How to recruit, engage and retain talent in a world in flux
By Matt Lievers
Today’s workforce is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Various research shows that, despite the flexibility that comes with working from home, 36 per cent of Canadians feel that work interferes with home life.
Clearly, employees are in crisis — and so is the workplace. With employees leaving and stress levels at an all time high, organizations across Canada are looking for ways to stabilize their workforce — but they need to do so in an authentic, unique way.
The employee value proposition (EVP) is a good place to start.
The EVP is an expression of what it means to work for your organization — the things that differentiate your organization from every other. It includes tangible rewards, such as compensation and benefits, as well as intangible rewards, including your workplace culture, opportunities for learning and development as well as clear career paths within the organization.
As the workplace and even the jobs themselves change, today’s EVP must be even more inclusive and empathetic than ever before. It is an entire system that must support the needs of all employees, from support to recognition, rewards and even organizational values.
The challenge in building an EVP is in making it meaningful for your employees.
Making assumptions and creating a one-size-fits all EVP is a surefire way to please no one. It’s critical to work with them to determine what they need and want – to ensure the benefits you’re offering will make a difference to your workforce.
When creating your EVP, make it meaningful with these tips:
Present the EVP to staff as you would to potential candidates: Your employees have a lot to say, but they may be afraid to say it. Yet they are still looking for support. If you listen actively and take their needs into account, you can offer the supports they need.
Understand the importance of retention: Replacing employees is expensive. An entry level employee costs roughly half their annual salary to replace, while replacing a mid-level manager costs roughly 150 per cent of the salary. Replacing a senior manager can cost upwards of 400 per cent more than the salary. Retaining employees has a definite return on investment (ROI), so build a retention budget similar to your recruiting budget.
Build engagement through employee resource groups (ERG): An ERG is a company-sponsored, employee-led group created to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace. ERGs support a specific segment of the employee base, such as women or people with disabilities. Through engagement with an ERG, employees feel seen and valued — and they actually want to come to work.
Lead with empathy to create a psychologically safe workplace: In this year of mental health challenges, a safe and open workplace is critical for a healthy workforce. Leaders who understand their employees’ needs can create that safe space through empathy: understanding what their employees need and want and tailoring it for them.
Authentically live your company brand and EVP: An EVP is only effective if it is reflected by everything in the organization. When leaders behave according to the EVP and workers can contribute and grow, regardless of their unique differences, employees feel valued as an integral part of the workplace.
This should be visible in the hiring process, the workplace culture and even through opportunities for career progression.
For example, creating a lifestyle inside the walls of your workplace — complete with foosball machine and pizza lunch — may not meet your employees’ needs anymore. Reallocate your budgets.
If you’re not thinking about your EVP yet, your organization is vulnerable.
The workforce has changed, and it’s critical that employers acknowledge that change and seek to benefit and support the employees you have before they decide to move on.
A strong, meaningful EVP can help demonstrate to your employees that they don’t need to change jobs in order to achieve the life they desire.
Matt Lievers is the president of employee benefits and retirement for Hub International Ontario.
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