June 16, 2017
It’s been said that nothing can be certain except death and taxes. But for the last decade or so, when looking at the global business environment, change appears to be yet another reliable constant. The pace of innovation continues to increase, the need for new jobs is growing, and companies are experiencing higher demands for transparency, roll up acquisitions and leadership changes. Ironically, change – big or small – has become “business as usual.”
Organizations remain focused on how to manage through these changes. But in this unusual “business as usual” environment, how can a company attract and retain top talent? Further complicating this question is the evolution of expectations among employees, due in large part to the influx of millennials in the workplace. Today, we hear anecdotal feedback such as “I don’t just want a job or even a career, I want an experience;” “I want to be inspired at work every day;” and “as an employee, I wanted to be treated how our customers are treated.”
Changing expectations require new realities. The companies that will emerge as the winners in this change game will be those that tackle new realities by differentiating themselves – a combination best solved through a well-defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
Organizations with an effectively managed EVP can increase the available talent pool and better assess candidate fit, as well as enhance commitment and improve the performance of current employees. When true engagement is realized, employees will serve as champions of the company’s interests, effectively helping to solidify, identify and build its reputation.
But in order to exceed stakeholder expectations and craft an EVP that is relevant and sustainable, your company must first understand the desires of today’s talent. In 2016, FTI Consulting conducted a global survey of 4,063 millennials across the U.S., U.K., Germany and China. Based on these survey results from high-achieving millennials (the top-talent within our demographic) and qualitative data from recent EVP client engagements, we have identified the following trends among the leaders of tomorrow:
The survey found that six in 10 participants reported a greater desire to work more flexibly. Often, this means working remotely or having more flexible work hours in the spirit of achieving a greater work-life-balance. However, they also desire job security – particularly amidst all of this change. From our experience, companies seem to overlook the effect uncertainty has on their people. The desire for job security may be driven by a fear of job loss, financial concerns, or simply the fact that employees are happy where they are and want to maintain stability or build long-term careers at their organization. As a result, companies are finding that authentically nurturing a sense of job security while also developing the right job flexibility policies are invaluable in eliciting productivity and attracting and retaining top talent.
Office space design, the ways in which it supports employee wellness and wellbeing, and how it enables collaboration, teamwork and productivity are increasingly examined by both new hires and existing talent. They consider floor plan layouts (e.g., open-space plans), technologies to connect with global colleagues, hoteling options and standing desks, to name a few. The companies that are optimizing these environments in ways that provide compelling experiences are already emerging as top talent attractors. According to the millennials survey, one factor that frustrates high-achieving millennials and causes disloyalty is a poor communications environment. In addition to physical surroundings, employers must consider how their workspace enables communication and management. The expectations of managers to be more accessible are stronger than ever. Employees desire face-to-face encounters and the confidence that managers are receptive to their concerns. Poorly managed or governed organizations are no longer tolerated.
Based on the millennials survey, three out of the four leading factors that define responsibility for high-achieving millennials include:
1) the desire to take on more responsibility, particularly through people management,
2) recognition of responsibility through a job title, and
3) more engagement in business decision-making.
One of the challenges we hear from organizations when discussing EVP is that it’s easy to capture what employees will gain for working there, but more difficult to articulate what is expected of them in return. The fact that there is a desire among employees to grow their responsibility is a great way to prompt this conversation. By instilling relevant responsibilities within a culture of ownership among leaders and a concerted reward and recognition philosophy, companies can foster a greater sense of autonomy and empowerment among its people.
We’ve also validated the EVP attributes that consistently prove significant for both attraction and retention. Mainstays have and will continue to be the attributes that balance intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including merit-based pay, career advancement opportunities, job impact and challenging work.
FTI Consulting has developed a proven process to support companies in defining their unique EVP:
Our process and overall EVP philosophy is rooted in the belief that companies need to know their employees and understand what they want. Through in-depth discussions, facilitated focus groups and surveys, companies can learn what is important to employees from a retention and commitment standpoint. Additionally, they can better understand the market landscape and the ways in which top competitors are expressing their EVPs. Knowing which attributes are overly-claimed (and therefore no longer differentiated), in addition to articulating their own unique strengths and relevant attributes, can help companies identify the “whitespace” opportunities that exist in the market.
These strategies, along with a number of creative and compelling outputs, are critical to crafting your unique EVP – a tool for becoming an attractive organization – both inside and out – for the multi-generational employees of today and the talent of the future.