Creating, refreshing or overhauling your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is no simple task. To do it successfully, you must take an approach that is proven to get results. This includes considering the nuances of the talent segments you engage with, and the markets in which you operate.

Done correctly, a localized EVP will boost your organization’s ability to attract and retain the right high-performing talent. We created this guide on localizing your EVP as a complement to the Cielo guide to Crafting a Powerful Employee Value Proposition.

Why Localize?

An EVP is the sum of experiences and rewards provided by an employer in exchange for the employee’s skills, knowledge and commitment. Essentially, it is the unspoken deal made between employer and employee based on a certain set of conditions. A strong EVP is clear, compelling and credible, as well as aligned to the core brand and business strategy. It spells out what is unique and most valuable about working for you and what that means for employees.

Your EVP is intrinsically linked to your employer brand. Think of it this way: your EVP contains the core ingredients of the deal you make with an employee. Employer branding is about bringing that to life in a compelling way – but it must also be authentic. In today’s always-online age of transparency, you cannot sell a vision of your company that does not match reality. The disconnect will quickly be discovered and do more harm to your brand than saying nothing at all.

One way to avoid the perception of a disconnect is to actively promote that your employee experience has differences depending on the geographic location or role. While your core EVP proposition should be the same across the organization, translating your employer branding materials to address different markets, candidate motivations and goals can be a crucial difference between attracting good and great talent. Targeting messages that are true to the core of your company, but speak directly to a segment of candidates, is how the most successful companies find freedom within a framework.

Segmenting your audience

The key to localization is understanding the natural talent segments with whom you want to communicate. The process of segmenting your audience will underpin the work you do to refresh your employer brand messaging, develop new materials and plan your communication strategy. Consider the segments you communicate with most frequently, where you have the biggest hiring volumes and/or challenges, and in particular those segments that are unique to your market or business area. This may be by business function or role type, or across key hiring groups such as interns, graduates and experienced hires. At some organizations, localization will only be required for specific geographies.

Ask the following:

  • Which are your biggest talent segments? Think about hiring numbers, attrition rates– where you have the biggest recruiting challenges.
  • Are you responsible for multiple geographies or talent segments?
  • Do you have existing talent pools for key segments where tailored communication would be beneficial

Freedom within a framework

Once your global EVP is in place, local teams should be given flexibility to tailor messages that are most relevant to their target group. To help them determine how best to deliver their messages, have them consider the following:

  • Which 2 or 3 key messages will resonate most with your audience within the global framework?
  • Which channels to market are most appropriate for your audience?
  • Think about the candidate journey. Are the touchpoints a candidate will reach – e.g., a landing page or social media profile – tailored to the local market where possible?

Guidelines for localization

As you are localizing your EVP, the core principles that Cielo shared in our Crafting a Powerful Employee Value Proposition still apply.

Keep it authentic and provable for the market or talent segment. At least 70% of your EVP needs to accurately reflect your current offering, with the remaining 30% spelling out your aspirations for your future offer. This is known as the 70/30 rule. For example, do not say, “We meet the work/life balance needs of our employees,” if you are not there yet. Instead, say, “We are developing a flexible working environment that will enable our employees to balance their commitments in and out of work.”

Make it relevant to your audience. While the core attributes of your EVP will appeal across the board to the right people, different employee groups will have different needs and drivers, so you need to tailor your messaging to them. The deal you are making is personal, so always put yourself in the shoes of the candidate or employee group you are communicating with.

Be consistent. EVPs evolve over time, but you need to be consistent about the core elements or you will dilute your messaging and risk confusing people. Fundamentals such as vision, values and culture are the “glue” that binds people together. When you need to take into account the nuances of different regions, geographies or divisions, aim to keep 80% of your core EVP, allowing for 20% adaption to make the promise or offering relevant to that particular audience. We think of this as the 80/20 principle.

Differentiate. To avoid sounding just like your competitors, find out what your company does differently that you can leverage as a benefit. If you hold walking meetings rather than something more traditional, be sure to speak to that. Casual dress codes can also make a difference. If you allow employees to work from home and your competitors will not, make sure you stress that as a benefit.

What to do next: Quick Wins

The process of localizing your EVP does not necessarily require an overhaul of your entire recruitment process. There are some quick wins to be had, and some recruiter and hiring manager-led ideas as well as some more extensive design and creative options.

The two key areas to consider are your localized message to market and how you activate that message:

Review, repackage. Review the way your EVP messaging is conveyed in the context of your local market: Do taglines resonate with the audience? Is the imagery relevant to the target group and to the roles you are recruiting?

Are there revisions that can be made to recruitment materials that speak directly to the motivations of your target talent and show what it is really like to work for your organization? Distill this into a set of recruitment materials that your recruiters can use, or consider an online tool to allow teams to create customized assets.

57% of candidates find job ads that include recruiter jargon annoying and frustratingPersonalize the job ad. Just a slight revision to the job description copy – making it feel like the candidate is hearing directly from your organization’s local team, and not just reading a global description – could make all the difference. A common mistake is simply repurposing the job description and making it word-for-word into an advertisement. A more personalized approach can make your job ad stand out from competitors.

Conduct a digital audit. See your online talent brand through the eyes of a candidate. Learn what they would find about your organization – specifically where you are hiring – if they were to do a Google search, or visit your careers site and social media profiles. The more localized content they find, and the easier you make that user journey, the more engaged they will be with your story, and more likely to click through to apply or find out more.

Refresh your recruiter training. This should be highly tailored to the local market, and managed within a local team. Spend time with your recruiter and hiring manager populations exploring the nuances of your EVP in the local market. This could be a training session, a webinar or an away day. Build personas specific to your market to bring the conversations to life.

Launch a booster campaign.Complement global or regional efforts and your business-as-usual recruitment advertising with a booster campaign to add extra firepower to your pipeline for key segments. Use very targeted and localized messaging – with a foundation in your core EVP as necessary – to talk directly to that target population where they are. A concentrated period of integrated media activity will get your message to market quickly and build out the local talent pool.

Develop a microsite or targeted landing page.Revisit your careers page and see how it kicks off the candidate journey. If a candidate first sees a localized message in a campaign or on social media, but is then greeted with a global careers page, they could lose interest. A quick win could be to create a dedicated landing page to bridge the gap. When this is not possible, consider minor revisions to a global careers site that could make it feel more personal to the candidate.

Above all, tell your story.The most important part of any brand activation is bringing it to life. For an EVP, the age-old method of storytelling will be one of your most important tools. You can accomplish this by showcasing current employees in the roles you are advertising, opening up the organization by sharing examples of the culture in action and being transparent. Visual or video content is a great tool, along with a range of employee-generated content on your social media or web channels.

Final thoughts

Having your EVP sufficiently localized is critical to success in recruitment and engagement. Your overall EVP needs to be a living asset – one that informs your people agenda, policies and processes, meaning that it must be relevant to the talent segments you are attracting as well as the local market context. As you look at refining your messaging, be mindful that it is an ongoing process, where minor interventions can be as impactful as wholesale change.

Work within your organizational context, feel empowered, and empower your people to make best use of the EVP you have. And, above all, always focus on the candidate experience.

The PDF version of this article features two case studies that illustrate the real-world positive effects of localizing your EVP. To download this version, click here