The pandemic has caused shift in employee preferences and priorities, with many seeking work that aligns with their personal values.
Today, nearly two-thirds of employees say the pandemic caused them to reflect on their purpose in life, while almost half have reconsidered the kind of work they do.
Employees now want a deeper connection with their organizations, where their personal brands authentically overlap with the organization’s values. This is why many companies have invested in an Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
An EVP is the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance at the workplace.
Just as when evaluating an externally facing service brand, an EVP needs to create, elevate and campaign a clear point of meaningful difference. A good EVP should be ownable and possess the ability to excite and motivate. It should have be able to encourage discretionary effort and create an enduring sense of shared purpose and belonging.
However, an EVP isn’t a panacea to all the problems that hybrid working creates.
The key to success lies in making sure EVPs “go to work” by actively incorporating them into every aspect of an organization’s culture, operations, and decision-making processes.
A Value Exchange Should Be the Glue That Holds an Organization Together
When physical proximity is no longer a given, an organization’s values and beliefs must work harder to keep employees connected, motivated and engaged. This is where defining a clear and mutually beneficial value exchange can have an outsized impact on an EVP’s effectiveness.
Simply put, a value exchange is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to a company.
It typically uses the following structure:
“If you, then we…”
For example, “If you go above and beyond to help us fulfil our mission, then we will reward you with additional financial incentives”.
The possibilities here are seemingly limitless and could be customized to suit the needs and values of a specific organization. The key idea to note is that a value exchange caters to all ages and demographics, because it recognizes the importance of values and purpose in their lives.
Simplification Is Paramount to a Successful EVP
To create a tailored and effective EVP, it’s crucial to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.
Companies should understand the importance of segmenting their workforce based on factors such as age, gender, geographical location and individual needs. This allows for a more personalized and targeted EVP that caters to the varying needs of employees, ultimately enhancing their engagement and commitment to the organization.
An ideal EVP development process involves both top-down and bottom-up approaches. While it is essential for the management and executive teams to have a clear vision and purpose, it’s equally important to engage with the workforce to understand their individual priorities and motivations. In a hybrid working environment, open communication is key to ensuring that the EVP resonates with employees and aligns with their values and expectations.
Moreover, as employee priorities shift towards seeking purpose-driven work, it’s crucial for businesses to ensure their EVPs reflect these changes. When employees perceive their organization’s purpose as meaningful and connected to their personal values, they are more likely to be engaged, committed and willing to put in discretionary effort.
The Real Magic Happens When You Make an EVP Live
Creating an EVP is just the first step in a larger process; the real magic happens when it is brought to life within the organization.
A well-crafted EVP may have a fantastic set of values and behaviors, but if it doesn’t resonate in the day-to-day interactions between employees and their employer, it will have little to no impact. This is particularly true in the era of hybrid working, where the traditional channels for sharing an organization’s culture may no longer be available.
To make an EVP live, it’s essential to develop an activation plan that works harder to reach employees, especially in a hybrid working environment. This activation plan should focus on how to communicate the EVP effectively, even when employees are not present in the office.
When this is done effectively, an EVP can permeate the organization, filling the gaps left by the absence of physical interactions and creating a shared understanding of the company’s values and goals.
To create a successful EVP, organizations must not only pressure test their current value sets but also identify and remove any “benign squatters” – values that sound nice but don’t truly reflect the company’s unique culture. By doing so, organizations can create an EVP that truly resonates with employees and helps them feel connected to their employer, even in a hybrid working environment.
It’s Time for EVPs to Go to Work
As the world of work continues to evolve, organizations must adapt to meet the changing needs and priorities of employees. A successful EVP must not only be authentic and well-crafted, but it must also be brought to life within the organization, actively permeating every aspect of its culture and operations.
By simplifying and clarifying the company’s values and fostering a strong value exchange, organizations can create a powerful and meaningful EVP that resonates with employees in the era of hybrid working.
It’s time for organizations to put their EVPs to work. Doing so will unlock new possibilities to attract and retain top talent, drive employee engagement and achieve long-term success in a dynamic and changing world.