How your EVP helps people adapt to the future of work
If I had a cent for every time someone talked about the ‘future of work’ this year, I’d be rich. That phrase, and its counterparts like automation, AI, machine learning, and the ever-advancing ‘bots’, are all part of 2020’s corporate buzzword bingo.
But it’s not just changes in technology affecting the future of work. Demographics, politics, new product categories, heightened employee expectations – all of these are shifting rapidly and changing the employment landscape as we know it. Most companies are creating structures and processes that help their businesses adapt to the new normal, a hybrid workforce comprised of both humans and advanced technology.
Recent research from Capita shows that more than half of employees feel excited about, and open to, the future of work. That would be encouraging if the other half didn’t say they’re worried about future employability. The picture becomes more complex when we consider elements such as age and role; there’s greater skepticism among older members of the workforce, as well as those in lesser skilled roles.
Communication is a critical lever in easing this change. When crafted well, compelling comms help people understand their role in an unknown landscape – encouraging an atmosphere of excitement and buy-in instead of resistance and fear. Your employer value proposition (EVP), a set of pillars that empowers you to control the conversation around your talent brand, can translate into so much more than vague ideas for recruitment advertising. From external attraction to internal engagement, here are three key considerations to make your EVP act as a critical and flexible tool that underpins your shift towards the future of work.
Set strong foundations for uncertain times
We often hear that the future of work will remove monotonous tasks, increasing productivity and saving hours of manual work through automation and AI. That’s likely to create uncertainty and fear among your workforce, as Capita’s research supports, despite the fact that it can arguably free people up to do more creative, engaging work. With less certainty and less structure, people need clear goals and a cultural ‘North Star’ to keep them on track.
Enter your EVP, stage left. Your EVP is more than just a tool for external attraction. In fact, before you even think about external perceptions of your business, your EVP should be built from the inside, acting as a blueprint for internal behavior and policy. Your EVP can provide a consistent platform for communication, even while everything else is in flux. It ensures, especially during times of change, why your journey remains an exciting opportunity and fosters a clear connection and alignment to your wider goals.
Seek adaptable mindsets > set-in-stone skillsets
Lately, I’ve been speaking with Fortune 500 leaders who know they need to attract top technology talent to remain competitive. While organizations have diverse needs and priorities, a common theme is apparent: yes, certain skills, stacks, and specialties are highly sought after, but it’s impossible to know if these same factors will be desirable in a decade (or sooner). What really matters to the savviest leaders – and what drives successful organizational change – is attracting talent with the agile mindset and innate curiosity that helps them identify and respond to challenges beyond our current imagination.
Having these people on your team will help you outwit your competition, but how can you get them on board? A tailored, aspirational EVP will excite those who are passionate about the same goals as you, giving them a window into the employee experience and empowering them to envision the impact they could have as part of your business. Your EVP will help tempt those candidates with clear, compelling stories of where you’re heading as a business and why they should get involved.
Make your audacious ambitions well-known
You have business strategies and goals that you’ve communicated to shareholders and to the media. But how often do your people feel truly connected to those goals, and understand their role in making them happen? Probably not often enough. A recent Gallup study showed more than 50% of people in the U.S. are disengaged at work. Lower productivity, less creativity, and higher attrition: there are many reasons to address low engagement that go beyond saving the estimated $550 billion per year cost to the U.S. economy.
When an individual’s aspirations are aligned to those of their organization, they’re more likely to be engaged at work. Engagement is therefore less about structures and processes, but more about communication.
Presenting your aspirations as a challenge that the best people can work hard to solve will help to not only attract the talent you need, but also engage the talent you have. Your EVP will help translate your business ambitions into something people can emotionally connect with, generating inspiring work that truly makes an impact on your organization.
As businesses rightly continue their focus on embedding digital infrastructure and enhancing their technological capabilities, it’s your people who’ll make those ambitions a reality. The truth is, no matter how much budget is invested in technology, people are the beating heart of every organization. Each of them has needs, wants, and motivations that can change, both positively and negatively, through the conversations they’re part of and their experiences at work.
Your EVP is a proven way to ensure communications around your changing workforce and workplace are consistent, compelling, and aligned to the bigger picture. It is by no means a magic wand to create a perfectly engaged workforce in a successful human/hybrid business. But in times of transformation like these, it’s a very good place to start.