Millicent Clarke, Regional Head of HR, Africa, and Middle East, Standard Chartered
A workforce revolution has set in, one which business cannot ignore. While not too long ago, compensation and benefits were enough to attract and retain talent – this is no longer the case. The reality is, since the onset of the pandemic, businesses have had to rapidly adapt to the changing employer – employee dynamic, where employee expectations have irrevocably changed, with a greater need for work-life balance, flexibility, and a changing work culture, going beyond pay and benefits.
Trends such as ‘The ‘Great Resignation’ has evolved into the ‘Great Reshuffle’ or the ‘Great Reimagination’, and more recently, ‘Quiet Quitting’, which is unlikely to go away with 40% of workers considering quitting their current jobs in the next 3-to-6 months, as revealed by a recent global McKinsey study. While these trends were accelerated by the pandemic, it is a timely opportunity to ask how companies can take a step forward in this transition. In an age where experience (how you feel) is the new currency, often experience has largely only been looked at from a customer perspective, however if businesses are to adapt and remain competitive, ‘employee experience’ must be given the same priority.
As a function, Human Resources is now, more than ever before, actively engaged in overall business strategy. To move forward, companies need to re-evaluate their employee experience with a refreshed lens and design a new proposition that meets and communicates the businesses’ value to today’s diverse workforce. This is known as the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), a brand’s unique and compelling promise made to the employee, that surmises the total businesses value an employee receives in exchange for their investment, in terms of valuable skills, experience and time. Matching or exceeding people’s expectations and creating a compelling EVP plays a critical role in attracting and retaining talent, accelerating business performance, and creating an engaged workforce.
So, how can companies create a strong EVP? Start off by listening and gathering feedback from your employees on their current experience. While this may sound simple enough, unfortunately over 83% of employees feel they are not heard fairly or equally, while just under half (46%) believe under-represented voices are not effectively listened to. This is a stark reminder to senior leaders to focus on getting as many diverse viewpoints as possible on how far your organisation is going to create a work environment that feels rewarding, nurturing, and purposeful. Assess your employee’s priorities by asking them to rate different organisational and job characteristics which matter most to them, and which most characterise their employee experience. While surveys are useful in understanding your organisation’s cultural pulse, they often only reveal part of the story. The most telling information is usually beneath the surface. This is where workforce data analysis goes a long way, helping you identify trends and patterns, and gain a clearer understanding of those systemic issues that need to be addressed.
Validate your findings with internal and external testing and define those valued behaviours against your strategic objectives. All of this will help you understand what most attracts people to working at your company, and what keeps them there. These results will help form the narrative of your EVP and how this differentiates your organisation, if it is realistic and inspirational enough, and its ability to be broad enough to appeal to different groups. A refreshed employee value proposition becomes the foundation for prioritising your investments to create a great employee experience. Driving value proposition with a people focused strategy will empower employees to bring to life the company’s strategic priorities, bring an organisation closer to their aspired culture, and deliver a differentiated employee experience.
Most importantly, it must be used as a roadmap that is built around your customers. At Standard Chartered, our My Voice survey which we started in 2014 has evolved in similar fashion, where our findings help us at arrive at key insights that make us question: How can we inspire our employees more with interesting work that is impactful? How are we continuing to strive towards innovation and growing our commitment to the markets we operate in? How can we be more of a sustainable and ethical brand, in tandem with our purpose to be ‘Here for good’? Furthermore, with employees today feeling more burnt out and stressed than ever before, how are we offering unrivalled growth and career opportunities, strong leadership, an enriched work environment, fair rewards and better work-life balance? We believe our efforts in creating a more inclusive, equitable, and desirable workplace environment are headed in the right direction. We have recently been awarded the Great Place to Work Certification in Bahrain. More recently, in the United States, we were recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces for 2022 by Newsweek.
I’m confident that challenging the effectiveness of your EVP and communicating your EVP results consistently will truly create an inclusive workplace that maximises your diversity and empowers your workforce with the skills that are most needed for the future. Today, organisations are at a critical crossroad, as the war for attracting and retaining talent rages on. Re-evaluating if your current EVP is still relevant, may well be the defining question for business leaders in a post-pandemic world, and as companies increasingly invest in creating a refreshed employee experience, they take a crucial step towards future-proofing their business for the new shape of work.