At a time when the advent of automation and artificial intelligence has led to heightened competition, corporates are struggling to retain their best talent amidst uncertainties surrounding the job market. Promoting workplace happiness and keeping employees motivated and engaged is the key, not only to sustain employee productivity and achieve organisational success, but also to attract prospective employees. Engaging employees through awards and recognition, and by tailoring an effective employee value proposition (EVP), can help develop workplace happiness and motivate employees in a dynamic work environment.
EVP is the complete offering a company makes to its prospective and current employees in return for their best efforts, and assures them of stability, transparency and engagement at every stage.
EVP goes beyond pay and benefits, and looks at all non-financial aspects that attract, retain and motivate employees and the reasons former employees would speak well of the company. EVP considers how the company is perceived before, during and after employment, and is in sync with the company’s goals, strategy and culture, which results in happy employees.
An effective EVP framework tailored to suit a particular organisation or a set segment of talent will efficiently deal with the major challenges facing corporates in the dynamic world—automation, re-skilling, employee morale and performance anxiety, including fear. An effective EVP strategy has two main advantages over traditional employee engagement tools—it takes a broader 360-degree view of the relationship, beginning well before a new hire comes on-board, and goes all the way through to his or her time as a former employee and carry forward the relationship between the company and the employee through alumni programme, etc. Companies also benefit by building a strategy around off-boarding on the lines of existing strategy for on-boarding (considered to be the second-most important HR practice), as these ex-employees can become one of the strongest brand ambassadors and be instrumental in lead generation.
Developing an effective EVP has at its core the question: “What will attract the best talent, motivate them to give their best at work, and choose to stay with a company?”
We consider this at five different life-cycle stages for an employee. It starts with what we call ‘decision day,’ which is the point at which an employee has been given the offer letter and he/she has decided to join the organisation. This is the start of the relationship with the employee and engagement has to begin at this point. The next stage we focus on is the ‘first day,’ when the employee joins the organisation. This is a critical stage as the employee experiences the organisation for the first time, in person. The next stage, which is the majority of the life-cycle, is what we term as ‘every day’. Here we consider how organisations are engaging their employees every day across recognition and engagement touch-points. Then comes ‘achievement day,’ where we consider how an organisation is celebrating with the employee achieving company and personal milestones. Finally the last stage, which most organisations don’t focus on but is critical, is what we call ‘referral day,’ which is when the employee has left the organisation—exit interview, on-going engagement post-resignation, how are we keeping him/her loyal to the brand and leveraging his/her loyalty.
Implementing the recognition strategy early and exploring all available opportunities for awards and recognitions—service anniversary, result-based recognition, sales and performance incentives, 360-degree communications, regular meetings, events, and individual and/or group travel—are some of the approaches that an organisation can adopt. Peer-to-peer recognition has maximum impact on employees and reinforces corporate core values. All these factors hold the key to developing an EVP strategy that delivers maximum benefit for the employee as well as the company.
By putting the onus of providing attentive and supportive managers, work-life balance, teamwork, a promising future and other reasonable requirements for a good job on the company, EVP helps in creating ‘engaged’ employees. And by focusing on the three-pronged approach to building a happier workplace—recognise, celebrate and engage—corporates can promote a culture of recognition, create a happier workplace, and ensure loyalty and commitment.
When the leadership commits to work towards the ultimate EVP—‘happiness’—it stands to gain from the positive engagement of happier workers, like attracting and retaining key talent, creating a strong people brand and reinvigorating disenchanted workers. A well-formed EVP strategy is a win-win—employers can count on a highly motivated, committed employee willing to go the extra mile, and employees enjoy the experience of a meaningful and fulfilling job.
The author, Siddharth Reddy is MD, BI Worldwide India, the engagement solutions company