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Employee Value Proposition - A Guide to Building a Recession-Proof EVP

by College Life
Updated on June 20, 2023

Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is all the rage these days. Of course, this is no surprise considering the mountains of evidence showing it reduces the cost per hire, increases the time to hire, and reduces employee turnover.

However, these positive effects only arise if the EVP is done right. Unfortunately, this has become incredibly difficult to do for two key reasons: it’s hard to get noticed on social media platforms due to the unfathomable level of information they output every day & the war for talent is escalating at an unprecedented rate.

Depending on your industry, the sheer amount of existing and emerging competition makes it that much harder to stand out as a company, whether you are marketing to new talent, potential investors, or future clients.

The Fundamentals of Employee Value Proposition

First and foremost, be aware the fundamentals. What is an EVP and what are the benefits to it? Let's find out!

What is Employee Value Proposition?

Employee Value Proposition is a crucial aspect of your employer branding and company culture. It is a combination of benefits, services or other offerings through which employers attract and retain talent within their company.

EVP encompasses a set of benefits offered to employees. Employee benefits may include tangible and intangible benefits such as a  competitive salary, insurance coverage, flexible working hours, eating facilities,  dress codes, and employee empowerment.

Employee Value Proposition Benefits

The employee value proposition is as essential for selling the idea of working for a company as marketing is for selling a newly launched product. While startups & scaleups generally have less time to focus on their EVP as it’s still usually in the process of being shaped, larger companies definitely have it on their agenda.

We help companies build their EVP, since as it turns out, successfully selling “values” and “beliefs” is more easily said than done.  - Kristian Voldrich, Managing Director at College Life Work 

Take companies that aim to attract top young generation z talent. Creating a TikTok account is simple, and recording a video on which you talk about how cool it is to work for your company isn’t difficult. However, suppose you’ve spent no longer than 5 minutes consuming existing TikTok content yourself. In that case, you can be almost sure that what you just created won’t be appreciated by your target audience. It’s more likely that you will humiliate yourself & your brand.

Employee Value Proposition during Difficult Times

Strong Employer Value Proposition is especially important during difficult times, such as a pandemic. During these periods, proactive brands strengthen their relationship with their community. Read further to find out how.

Keep in Touch

By staying in close contact with all members of the community, you can guide, support & help them navigate through this difficult time. And that is equally true if you experience changing work conditions or a hiring freeze.

Keep Active

Communicate effectively by regularly updating your followers on your company’s changes. Let them know whether you’re still hiring and whether remote work is an option for potential candidates. Let them understand that you’re there for them, in the good & in the bad.

Once the tough times are over, your efforts will result in building & maintaining a loyal tribe of candidates ready to apply for your positions.

Recession-Proof Employee Value Proposition

In both good times when companies are hiring in bulk and bad times where mass layoffs cannot be avoided, you must retain a strong Employee Value Proposition by maintaining quality relationships with your target audience.

Build a Community

Community building plays a vital role in EVP retention. By focusing entirely on talent acquisition, you signal to candidates that you are interested in nothing more than building a transactional relationship; you ask, they give, that’s it.

Offer Support

By building a solid community and providing free support in training, coaching, workshops &  events, you prove that you are in for the long term. If you indicate that you expect nothing in return, candidates will treat you as more valuable.

Community Building

Community building is an essential tool for EVP. There are three critical ingredients to community building: communication, engagement & benefits.


Start with effective communication. Being transparent about your company, the changes that you’re undergoing & the opportunities through which candidates can join will help you find the other two ingredients.


Once you’ve got your target audience listening, you have to keep them engaged - and remember, gen z’s only have an attention span of around 8 seconds, so make sure you’ve thought about your strategy thoroughly. To be engaging, make sure to keep communication on a personal level & stay informal; don’t dehumanise your followers.


Last, identify your benefits. Make it very clear what added value being a part of your community will bring to your members. Free pizza once a week won’t cut it anymore; try and think about hosting hackathons & co-creating solutions to challenges facing your company.

Make the community feel that they have a say in helping you build your employer brand and retain your EVP — you’ll be thanking them later.

Building & Maintaining Brand Authenticity

You should never try to trick your audience into believing that your company is something that it is not. It’ll only bite you in the ass later. Instead, always be true to yourself. Always be authentic.


First, you can achieve this through co-creation. Let the employees create authentic media that you then repurpose through your digital channels. Let them pick up their phones and have fun. Give them a voice so that they can show what it’s like to work at your company.

Moreover, let the employees shape the EVP for you. Don’t restrict yourself by painting what the company should look like. Instead, empower your team to give you feedback on what would make your company a better place to work at. This will also help you be more diverse.

Achieving Diversity

Recruiters often seek candidates that have the right company culture fit. When marketing this idea, they use EVP to reflect the culture & the individuals that represent it. This strategy is the fastest way to kill company diversity.

Culture Fit

By looking for candidates that fit the company culture, you build a uniform tribe of the same races, genders and points of view. Such a homogenous workforce is best defined as a culture fit. You create boundaries that limit your growth and detract candidates that could amplify you abroad.

You make it difficult for yourself to expand, whether abroad, which requires you to hire foreign talent from different backgrounds or locally, which requires you to hire candidates with distinct characteristics that help them succeed in their job.

Culture Add

Instead, companies should focus on culture add. Look for candidates that have elements your company culture is missing. More importantly, make sure to hire candidates that are different from you; selecting people that are similar to you is the easiest way to make hiring biases and create a cult culture that will lead to prejudice & discrimination.

The easiest way to hire talent with culture add is to target international, multilingual candidates. Adding more nationalities to your company will naturally make it more competitive since the ambition to scale abroad will be more easily achieved. Celebrate your cultural backgrounds and laugh at not-so-subtle differences that are apparent in the workplace.

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