The boss-employee equation has undergone a radical shift as workplaces adjust to an empowered employee who is clear about their needs. A great workplace transition is afoot as employees redefine their values, and re-prioritize work, loyalty, balance, and wellbeing among others. Business leaders, hiring managers, and human resources teams are all huddling to make sense of these shifting sands, which were further compounded by the uncertainty brought on by the Covid pandemic.  

Michael Page conducted a global study of nearly 70,000 professionals to make sense of these high-priority employee values along with the changing employee sentiment, post-pandemic. Titled The Invisible Revolution, the Talent Trends report arms businesses with nuanced, must-have insights to better attract and retain top talent.  

A shining jewel of an insight that emerged from the study is the employee value proposition (EVP), known as the employee experiences a company crafts for its workers. A company’s EVP goes beyond salary and benefits and aims to include elements such as career progression, flexibility, and workplace culture.  

Michael Page invited industry experts to weigh in on the concept of EVP and what it means to employers and employees in today’s landscape. The LinkedIn Live event, led by Kurt Jeskulski, Managing Director of Page Group, North America, with Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer and Job Landing Consultant at Chameleon Resumes, and Aadesh Gandhre, Chief Audit Executive at DTCC (Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation) was an insightful conversation about the latest workplace trends and how employers can tackle employee turnover in an increasingly volatile job market. Here, we give you a snapshot of what the experts discussed.  

New values at the workplace 

Kurt Jeskulski: One of the standout insights from our Talent Trends report is that employee loyalty is now an exception rather than the norm of workers spending a huge part of their career with one company. Loyalty is increasingly a thing of the past for both employees and employers, reflected by the contracts that are entered to by both parties ‘at will.’  

In our first event on this report, we explored ‘How to engage America’s transformed workforce.’ The fact is, employees are less attached to their jobs and instead, get fulfillment from multiple other parts of their life. What are you noticing in the changing employee values today?   

Lisa Rangel: I am noticing the trend of progressive companies meeting employees where they are. Gone are the days of loyalty. They have been gone for the last five years, at least, now. What is working is for companies to meet employees where they are while accepting that they have lives outside the workplace and they have goals that may or may not align with the company’s goals. When employers start to see the employee as a whole person and not just as a resource producing for them at work, employers can start to earn that loyalty back because they are recognizing the employee for who he/she is.  

Aadesh Gandhre: Every company has an EVP, whether they recognize it and call it out or not. What it [eventually] boils down to is whether the employers are treating employees as people and not just as resources to get work done. If employers can offer the three Rs – Respect, Reward, and Recognition – it can form the heart of the EVP and go a long way in attracting and retaining talent.  

Thought Starter: What is your process to identify if the candidate’s goals align with the company’s goals? What are you doing to meet employees where they are? 

Why EVP should be on every employer’s mind  

KJ: Our report revealed 9 in 10 workers who started a new job in the last year are already open to new opportunities. And with 41% staying with their employer for less than two years, it begs the question - has employee loyalty lost its lustre?  

AG: We are in the era of the after-effects from the shock of the Great Resignation. It’s practical to expect people are going to find other opportunities and move on. It is more important that your employees get the maximum value out of the time spent with you, however long or short that may be. When they leave, it should be with pride that they worked in this firm where they excelled. One of the big factors in retaining people is to give them a sense of belonging. Once employees feel they truly belong, they identify with the organization and feel responsible for playing a larger role. It then becomes easier to retain employees.  

LR: If you operate your business assuming that people will leave, it can work to your advantage. It is going to happen anyway. Progressive companies are accepting this truth. Employers have a choice to facilitate the change positively instead of fighting it. Businesses must know that employees’ goals don’t always align with the company’s goals. It is best to own the fact that people leave and accept it gracefully. Sometimes, employees boomerang back to the organization. In such cases, you are getting back that knowledge and some additional knowledge from other organizations via the employees. Be open to this.  

Thought Starter: Assume that employees will leave one day. Now, how differently would you approach your EVP? 

Diversity, kindness, authenticity, and empathy 

KJ: How are values like authenticity, kindness, and empathy important and relevant to shaping the culture and EVP of an organization?  

LR: Workplace culture should be about more than the ‘fun’ things like kombucha on the house and foosball tables that an organization can offer its employees. Culture is about the tangible benefits an employer can bring to a worker’s lifestyle and health. It’s about giving employees the room to be their authentic selves and helping them fulfill their dreams while overcoming challenges both within and outside the workplace. If you want to promote people in an organization and retain them for ongoing career development, then address the fact that half the people you employ value promotion and how it affects their lives outside of work.  

AG: If your business is not authentic, at some point, it will catch up with you. You can only fake it up to a point. People are smart enough to know what is real and what is fake. Being your authentic self is important across all levels of work. I have also experienced the growing importance of diversity to business success. A business that fosters diversity and different viewpoints has several advantages. We often hear that culture eats strategy for breakfast. If you don’t establish a culture that people enjoy, you cannot work on achieving your company’s goals.  

LR: Empathy is another superpower. Maybe 25 years ago, ruling with an iron fist made you seem like a strong leader. Not today. Leadership is as much about how much money you made and saved for the company, and the culture you fostered, but is also equally about how you attracted and retained top talent. It is about whether you were compassionate during a layoff. How are you making your team feel safe, mentally and physically?  

AG: Soon, we will see Gen Z taking over, making up 50% or more of the workforce. There is a lot of research on what motivates one generation versus another. The challenge for leaders has been, and always will be, to find the right balance while managing the different generations.  

Thought Starter: Do you foster the spirit of diversity in your company? How? 

EVP and internal mobility 

KJ: What are your views on internal mobility in the context of EVP?  

AG: I would rather keep people inside the firm rather than lose them. Focusing on internal mobility helps you breed talent across teams within the organization.  For example, we train our auditors in risk management principles. When they go into the first line or the second line, they carry the risk management rigor forward. It carries a contagious effect. Internal mobility solidifies the risk management framework for the firm. It also shows that you are willing to be a sponsor and advocate for an employee to get the job within the company. Upskilling and the support to upskilling are key in nurturing talent. It is important to provide clarity to employees.  

KJ: You hire ambitious, smart people. Sometimes, their patience doesn’t align with the growth timeframes you share with them. You want a great future for them but they want it all right now. Where does EVP connect here?  

LR: That’s where career development and teaching people about career growth matters. You don’t want to discourage their desire to do better. Train them in executive leadership, public speaking or business writing, giving them concrete skills toward leadership. Show them that you are interested in their growth. Be proactive in their growth. That is when they are likely to stay the course. Unfortunately, what happens a lot is that leaders tell us we are not ready yet without telling us what we need to do to be ready. That’s when employees get flustered, feel unheard, and go elsewhere.  

Thought Starter: Do you think about your employees’ career progression and help them climb the ladder? How do you invest in your employee’s career growth? 

Honesty in building a trustworthy relationship 

KJ: What are ways in which managers and employees can build a trustful relationship? 

AG: Honesty starts with the company putting a realistic picture about the company out into the world, demonstrating what it offers candidates. This starts with the social media pages. The challenge is that companies have a social presence across platforms throughout the year but don’t update them to match reality. The second is what is promised in job adverts. We must consider if what we offer in terms of job responsibilities, benefits, and perks matches reality.

Thirdly, if you don’t consider employee feedback, you will miss the boat. Conduct periodic employee engagement surveys to gauge where you are trending. Are employees likely to recommend your company to friends and family? Or are they hanging in there until the next opportunity arises? That feedback matters. Earning support from employee resource groups (ERGs) is also a big deal. 

LR: For candidates, one way to gauge the job’s ‘fitness’ for your interest is to ask your interviewer to list the top 3-4 tasks that you would spend most of your time on. It helps the candidate determine if the job is what it says. Titles can be inflated or deflated. Everything is semantics, which can be compounded by a laundry list of unrealistic job descriptions. Whittle it down to the most important tasks and a candidate will know if he/she would be happy in the role.  

The world of work is no longer about the subordinate-boss dynamic. Managers often ask about employees: Do they work for us or do we work for them? The world has changed in that regard and we work for our employees more than ever. EVP becomes that much more critical in this changing world. 

Thought Starter: How honest are you with potential candidates about your EVP? 

Watch the full conversation for many more insights on EVP and the world of talent management.  

You can also ‘watch our events on demand’ on our webinar and events page. Start with our first LinkedIn event: The 3 keys to engaging America's transformed workforce.  

Also, check out our 2023 Salary Guide Hub to get the latest salary benchmarks. 

Download our Talent Trends: The Invisible Revolution report to learn more about the culture shift in the workforce.  

Talent Trends 2024: Understanding workplace expectations

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