How to create a human-centered employee value proposition

You know what’s more effective than having an employee value proposition? The value proposition of a human-centered employee.

Don’t know what that is? To worry about.

Read this article to learn what it is and why having one is more beneficial for your employees and your business in general.

Here’s what we cover.

What is the employee value proposition?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) defines an employee value proposition (EVP) as a set of attributes, often intangible, that make an organization distinctive, promise a particular work experience and attract people who will thrive in its culture.

Traditional EVPs have helped codify what makes your company different and special to work for.

But they still tend to treat employees simply as workers with productivity targets, rather than as well-rounded individuals.

Helen Thomas, Director of HR at The HR Dept. “The traditional model aligns a company to industry norms using salary packages, benefits, career progression, staff turnover and other ‘hard quantitative’ metrics.”

How the human-centered employee value proposition differs from traditional EVP

People-centered employee value propositions go one step further than their traditional EVP counterparts.

The goal of the human version is to treat employees as well-rounded people, not just employees.

Advanced companies that implement them see increases in recruitment, retention and productivity.

In fact, providing an effective EVP can reduce annual employee turnover by 69% and increase new hire commitments by nearly 30%, according to Gartner research.

“Treating people like people” seems obvious, but many companies still have a lot of work to do in this area.

Focusing on people-centered politics

CIPD research shows the significant impact of emotional well-being on employee engagement and productivity. However, few companies have a complete EVP that clearly aligns the needs of their business with the needs of their employees.

Philip Richardson, head of employment law and partner at law firm Stephensons, says: “In the post-pandemic workplace, SMEs have a much greater emphasis on developing the value proposition of their employees.

“In the struggle to retain skilled staff, revisiting the EVP or introducing a new one that reflects today’s world of work is more important than ever and should be at the heart of any HR strategy.

“One of the most notable changes is the HR departments, which are focused on more people-centric policies.”

Helen Thomas says: “The increased interest in employee engagement combined with high turnover has created a powerful move towards treating employees as people and considering what they want, not what their employer thinks they want.

“It also promotes the proposition of aligning employees with the company’s values ​​and sentiments, rather than the mission statement or company goals.”

Mark Rowley first published Lead From The Heart in 2011, but the latest version has become a bestseller.

“In that time, our consciousness has changed because the people we lead have changed,” he says. “The pandemic has forced people to reevaluate what they want from their lives, their careers and their leaders. But many businesses still resist it.”

Mark says he prefers the word “human” to anthropocentric because it “represents our best human instincts.”

He adds: “It subverts the traditional thinking about leadership, which is that you pay people as little as possible and squeeze them to drive productivity. It worked when people needed work and put up with anything.

“But then the millennials said, ‘I don’t want that.’ And the new generations say indeed I don’t want that and I’m not going to stay there.” They are repulsed by it.”

People still leave their jobs in high numbers until they find what they want. A lot of it is about the emotions of how the work makes them feel, rather than the financial reward.

Mark’s research shows that for at least the past decade, most people have not valued compensation as a performance motivator. It ranks fifth in importance.

Instead, they want to learn, grow, and feel like they’re contributing to something meaningful.

And they want both physical and psychological safety so they can be themselves and not turn on each other.

Having and implementing a Human EVP can help you provide what your employees need to thrive.

Ready to create a human-centered employee value proposition?

To develop a human-centered employee value proposition, do the following:

  • Get a fresh look at the way your team works
  • See where and how work is done
  • Invest or align values ​​to create a more empathetic relationship with your employees.

In addition, you should consider the following four points:

1. Empathy is important

Areas such as personal growth, flexibility in working patterns or location, physical and mental well-being and inclusion will often be emphasized.

Philip says: “Empathy is the most important factor with EVP. It is very important that employees feel heard and understood.”

Helen says the missing element in traditional EVP is “feeling”; why employees are attracted to the company, remain loyal and focus on bringing more to their work.

The human-centered model aims to make employees feel more understood, autonomous, invested and valued, he says.

Mark says that a lack of empathy often stems from mistrust, and managers believe that employees would benefit from a caring boss. Businesses consistently show that they don’t trust their employees by micromanaging them. But it makes workers shut down and not want to work much or at all, he says.

“But really, the more you care about people, making them feel supported, valued and integrated, the better they will perform,” Mark adds. “It also makes sure people feel like you’re not going to fire them the minute you go down.

“It sends a message that you’re expendable, and they won’t be as committed.”

He gives the example of a software company that closes its doors at 5.30pm every day to encourage employees to go home and have a better work-life balance. Employees were also told that none of them would be laid off during the Great Financial Crisis.

“This company has been in business for over 40 years with repeated record revenues because it attracts the best people and has low staff turnover,” says Mark.

2. Remember to be authentic and avoid fear tactics

Human EVPs also need to be authentic, he adds.

He points out that you can’t say “we need to create a better environment for people” and then always check on them and interrupt their personal time. It doesn’t care about their well-being. Get away from fear.

“Managers who underperform, rather than bringing people together and inspiring them, tend to use fear and say, ‘Something bad will happen if you don’t meet your goals,'” says Mark.

“It’s destructive because it causes stress.

“Instead, keep your cool and remind people of the importance of purpose. Find ways to help them achieve this and remove obstacles.

“This is mature leadership and separates the good managers from the ones people don’t want to work for.”

3. Consider who is in leadership roles

One thing you need to do as you create a human-centered employee value proposition is reevaluate who you put in management roles.

Managers must be able to focus on performance and business goals while valuing, caring for, and supporting the people doing the work.

To achieve this, make sure that candidates for leadership positions answer questions about this right away during recruitment. Their answers should clearly show that they care about other people’s overall success, growth, and well-being.

“Many people think about their goals, such as pay, recognition and career growth,” says Mark. “They are not inclined to make other people successful. We put these people in charge and they compete with those they should be in charge of.

“The best managers care about the whole person, not just their immediate work. They want them to feel appreciated and succeed in life.

“We should delete the word ‘manager’ and call them ‘coaches’.”

4. Make sure leaders are on board

Building a human-centered EVP also requires cultural change and alignment from the top.

Helen says: “To truly move your culture toward treating employees as individuals, you need the knowledge and skills to navigate the change process, however bumpy it may be.

“Getting all leaders involved and discussing what the changes might mean will be critical to gaining understanding and commitment.”

A change ambassador can help coordinate the new direction and maintain momentum. The process will also need parameters and targets aimed at creating deeper connections, radical resilience, personal growth, holistic well-being and shared purpose.

How HR technology can help you deliver the value proposition to your employees

Cloud HR software can help you deliver and track the performance of a human-centric employee value proposition in many ways.

It can be used to provide regular feedback on existing initiatives. It can help you capture and track metrics such as employee net promoter scores (eNPS) and pulse survey results, regular performance reviews and engagement surveys.

Such technology can also help you track business goals objectively, so there’s no need to micromanage.

Mark says this should allow your managers to track productivity in a “non-spy way”.

He adds: “For example, not to keep track of keystrokes and when you turn on the computer. Such spying on workers causes fear and mistrust.

Start by reviewing what information your HR software can provide and try combining it with other information from staff forums and feedback surveys. Then use this information to drive your human-centric EVP and take your employee engagement to the next level.

Why human employee value propositions are the future

Science shows that feelings and emotions drive human performance and motivate our behavior. Yet most of us continue to think that we are rational and that if we just appeal to reason, people will respond. It just doesn’t work that way in today’s workplace.

Businesses that resist this idea may have gotten away with it during the pre-Covid boom.

But since the pandemic, they have succumbed as employees have begun to feel increasingly disconnected from their jobs. In this new environment, you must embrace the value proposition of a human-centered employee, or your business may suffer.

Focusing on the whole life of an employee, rather than just the work experience, will help create a positive emotional response and increase your chances of retaining talent and optimizing your people and ultimately business performance.

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