Why an Employer Value Proposition is essential to attract and retain new-world workers

Job security remains the number one reason people of all ages and levels of employment across all industries stay at their company. This is according to the 2019 Global Talent Trends Report recently released by Mecer.

But we know that it’s more than just the paycheque that keeps talent loyal to an organisation. Our parent’s parents wanted a secure job that they could go to every day for 40 years, and eventually retire with a nice gold watch and a good pension plan. Our parents and those of us who’ve been employed for more than a decade or so were attracted to cool chill rooms with beanbags and ping-pong tables and fuzzball and Friday drinks. We were happy with a good paycheque and an annual bonus. But today, it takes a lot more than simply some free stuff and a bit of free time at work to attract and retain the best possible people to your business.

Today, workers are looking at a company’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP) – the things the workplace offers beyond the salary – when choosing where to work. And the more appealing the EVP, the more likely workers are to be productive and profitable for the organisations that pay them.

Flexible work hours, unlimited leave and a less stringent workplace dress code all go some way to attracting and retaining workers but the world of work is changing. Fast. The workplace is becoming a brand of its own and workers more interested in how and where work is conducted, as opposed to what work is actually done there. So companies need to be clear, transparent and consistent in their EVP, which is no different to a brand proposition, in order to build brand resonance with potential workers and remain competitive in the global hiring space.

Digital disruption and the emergence of a digitally native workforce are both contributors to this, but what does this actually mean for the employer/worker contract?

In the same Mecer report, 54% of employees said that flexible work schedule, and therefore enhanced work/life balance, was important to them – up from 40% last year and 26% in 2017. In addition, 82% of respondents said that they were willing to freelance in order to achieve this.

So if digital disruption is the cause of these workplace changes, so too is it the solution. Flexible workspaces, virtual teams and remote working are a reality in the new world of work and should be embraced by employers as part of their EVP for attraction and retention.

The social contract between employers and workers must change. According to Deloitte, alternative workers are growing in number; currently, 35% of the US workforce is in supplemental, temporary, project, or contract-based work and the freelance workforce is growing faster than the total workforce, up 8.1% compared to 2.6% of all employees.

Gen Z’ers are about to enter the workforce en masse. They’re a larger group than Gen X’ers and need and want something completely different from the generations before them. For them, a good day-to-day work experience is vital. They’re looking for an EVP that offers the ability to learn and travel and teach while on the job. And the work they do has to have a purpose; something more than just a cog in a wheel, Gen Z wants their work to be meaningful. These are the elements of recognition for their efforts and count as much toward their loyalty as a regular paycheque. According to a survey by APPrise Mobile, this group of workers is not as savvy at social interaction due to their digital abilities. They exist in a digital world and their work must be there too.

Winning the hearts and minds of new workers requires an environment that allows them to thrive. An environment curated to their needs. The good news is that they’re pretty good at telling you what it is they need; from work/life balance to a fun environment, to what recognition looks like and even what meaning they require from the work they do. If your EVP meets their needs, then you’ll have a loyal and productive worker. If it doesn’t, consider what it is that your world of work offers and what’s really required to attract the kind of people you want supporting your endeavours.

Andrew Robinson is the Co-founder and Executive Director of SiSebenza.

Read Previous

The Future of Work – Engaging our human being, not the human doing

Read Next

‘Activist Employees’ – holding business to account in the search for values