The pandemic has caused many people to rethink their perspective on work.

Employees no longer consider work to be the most important factor in their lives. Instead, it has become secondary to their overall happiness, family and wellbeing. What’s more is that employees expect their employer to respect that.  

Organisations that do not provide an exceptional employee experience or pay attention to the needs and wants of their staff risk high levels of employee burnout or worse a mass exodus of talent.

According to Gartner’s Global Talent Monitor employees’ intent to stay for 12 months or more with their current employer dropped to 35 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, leading to intense competition for talent and an increase on employees on the move.

Organisations must rethink their employee value proposition (EVP) to reflect the changing mindset on work life balance and offer something more than just transactional perks to meet the increased expectations of job satisfaction. 

The traditional employee value proposition model needs to be reinvented

Employee value proposition (EVP) refers to the set of attributes that employees gain and value through employment with an organisation.

Traditionally, EVP has been focused on people, work, opportunity, rewards and organisation. We know that some organisations are fighting the war for talent with cash, but it’s not always enough. Organisations should be adopting a more human-centric approach to their employee experience to improve other sources of value for their workers, both current and potential.

They need to reframe their thinking to meet the new needs and expectations of employees

and also focus on emotional connections with their employees.

Employees now see work as a subset of their lives, not a separate part of it. They want to be better understood by their employers and seen not just as “employees”, but as people with interests and aspirations outside of work.

How retailers can address EVP

Employees working in the retail industry have the lowest expectations about how they can influence the way their work is designed.

Research from Gartner reveals only 35 per cent of retail workers believe they have any influence on work design. Compare that to finance and administration roles, 52 per cent of 69 per cent of workers, respectively, expect a level of input on their work design.

While roles within retail may be restricted by more rigid scheduling requirements and responsibilities, there is always opportunity for employers to offer value in different ways.

For example, while opening hours might dictate shift time, organisations can look to other duties like training and stocktake to incorporate flexibility and autonomy into the employee experience.

Retailers who can’t meet expectations risk being unable to attract talent at all. Other findings uncovered by Gartner reveal 22 per cent of candidates will abandon an application process entirely if they feel their expectations of work/life balance won’t be met in the role. 

What is means to create a human centric EVP

A human centric EVP is about creating feelings, not adding features. It’s about considering the new priorities of employees which focuses on feelings of deeper connection, flexibility, personal growth, shared purpose and a holistic to their overall wellbeing.

According to Gartner, organisations can be more human-centric by:  

  1. Increasing flexibility

Introducing radical flexibility across aspects of work helps employees feel autonomous. It’s not just about how work is structured but how long they work for, where and when it’s completed.

2. Facilitating personal growth

Creating opportunities to pursue hobbies or interests like social causes can help employees to feel valued and encourage them to grow as people not just professionals.

3. Supporting holistic wellbeing

Offering wellbeing programs that focus on both physical and mental aspects of work and life ensures employees feel cared for and supported in every aspect of their health.

4. Creating a shared purpose

Authentically taking a stand on issues that matter, such as equality or environmentalism. A statement is no longer enough, employees want to see action from their organisation and feel invested in things that matter most to them.

5. Promoting deeper connections

Organisations that can strengthen their employees’ connections to family and community and create a balance between privacy and connection when working at home will help encourage employees to feel understood.

Organisations that can deliver an EVP that is more than just a transactional “perk” will ensure talented individuals want to stay within their organisation and will unlock highly impactful employees of the future.

Neal Woolrich is HR advisor at Gartner.