We all recognize that experiences during and after covid have fundamentally affected not only employee experiences on the job, but also what employees look for in an employer. According to a 2022 study by ADP, seven out of every ten workers have contemplated a major career pivot this year – leaving leaders around the world struggling with “the great Re (-signation, -set, -negotiation, -think)” as well as its cousin “quiet quitting.”
Faced with these challenges, many leaders have embraced the temptingly simple solution of “ask them what they want and give it to them” – an approach that leads to a transactional race to the bottom while prioritizing sub-optimal solutions.
The reality is that these changing employee needs, alongside a highly competitive labor market and tightening economy, means leaders need a new approach to maintaining an engaged workforce while meeting strategic goals.
How to Resist a “Race to the Bottom” When Bidding for Talent
In a newly published Harvard Business Review piece “Rethink Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP),” INSEAD Professor Mark Mortensen and Harvard Business School Professor Amy C. Edmondson explain a better approach to satisfying employees that delivers improved hiring, retention, and engagement: the Integrated Employee Value Proposition (IEVP). This approach shifts leaders’ and workers’ focus from what they may want now, to what they need to build a thriving and sustainable future for the organization and themselves.
Both renowned and longtime management experts, Mortensen and Edmondson advise that leaders’ focus should be on establishing an IEVP that incorporates four interrelated factors that employees value – material offerings, opportunities to grow and develop, connection and community, and meaning and purpose.
“Approaching employee attraction and retention as a system helps avoid the race to the bottom, makes a company’s employee value proposition harder to imitate, and helps create a clear narrative that reduces us-versus‐them relationship between managers and their reports,” write the authors. “It will not only make it easier to attract and retain talent; it will also improve your company’s performance and sustain it over time.”
Once instituted, Mortensen and Edmondson have found that the savviest leaders – pointing to the successes of large companies like Best Buy and WD-40 – recognize how to collectively leverage the IEVP elements to achieve exponential results. The authors’ real-world case studies suggest that investing in purpose, culture, and training can support dramatically increased revenue and engagement.
Integrated EVP: A Crucial Tool for Competitive Advantage
In addition to conducting regular surveys and focus groups, Mortensen and Edmonson have developed a new tool, the Integrated EVP scan, to help employers assess their current offerings, analyze what employees need, and identify where there are opportunities to improve that alignment, while helping employees measure the work-related factors they value most. When used correctly, this data drives conversation and change to create an integrated employee value proposition that benefits both employers and employees.
Emphasizing that this is only the start of a larger research effort, Mortensen and Edmondson encourage individuals to engage the Integrated Employee Value Proposition tool to gain a better understanding of their own expectations and needs and how well they are being met, which can ultimately lead to a more invigorating and productive work experience.
The tightening economy, alongside a highly competitive labor market and changing employee needs, requires creative thinking to maintain an engaged workforce while meeting strategic goals in a cost-effective manner. Stern Strategy Group connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.