As businesses transform and evolve to be future-ready, they need to listen to what their people value and revisit their employee value propositions.
The employee experience, as we knew it two years back, has perhaps been permanently altered. If anything, the Covid-19 days of work have been traumatic for many. Gartner’s study on how the pandemic has changed the employees’ perspectives about work and life indicates the pressing need to change the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The study reported that people strongly agree with a shift in attitude towards the value of aspects outside of work.
People have shifted the importance given to a professional career and the place it should have in their life, long for more significant changes, and are questioning the purpose of their day-to-day job while changing their overall expectations towards their employer.
A big question CHROs must ask themselves is: “Is your EVP still relevant for the people of the post-pandemic era?” An enhanced sense of self-worth has emerged as most of us spent the past two years six feet apart, virtually, and almost isolated.
Here’s what people seek beyond a good paycheque and what is beginning to matter more:
Sense of purpose: Many employees have prioritized the impact of their work, valuing their professional outcomes even more. They seek a greater sense of purpose in their profession and want to contribute positively to the greater good. More individuals seek a role/organization that helps them achieve their calling in life, even if they are low paying.
Sense of belonging: It is how comfortable and accepted the employee feels being their authentic self at their workplace. Employees seek deeper connections with their superiors and co-workers and contribute meaningfully to the larger organization’s goals. Directly impacting employees looking forward to resuming physical work and having longer stints with the organization, it is one of the top three factors essential for employee engagement. and delivering positive experiences. Empathy and compassion must be incorporated even more when organizations work on this expectation.
Valued by Manager and Organization: Employees seek beyond rewards and recognition to feel valued and that they matter to the organization. They want to be heard more for their ideas and perspectives, contribute more significantly to critical decisions, and provide feedback regularly to improve their workplace and the organization.
Potential for career advancement: Career advancements and the opportunities to upskill/reskill have become more common in job offer conversations with prospective candidates. The pandemic has stalled career advancement for many, with several experiencing layoffs. People want a clearer picture of their career path and how they would be scaling their growth.
Flexible work schedule: Meaningful Work arrangements have become a worldwide norm with employees seeking greater flexibility in their work. Hybrid work models where employees can choose to work 2/3 days in the office and work from home on other days are much welcomed. The fact that business can function as usual even through remote work has people seeking greater flexibility at the workplace to achieve greater work-life balance. With gig workers and project-based With gig workers and project-based contracts also gaining popularity, it would be best for organizations to build such flexibility into their ecosystem.
Care for the family: Enforced work from home during the pandemic and the health challenges accelerated by the deadly virus have increased the personal responsibilities of several people. Some have had to become primary caregivers whilst working from home. Organizations need to support employees who may need to continue caring for the kith and kin while helping them sustain their work.
Holistic wellbeing: A predicament of this enormity which has been nothing short of a traumatic experience, will have its long-term ill effects. Getting back to the physical workplace will require some handholding for many and is mentally challenging as well. Wellness experts have become common in leading MNCs with prospective and existing candidates wanting some form of programme for their wellbeing covering physical, mental, and emotional aspects.
Stability and security: Even though an uncertain future is what is certain, employees seek guidance and support on the way forward in the near term. They need a greater sense of security in their job despite the rapid adaption of technology and digitization. In an age driven by digital transformation, automation, and AI, the fear of becoming redundant and eventually being laid off exists. Organizations that confidently talk about their futuristic plans while providing a sense of stability and security to individuals are the ones that will be able to attract and retain the best talent.
More diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace: According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), “An equal, diverse and inclusive workplace is a key driver of resilience and recovery.” Their studies indicate that the aspects of diversity, equality, and inclusion were felt to be present in the organization primarily at the senior levels, have for a long time been more of a privileged experience, and were not easily available for the entry/junior employees. Situations have changed with the pandemic, with uniform DEI being sought more by employees and organizations equally ramping up their efforts to bridge the rather glaring gap across quarters. Special efforts need to be taken to ensure that DEI is weaved into every aspect of the organization across cultures, value systems, policies, legislative frameworks, and processes.
A friendly work environment: The pandemic has impacted our lives profoundly, and people and people are still learning to deal with the alterations. Long-haul Covid is no myth and stepping out from an almost isolated way of living can make this even more difficult. New-age employees seek teams and work environments that are empathetic, compassionate, and kind, essential as they readjust to physical work modes. People seek genuine conversations and connections in a work environment where they feel safe. There needs to be a culture of adventure where people are encouraged to innovate passionately sans fear of failure. It is an essential EVP, necessary to retain talent and attract new candidates as businesses step into a mode of recovery to thrive.
With uncertainty being the new norm and agility and future readiness becoming must-haves, there is a greater need to put back the human in workforce management. Revisiting the EVPs is necessary to balance the business needs and new-age employees. It may even be essential to customize experiences for individuals to support and help meet their professional and personal aspirations. The expectations of employees from their leaders and organizations have, no doubt, evolved by leaps and bounds. Those who do not shed the old policies and ways of people management are bound to lose. Even more critical is to understand the values that employees seek and transform into a more employee-centric organization to succeed as a business and be future-ready.
Originally Published on ET HR World