, the intrinsic motivation to do the job well; to work harder and better, to feel like part of the organisation and aligned with the stated purpose, mission and values of the brand. Improving employee engagement helps a business grow, attract and keep talent.

Focus on engagement

Focus on improving EVP and employee engagement with a consistent approach, built on a good knowledge of what really makes a difference to your people. Ensure you understand your market and competitors so you can show how your value proposition is attractive and different to potential employees.

There are some key questions to ask:

  • Why do people join the organisation?
  • Why do they stay?
  • Why do they leave?
  • Do we have any USPs?
  • Does our organisational culture align with strategic aims?
  • Do our culture and mission statement inspire our staff?

A word of caution – you may be surprised by some of the things employees say they value about the organisation. If you hear things about the brand that don’t match your aspirations you need to address these issues, having asked employees their opinion it is important to deal with critical comments promptly.

Crafting a robust employer brand is not a quick fix, it is a commitment, integral to your business model. Improving your time to hire is not really the point, it’s about hiring great people who will fit well and stay for the right reasons; and employees who embrace and share the goals of success and productivity and take pride in your organisation.


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