Let’s start with a core truth that we all can agree on. All of us want to become more.
The idea of an Employee Value Proposition is built on this simple truth. Magic happens when you convert this truth to an actionable formula.
The elements of the formula
The first step is to recognize that an Employee Value Proposition is an experience, not a product.
How can we build an experience that delivers ‘more?’ Fortunately, the need states that constitute ‘more’ are easy to identify. In general, they apply to all of us.
All of us:
- Need more MONEY to improve our economic security, freedom and lifestyle.
- Need WORK that is more interesting, challenging and makes us more valuable in the market.
- Need more social recognition, normally delivered through the BRAND of our company.
- Need more TRUST and COMPASSION in our relationships at work.
- Need more opportunities to be HEALTHY.
Identifying these needed states is like identifying the variables in our formula.
Assigning values to each variable and establishing the relationship between them helps build the formula.
For a person who is about to join a company, the play is mainly among MONEY, WORK and BRAND.
Great WORK and great BRAND are not good enough to attract talent if MONEY is not sufficiently more.
More MONEY can compensate for less BRAND as long as the quality of WORK improves. People may trade BRAND for MONEY, but not for WORK.
Better WORK can compensate for less BRAND as long as MONEY is more. People may trade BRAND for WORK, but not the other way around.
In short, to attract great talent build an Employee Value Proposition that is centered around great work. Great work attracts the best talent for the money you can afford. In addition, if you have a good brand, the probability of this happening goes up.
At this stage, it is important to clarify that there is really no difference between a corporate brand and an employer brand. Most efforts directed at building an ‘employer brand’ are a waste. The ‘employer brand’ is indistinguishable from the corporate brand. Try and think of a company that has a great employer brand but not a great corporate brand. Or the other way round. It is hard to find any examples. In this article, the word ‘brand’ is equal to the corporate brand.
When you shift from ‘join’ to ‘stay,’ the formula starts pivoting to a different set of need states. WORK, BRAND and MONEY still matter. Their inter-relationship too does not change. However, other states gain primacy.
TRUST and COMPASSION begin to play an important role in the ‘stay’ value proposition.
People stay at companies when they can trust their boss, peers and the leadership of the company. Being trusted is as important as trusting.
Being trusted is not just about relationships. Internal processes and technology also communicate if the employee is trusted or controlled.
People are likely to trade all other variables for TRUST. Lower MONEY, smaller BRAND and hardest of them all, even lower quality of WORK.
An environment of distrust negates all need states that are part of an Employee Value Proposition.
COMPASSION as a needed state is a recent and more modern phenomenon. The pandemic may have been responsible for this phenomenon.
The corporate community, grown up on the alpha diet of hard, relentless driving of people, is still learning the power of COMPASSION. Compassion retains extraordinary people and produces extraordinary results. It is not a ‘give.’ Companies that get this will build a remarkable employee value proposition.
TRUST is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for COMPASSION. Employee expectations on TRUST are clear. On COMPASSION, the expectations are fast taking shape.
For a healthy life, it is important that your job does not take over your entire life. People apply this test on the nature of their employment, more than ever before. A healthy life is not a component, but an outcome of an attractive employee value proposition.
In conclusion, it is a simple algorithm.
Build your Employee Value Proposition around WORK and TRUST. And don’t expect a discount in MONEY.