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Post by Rich Moy on Jan 16, 2018 12:00:00 PM

When you think about how to make your company attractive to developers, the first thing you probably think of is your employer branding strategy—and rightfully so. But how do you create the messaging that fuels your tech recruitment emails, job listings, and careers page? It starts with your employer value proposition (or EVP), which you should define before taking pen to paper on any branding initiative for tech talent.

If you’re still feeling a little lost, don’t worry. You’re probably not alone. Let’s take a closer look at what your EVP is, how you should define it, and why all of this matters.

Employer Value Proposition vs. Employer Brand

In the 2001 book The War for Talent, Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod wrote that your EVP should answer the question, “Why would a highly talented person choose to work here?” Sounds like employer branding, right? While both go hand in hand, the truth is that they’re quite different.

Think of your employer branding content as your creative expression of the promise that you make internally to your current employees. But when it comes to your EVP, Andrew Collett at Edelman says that it defines what your company wants to be associated with as an employer—and what your staff can expect in return from you for their contributions.

With that in mind, be honest with yourself about your current employer branding content. Does it accurately reflect the experience that you are (and aren’t) providing to your tech team? If the answer is no, don’t be afraid to make the necessary edits. But if you can’t articulate your EVP, don’t worry. We’ll walk through an exercise together in the following section of this post.

How to Create Your EVP for Developers

The importance of defining your employer value proposition can’t be understated. But where do you begin? According to CEB, the following five attributes contribute to a strong EVP:

  1. Rewards: Compensation, health and retirement benefits, and vacation
  2. Work: Job-interest alignment and work-life balance
  3. Organization: Market position, product/service quality, and social responsibility
  4. Opportunity: Career opportunities, development opportunities, and organization growth rate
  5. People: Manager quality, coworker quality, senior leadership reputation, and camaraderie

Based on what we learned from the 2017 Developer Hiring Landscape, these are all essential points to consider. Still, tech recruiting is a unique challenge, so you should understand the reasons that programmers, in particular, choose to work for you.

To get started, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which projects are our tech team most excited about—and which ones are unique to our organization?
  • What do we offer developers that other companies can’t? (This could be anything from better equipment to generous education budgets.)
  • How do they feel we can improve their experience as employees of our company?

Some of these might be difficult for you to answer on your own. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to ask your current developers for their thoughts. After all, your EVP (and your employer brand, as a result) will be easier to sell to potential candidates if it reflects how your tech team feels about your company.

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