Are Employee Value propositions (EVP) Inclusive? Some say, DE&I cannot be the pillars of your employer brand. I don’t agree. Here’s why.
An EVP is a comprehensive statement, outlining the value and employer can give to their employees. Like a brand promise, the EVP, describes the essence of the company and what makes it unique. It emphasizes ‘this is why you should join, stay with us, with our culture, and appreciate the way we do our business.
Outlined in that promise is the work experience employees can expect. The EVP should express inclusion and belonging, ensuring everyone feels they’re valued — and more importantly — can add value. Rather than simply part of the employment offering, the EVP goes deeper, into how employees will be treated and supported in their role. A successful EVP ensures the workplace is inclusive by welcoming all employees. When inclusivity is articulated (and demonstrated) the firm casts a wider net of potential candidates.
So what do employees value most at work?
Inclusion matters, as does belonging, as does work flexibility and impactful work. For almost 40% of workers aged over 50, the most important job factors are flexibility and a sense of purpose. Gen X, Y, and Z follow a similar pattern; flexible and meaningful work, decent pay, and career progression.
Pay is important, but it’s about being part of something bigger, feeling appreciated, having both development opportunities and flexibility to work in a way that supports different life demands. The value of a job goes beyond what’s stated in the job description or employment contract. Neglecting these benefits can be a huge, missed opportunity.
Gartner research on “EVP satisfaction shows that only 31% of HR leaders think their employees are satisfied with the EVP, and 65% of candidates report they discontinued a hiring process due to an unattractive EVP.” Candidates look for a meaningful EVP, which is likely to deliver. The EVP (again like that brand promise) is experiential. That experience starts with the first interview. “Value comes through feelings, not just features,” says, Carolina Valencia, VP, Gartner.
Beyond salary and benefits, to work with impact requires connecting the role to individual values and strengths, as values motivate and guide decision making. Strengths are unique capabilities, things we do better than others. While values remain constant, how we prioritize values and strengths shifts over time and might vary across generations.
Moving beyond features, does the EVP demonstrate inclusivity?
When writing an EVP, the starting point is to understand what motivates your employees and future talent pool. Many organizations use employee surveys to learn what’s working and what isn’t. But there is a problem with this approach: the answers represent the concerns of the prevailing demographic; what might be valuable to one employee segment might not work for others.
For example, if you lack the richness of age diversity in your organization, then your EVP fails to engage and misses the benefit of a multigenerational workforce.
Ageism is unfortunately ubiquitous. Older workers know what it’s like to be overlooked and underrepresented. Across Asia, age dynamics vary from country to country. In India, engineering professionals over the age of 55 are rarely called back for a second interview. China wants employees to remain or return to work, but most over 35 indicate finding a job is not easy. In a recent survey, 41% of respondents claimed age-related discrimination as the main reason for being rejected from a job. Japan and Singapore seem to be making the most progress. During the pandemic, “Singapore’s employment rate of those aged 55 to 64 has held steady at over 67 per cent.” Japanese companies have a designated retirement age of 60, but a revised law stipulates that employers must offer jobs to those who wish to remain employed up until the age of 65. In the US, workers aged over 40 are 46%-65% less likely than younger workers to get a job offer when their age is known.
If inclusivity is the goal, then a ‘one-size-fits-all’ EVP won’t easily work. Well thought out EVPs, grounded in a common truth, will promote individuality as well as inclusivity, flexible enough to connect with different audience needs. That means understanding and appreciating perspectives across different generations.
What do workers want anyway?
It varies across employee segments. Comparing the volumes of research around what Millennials and Gen Z want from the workplace, there’s startlingly little information about the older generation’s wants and needs. What we do know is they are tired with stereotypes: being tech dinosaurs, slow learners and too set in their ways to be productive team members. There’s a word for such identity-based stereotyping: ageism.
What they do want is meaningful work, intellectual stimulation, flexibility and an age-inclusive workplace. Older workers need to be assured their efforts matter to both themselves and those around them, and their contributions taken seriously.
How does this translate to an EVP? While there are differences across generations, here’s a few benefits you may want to accentuate in your EVP:
● Work that signals their knowledge, experience and judgment is valued and respected.
● Work that is interesting, challenging and utilizes their strengths and experience.
● A culture that supports development, careers, and opportunities to pass on knowledge.
● Equal access to benefits and flexibility for all working care givers
● An inclusive workplace culture that says, ‘you matter.’
Do workers even care about an EVP?
“Yes”, according to Gallup’s research. More than other groups, older workers are more selective about roles that match their strengths and values. Anything you can do to demonstrate inclusion is more likely to get their attention. Like any brand promise, consistent messaging and delivering on that promise will differentiate your firm from the others.
According to Gallup, organizations with a strong, differentiated EVP experience have a:
● 10% increase in productivity,
● 69% reduction in employee turnover
● 30% increase in profitability.
Bringing your EVP to life is critical. Too often, there’s a discrepancy between the EVP promise and the lived experiences of employees. Gartner calls this discrepancy the “delta,” and a large delta gap can make your organization appear disingenuous. That in turn will negatively affect employee engagement, productivity, and retention. It’s your stance on purposeful role allocation and the company’s willingness to flex its working practices which will demonstrate inclusion and your EVP promises. Putting in reflective effort into shaping the EVP will allow you a better chance of getting the best out of your people in return.
Embedding inclusion into your EVP and across organizational systems and processes — makes a difference.