Drive Success with an Employer Value Proposition: Bus Éireann's story

Rachel McLoughlin

An Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is a comprehensive set of offerings and values that an organisation provides to its employees in return for their skills, capabilities, and experiences. It plays a critical role in attracting, retaining, and engaging top talent by clearly communicating what makes an organisation a great place to work.

Recognising the importance of a strong EVP, Great Place to Work were delighted to collaborate with Bus Éireann recently to create their Driver EVP, ensuring it accurately reflects their value as an employer. This collaboration involved deep research and strategic development to reveal Bus Éireann’s unique attributes, with the aim of authentically communicating their brand message to potential bus driver candidates. The organisation had a key focus on retaining its current workforce, all while navigating industry challenges and shifting perceptions about the role of bus drivers to attract new talent. Let's take a look at the process.


Why should an organisation have an EVP?

An EVP is your brand DNA. It's what your organisation stands for and this message should consistently inform all your internal and external communications. It conveys the rational and emotional “reasons why” candidates should join and stay at your company and is for the most part "reality-based" (what current employees genuinely think and feel about working in your company). It is also partially aspirational (what you want to become and can achieve, as an employer).

With no EVP, employer branding messages can be incoherent, short-sighted and ultimately confuse candidates and employees themselves. 

For employer branding messages to be credible, they need insights from daily life stories coming directly from employees on what they like about working at the company, and what they enjoy about their job. In Bus Éireann's case, the organisation had a strong corporate message but appreciated that their proposition as an employer had to be informed by what bus drivers feel and think about working in the organisation.


"I know why I love working in Bus Éireann, however, we wanted to understand what bus drivers value about working here. We partnered with Great Place to Work to develop a Bus Driver EVP to help us attract others to come to work here in the future"

Jean O Sullivan Bus Eireann

-Jean O'Sullivan, Chief People Officer at Bus Éireann



Objectives of the EVP

When sitting down to craft any EVP, it is important to outline what the objectives of the EVP are. Bus Éireann's aim was to hire more bus drivers across Ireland, while retaining its current workforce, by exploring and understanding the unique value it offers to drivers and how it stands out from competitors. The company was also aiming to focus on refreshing the image of the bus driver job to attract D and B licence candidates.

As Chief People Officer Jean O'Sullivan touched on, gaining insights into current Bus Éireann drivers was critically important, and equally important is not assuming you know what your employees and future employees may want or need; "We wanted to understand why individuals choose driving as a career in the first place".


Crafting the EVP

To tackle these challenges, the team at Great Place to Work collaborated closely with Bus Éireann to adopt a comprehensive three-step process;


Step 1: Research and content creation - assessing where you are at today

Before anything else, it was vital for our team to assess the company's current status and aspirations. This was done mainly through internal research like interviews with employees at all levels to gauge what their feelings were about working at the organisation.

An Employer Branding Health Check was also carried out, with the aim of providing actionable insights for developing a stronger employer brand. This involved looking at areas like:

  • The candidate journey: What do candidates go through when applying for a role in your company?
  • Competitors analysis: What are your key competitors doing? How can you differentiate yourself in the crowd?
  • Missed opportunities: What are your missed opportunities: what you do well but do not communicate? What are your weaknesses?
  • Effectiveness of your current communications: What messages do you communicate and to whom? Who is listening to your messages?


As well as this health check, interviews with bus drivers and leaders at the organisation revealed valuable insights, such as the values the drivers held, leadership aspirations and highlighted geographical priorities, as well as identifying short and long-term actions to enhance retention and attract new drivers. These insights allowed the organisation to focus on targeting personas and tailoring communications depending on who these communications were intended for.


"Surprising responses came up as a result of the research; for example, that what bus drivers enjoy about their job is hitting the open road early in the morning while seeing the beautiful Irish landscape, or that they feel gratified for bringing children safely to their destination every day, seeing them grow, year by year. This research is therefore crucial to building a credible and authentic EVP"

Tiziana Traldi, Employer Branding Consultant at Great Place to Work Ireland

Step 2: Developing the EVP

Once sufficient research is conducted and the needs and wants of the organisation are defined, it is time to craft the EVP. At Bus Éireann, this process included a 3-hour co-creation workshop, where the EVP was designed and tested. This workshop, informed by the research, included:

  • Leaders from different departments working collaboratively to share perspectives and priorities to then agree on the key themes for the bus drivers’ EVP
  • Leadership alignment on Bus Éireann's Employer Brand Promise
  • Agreement on improvement areas to activate in order to attract and retain bus drivers


The EVP was then finalised with key takeaways in mind:

  • Clarity on what Bus Éireann's brand promise was to their bus drivers
  • Alignment on the key themes emerged by bus drivers’ daily life stories at work and proof points as to what they value in their employer and in their job

Step 3: Brand activation - marketing collaterals and communication strategy created

Once the EVP was clarified and defined collaboratively amongst the team, Bus Éireann could now use the EVP to inform their recruitment marketing and advertising strategy. Below is a sample of Bus Éireann’s current Driver Recruitment Campaign, which incorporates elements of the EVP:



female driver recruit bus eireannBus Éireann's female driver recruitment campaign


Bus Éireann's strategic approach to employer branding is a testament to the power of understanding and communicating an organisation's unique value proposition. By addressing challenges head-on and focusing on continuous improvement, Bus Éireann is well on its way to achieving its ambitious recruitment and retention goals.

And it doesn't stop there - the company is close to finalising the EVP for craftworkers, including mechanics; “While we have an EVP for the whole company and the drivers who represent a significant number of our employees at Bus Éireann, it is important to understand what other cohorts of employees value about working here, for example, our mechanics who support us every day in keeping our drivers and customers safe on the roads and keeping the engine of the organisation turning over," says O’Sullivan. 

From this it is clear how important it is to understand the unique needs and perspectives of all employee groups, not just one department. By gaining a deep understanding of their driver cohort, which makes up a significant percentage of their workforce, Bus Éireann has set the stage for extending this understanding to other essential groups, such as mechanics and craft workers. This comprehensive approach ensures that the EVP reflects the true values of the organisation and addresses the diverse needs of all employees, maintaining safety and operational efficiency across the company.



Ready to build your EVP? Let's get started!

We were delighted to collaborate with Bus Éireann to craft an Employer Value Proposition that truly resonates with their diverse workforce and to help attract more quality applicants. By building a strong EVP your organisation can enhance employee engagement and satisfaction, reducing turnover and associated costs. It differentiates your company in a competitive job market, making it a more attractive place to work. Additionally, a well-crafted EVP aligns employees with your company’s mission and goals, fostering a cohesive and motivated workforce. Ultimately, this investment drives long-term success and sustainability for your organisation.

Interested in chatting to our team to see how your organisation can get started with us? Get in touch below!

Contact us


"I don't think we would be on the sound footing we are in terms of being confident in going out there and being able to attract the level of resources we need to deliver on our strategy without the support of Great Place to Work in developing our EVP and employer branding"

Jean O'Sullivan, Chief People Officer at Bus Éireann


Check out our Employer Branding Guide below 👇

New call-to-action


About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. We help organisations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. We recognise Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies and the Best Workplaces™ in more than 60 countries. To join the thousands of companies that have committed to building high-trust company cultures that help them attract, retain and take care of their people, contact us about getting Certified today.