Employers Need To Give EVP a Long Overdue Makeover

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We’ve been operating with a legacy employee value proposition (EVP) that sees every employee as a resource.

Gartner feels that it is about time for companies to overhaul their EVP if they want to attract and retain talent. And one way to do this is to focus on the human aspect of human resources.  

Essentially, the research firm argues that employers must redesign their EVP to deliver employees a life experience — not just an employee experience — by focusing on the feelings and features that match their needs today.   

Flat EX is very telling

Part of the problem with the current EVP is that employee engagement remains flat even after companies invested resources to modernize it. Gartner's analysis showed that it is not just a problem during the pandemic; employee engagement has remained flat since 2016.

As a result, CHROs predict an exodus of employees after the pandemic. The Gartner 2021 EVP Benchmarking Survey of 77 HR leaders in January 2021 revealed only 23% of respondents believe most employees will continue working in their current organization after the pandemic ends.

The underwhelming EVP is the main culprit. Only 31% of HR leaders believe their current employees are satisfied with their EVP.

“Traditionally, organizations focus on employees as workers when they define their EVP,” says Carolina Valencia, vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “Instead, employers need to see their employees as people first and foremost. Our research shows that 82% of employees say it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee, yet only 45% of employees believe their organization actually sees them this way.”

In the research “Reinventing the Employee Value Proposition: The Human Deal,” Gartner advises employers to strengthen their EVP by delivering on the new human deal. It encompasses five attributes: deeper connections, radical flexibility, personal growth, holistic well-being, and shared purpose  

In fact, Gartner observes that the EVP increases by 15% when it encompasses the human deal.

3 ways to revamp EVPs

To make progress on delivering employees a more human deal, which leads to increased intent to stay, employee wellness, and the likelihood of recommending the organization to others, Gartner advises CHROs to do the following:

  1. Personalize connections while respecting boundaries

To ensure employers respect employees’ boundaries while personalizing connections, CHROs should integrate inclusion goals into day-to-day work and talent processes. This can drive accountability and ensure employees feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work; provide benefits directly to employees’ families or communities; identify information employees are comfortable sharing to improve trust.

  1. Ensure productivity while providing choice

Most companies typically offer flexibility in when and where work gets done. But leading companies also provide flexibility in who employees work with, what they work on, and how much they work.

For the best results, the CHROs should partner with managers to establish team flexibility boundaries. Managers can then offer employees flexible choices within these boundaries and encourage teams to co-create flexibility norms for their specific context. Companies can also ensure flexibility for all by determining which activities, not which roles, can be flexible. 

“Radical flexibility fuels performance,” says Dion Love, vice president, advisory, in the Gartner HR practice. “Employers can increase the percentage of high performers by 18 percentage points by offering employees greater choices surrounding their work conditions.”

  1. Advance organizational and individual growth

More than half of employees feel it’s important for their employer to provide opportunities for personal growth. Progressive companies provide employees with objective career coaches who help them prioritize their personal goals and explore how to pursue them internally and externally.

Leading CHROs bring employees into the design of development opportunities to help scale the number of development options and improve their relevance to employees’ personal interests.

Create diverse yet focused well-being offerings

Work stress is on the rise. Gartner’s research reveals nearly half of employees saying their work-related stress is higher now than previously in their career.

Employers are recognizing the elevated stress and are offering physical (80%), financial (67%), and emotional (87%) well-being benefits. However, research shows that few employees are using these benefits.

To close this gap, Gartner additionally suggests these three actions:

  • Hold employees accountable for their wellness by helping them identify the well-being offerings that matter most to them, incentivizing them to use available offerings, and enabling them to track their wellness progress.
  • Leverage leaders and peers to reduce the stigma of well-being offerings by having open and honest conversations about mental well-being to normalize mental health topics and support.
  • Coach managers on how to provide effective well-being support.

Take action while representing all perspectives

Employees are also becoming more active in societal issues. Fifty-three percent of employees want their employers to act on issues they care about.

This is an area that Gartner sees many companies struggling with how to balance activism with representing all perspectives. It advises HR leaders to include employee perspectives – across levels, business units, and functions — when determining which societal issues to act on.

CHROs should also partner with experts throughout the organization to create a societal issues decision framework that prioritizes how those issues align with the companies’ goals. HR can then collaborate with the communications team to share the framework across the organization to increase transparency and help employees feel invested.

Winston Thomas is the editor-in-chief of CDOTrends. HR&DigitalTrends and DataOpsTrends. He is always curious about all things digital, including new digital business models, the widening impact of AI/ML, unproven singularity theories, proven data science success stories, lurking cybersecurity dangers, and reimagining the digital experience. You can reach him at [email protected].

Image credit: iStockphoto/NirutiStock