What’s The Difference Between Your EVP and Employer Brand?

September 13, 2018

Launching any sort of employee-centric initiative – whether it’s employer branding, employee engagement, or something in-between –  can leave you feeling lost in a sea of jargon, acronyms, and buzzwords. And while we won’t break down every single confusing HR buzzword or concept right now, what we will do below is tackle one of the biggest sources of the confusion among HR, talent acquisition and recruiting: the mixing up of the words “employee value proposition,” or EVP, and “employer brand.”

A lot of people use these terms interchangeably, but they actually represent to two distinctly different things.

Read on to understand better the difference between EVP and employer branding so that you won’t make the mistake of getting them mixed up again in the future:

The Definitions

Let’s begin with some basic definitions.

Your EVP, or employee value proposition, refers to the attributes of the experience of working at your organization that your employees like best. It’s “the collection of rewards (financial and non-financial including cultural and career development aspects of employment which benefit the individual) provided by the company to employees and/or candidates with the intention to attract, retain, and/or motive them,” says Mike Cox, President of Cox Innovations, a human capital firm that offers human resource consulting and support to businesses.

You can think of the EVP as the value that your employees gain from working at your business rather than a competitor’s.

Your employer brand, on the other hand, is the face your company presents to the world as a potential employer. It refers to all of the things that someone thinks about when asked, “What would it be like to work at [Your Company’s Name]?” Your employer brand encompasses all of the external efforts (both passive and active) that allow you to recruit and retain top talent. [Find a variety of other helpful employer branding definitions here]


More on the difference between EVP and Employer Brand

Because your EVP and employer brand have some overlap, it’s easy to get them confused. Here’s a breakdown of the critical differences between your EVP and employer brand.

1. EVP is Internal, While Employer Brand is External

Your EVP is internal, representing the face your company shows its employees. Think of all of the value your employees gain from working for you. This might be compensation packages, flexible work time, opportunities for advancement, cool office place perks, or an intellectually stimulating environment. This collection of tangible and intangible rewards represent your EVP. Your EVP is internal to your company. Outsiders may or may not know what value you provide your employees.

In contrast, your employer brand is the face your company presents to the world. This often jives with your EVP, but not always. For example, perhaps your employees love working for you and are very happy with their experiences. However, you might have gotten some bad press that caused the media to portray your workplace culture as ruthless and cutthroat. Thus, your employer brand — the external-facing part of your company’s image — is an inaccurate reflection of your EVP. Part of your branding effort should be to develop marketing materials to ensure that your external reputation matches your positive EVP.

2. EVP is Research-Driven, While Employer Brand is about Creative Expression of the EVP

What defines your EVP is an empirical question, meaning that you can find the answer through research. It’s not something defined by your executive board or HR department. Rather, it is inherently defined by your employees. If you want to get a better handle on your EVP, you have to ask! Set up surveys and focus groups to determine what aspects of your company culture are central to your EVP. Ultimately, your “EVP takes the key components, realities and subtleties of the employer brand and streamlines these into a definitive set of statements (often known as ‘pillars’ or ‘themes’). These pillars act as codification of who you are, what makes you different and special and, most importantly, answers questions like, ‘What’s in it for me to join and stay with this business, and what’s expected of me?”, shares Nicole Dorskind, Managing Director of Thirty Three, a full-service agency, specializing in areas ranging from employer branding, employee engagement, and recruitment advertising.

An employer brand, on the other hand, is an outward expression of the EVP. You can think of it as a way of crafting the hard facts and figures into a compelling narrative: this is why you may often read about storytelling in employer branding. “[Your] employer brand, often expressed through creative and messaging, transforms the pillars of the EVP into marketing and advertising materials that bring your workplace to life, creating an emotional connection with the people you’d most like to reach,” Dorskind adds.

Your EVP may define what employees get out of working for your company, but your employer brand tells other people about it. The goal of your employer branding efforts is to convince outsiders that they will receive value from working for you.

3. EVP is true “Why,” whereas Employer Brand is “What” and “How”

Your company’s EVP is the “why” of your organization. It explains what compels your employees to keep working for you, even when they might have other options. In contrast, your employer brand is the “what” and “how” of your company. Through your branding efforts, you can tell others what you’re about as an employer. Your employer brand also gives outside talent the opportunity to learn how to become part of your organization.

EVP and employer brand are distinct yet closely related. Only by having a strong EVP can you engage in effective branding efforts that draw in new talent.



You might also like: 

What Role Does Storytelling Play in Employer Branding, With Answers from 10 Experts
10 Questions To Diagnose Your Company’s Employer Brand Reputation
How To Rescue Your Employer Brand After A Crisis
Uber, Facebook and Wells Fargo Going Through Employer Branding Makeovers with their Latest Video Campaigns
10 Statistics That Show How Employer Branding Impacts The Job Search (with INFOGRAPHIC) 
How To Inspire Your Employees To Become Your Company’s Employer Brand Advocates

For more best practices on employer branding and attracting talent into your organization, check out our free resources that we’ve made specifically for company leaders, HR and talent acquisition teams.

Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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