The pandemic has caused unprecedented upheaval across all spheres of human life. Personal loss, isolation, and increased feelings of hopelessness toiled with physical and psychological wellbeing. It also brought with it a new layer to professional life; the introduction of work-from-home with increased job losses, business closure, technology driven interactions and blurred boundaries between work and life. Organisations’ have had to adjust and re-adjust their lens on operating models, manpower planning, resource allocation, IT infrastructure and employee satisfaction to accommodate new age challenges and develop a more humanistic employee value proposition to attract and retain top talent.
Employee value proposition (EVP) is defined as the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, attributes, and experience they bring to a company. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development characterises the proposition as what an organisation stands for, requires, and offers as an employer. Traditional EVPs have been developed around functionalities that matched what employees needed. The focus had been on what was given to the employees rather than the “why”. The EVP was designed to encapsulate a transactional relationship between employers and employees, a one-size fits all with limited scope for accommodating individual differences. It covered competitive pay, challenging and meaningful work, career opportunities and effective work life balance benefits.
However, as we acquaint ourselves with the new normal of hybrid working and grapple with the ‘great resignation’, it is imperative for organisations to revisit their employee value proposition to build and nurture a culture of support and care. Employers must drive a sense of purpose amongst their employers. Purpose motivates employees to bring their whole self to work, to push their limits and deliver to exceed expectations. If employees perceive an alignment with their purpose and the organisation’s purpose, the horizon of benefits expand to employee engagement, heightened loyalty, and more referrals.
As employees open their homes to become work desks; work is no longer a separate entity rather a subset of life. EVPs in 2022, should be developed around providing flexibility and autonomy to employees and cultivating a culture of trust. Employees today demand flexibility to be tailored and personalised to specific needs such as work-life balance, care taking, physical and emotional distresses. Modern flexibility encompasses where work can be done, when can it be done and how. Employees no longer enjoy constant monitoring by managers or tracking algorithms through various technology partners. To promote psychological safety in the workplace, organisations must build a foundation of trust focused on outcomes rather than hours.
The traditional EVP highlighted the relationship between an employee and employer as a mere transaction. However, today the relationship is emotional. Employees crave the need to be felt, understood, invested in, cared for, and valued. Managers should spend time in developing deep and profound connections with their employees, supported by an empathic outlook on personal and situation factors. Employers need to prioritise holistic wellbeing capturing physical, social, and psychological comfort. Rather than viewing wellbeing as a hazy concept, it should be embraced as measurable outcome, an index of learnable actions that can developed through facets such as exercise, positive relationships, and a sense of purpose.
The revised EVP should be designed to deliver an emotional employee experience, catering to individual needs that shape employees for who they are. This can be done by focusing on purpose, tailored flexibility, and emotional relationships with competitive pay, learning opportunities and career growth becoming hygiene factors.