How an employee value proposition (EVP) can show talent the true value of your firm

Key Points

  • The Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) industry needs to hire, retain, and grow talent to stay on par with current growth rates.

  • While recruiting talent remains important, attracting and retaining talent is becoming more important to keep up with hiring needs.

  • An EVP can be a helpful tool in attracting talent for your firm, while also reinforcing your values and culture with current employees.

Whether you are looking to hire one employee or twenty, finding talent can be a challenge. Talented people want more than a paycheck from their job. While important, money alone isn’t enough to attract and retain brilliant, enthusiastic, and hardworking people. Your employees should know you care about their well-being and that the benefits you offer can help them be their best—at work and at home. It's important for them to embrace your firm's purpose and recognize that the work they're doing is meaningful and impactful.

An employee value proposition (EVP) is the currency firms use to hire, motivate, and retain top talent. It's an effective tool that can help you articulate what makes your firm special to potential and current employees. It outlines the unique value your firm offers and is an effective way to communicate your culture, values, and benefits. The considerable value of an EVP is a big reason why 53% of Top Performing Firms have one.1 It's also a key driver for growth and sustainability because it enables firms to hire and retain talent that can help them realize their vision for the future.

What exactly is an EVP?

An EVP explains what a firm offers its employees in return for the skills, knowledge, and experiences they bring to the firm. The power of an EVP is that you put it down on paper. You summarize what's expected at work—both broadly for all employees and specifically for certain positions—and share what they can expect from your firm.

But an EVP shouldn't be strictly transactional. A compelling EVP offers an opportunity to proclaim your firm's core values, the ways you're building an intentional culture, and the spirit behind employee benefits. To attract, motivate, and retain top talent you need more than a list of requirements and benefits. You need to show them that you care about what's important to them.

Defining what you offer

Talented people know they have a lot to offer so be clear about what your firm brings to the table. What will set your firm apart from the competition? What would make your firm enticing to work for and stay at for the long haul?

A strong EVP typically explains:

  • How the work is meaningful
    We all want to enjoy coming to work. Good people and a positive team environment are a great start but it's also about the mission of your firm. Are employees only here to make money for themselves and their clients or is there a higher purpose to their work that inspires and motivates them to show up every day?
  • Company values
    Values play a key role in an EVP. When potential employees see that a company shares their values, they are more likely to want to work there. It's an effective way to create a sense of belonging and reassures them that their work is making an impact.
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion
    Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) creates a sense of belonging that can foster high degrees of engagement, productivity, and innovation. Women, people of color, and others who might consider working at your firm want to know that you're committed to a fair workplace that supports each person's individuality and creates pathways for their success.
  • Professional development for advancing
    Professional development is a win-win. You help employees be better prepared to step up when you need them, and they gain skills that can help them pursue their individual goals.
  • Financial rewards beyond base salary
    Compensation remains the benefit candidates value most. However, bonuses, incentives, and other financial rewards can help everyone feel they're seeing results from their hard work, and when linked to business goals, can help motivate employees and drive firm performance.
  • Equity ownership opportunities
    Having a sense of ownership is a powerful motivator and can bond people to you and the work of your firm. Equity ownership allows you to reward top employees and gives them a good reason to help you continue to grow and evolve.
  • Traditional and nontraditional benefits
    Robust health coverage and a generous retirement plan are table stakes. Can you offer remote work or schedule flexibility? Health and wellness benefits to promote holistic well-being? Parental leave? Gym memberships? And don't overlook little perks like office snacks or team swag.

Setting expectations

An EVP is also your opportunity to be clear about who is and isn't the right fit your firm. While each job description will be different based on the role and the specific knowledge and skills to do that job, what's universal is culture. How do you want employees to approach the work at your firm? Who is your model employee?

How you define culture might include your unique take on:

  • Values and beliefs
  • Approach to client service
  • Relationship building
  • Communication expectations
  • Creativity
  • Accountability
  • Inclusion

It's okay to outline a culture and mindset that's not for everyone. In fact, it can be a chance to differentiate your firm from all the other firms that job seekers might consider. By setting expectations in your EVP, you're telling potential employees what it's like to work at your firm and who is most likely to thrive. It's important to be honest about that so that you attract the right candidates and potential employees for your culture.

Communication makes it work

An EVP that no one ever sees can't help you attract and retain talent. If you share your EVP widely, not only will it help talent find you, but it can also help reinforce the culture you're building.

Places where you can share your EVP:

  • On the walls of your office
  • In team meetings
  • On the "About" page of your firm's website
  • In your firm's social media profiles
  • In job descriptions
  • At recruitment events
  • Anywhere job seekers might be looking for a firm like yours

People are your most important asset

An EVP is your chance to show talent that you're different, and that your firm is a place where they can help build something special. And for current talent, it helps create as sense of belonging and reassures them that their work is making an impact.

What you can do next

  • Visit our Talent Resource Center for useful insights and actionable tools to evolve your talent strategy.
  • Download our RIA Talent Advantage™ Recruitment Playbook to learn more about attracting and retaining diverse talent.
  • Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a custodial relationship with Schwab.


1. Schwab Advisor Services, "Results from the 2023 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab" White Paper

Top Performing Firms are those that rank in the top 20% of the Firm Performance Index. The index evaluates all firms in the study according to 15 metrics to arrive at a holistic assessment of each firm's performance across key business areas. Past performance is not an indicator of future results. 2023 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab, fielded January to March 2023. Study contains self-reported data from 1,300 firms. Participant firms represent various sizes and business models categorized into peer groups by AUM.