Companies across corporate America are busy retooling their employee value proposition to combat a talent shortage that looms large with unemployment at historic lows and on track to remain so for decades to come.

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And the organizations that are best at attracting and retaining talent are aligning purpose—of the organization and individual employees—with company culture, says Kevin Martin, chief research officer at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).

“I don’t mean to sound too fuzzy wuzzy with it, but the purpose is basically why we do what we do and it’s aligning it to the personal purpose of that individual. And the second one is culture. Does our culture support that purpose, or are we refuting it?” says Martin. 

For example, the purpose of healthcare companies is to improve people’s lives in a positive manner and, ideally, that should dovetail with the personal purpose of the workforce, which desires flexible schedules to avoid burning out as they improve patients’ lives. Organizations need to find ways to make that purpose come through in their culture, Martin says.

He added that looking at EVP is just as important as, if not more so, looking at the total rewards and benefits side of the house.

“It’s how you’re supporting what you’re telling people you are promising to them, which is your EVP,” says Martin, who is slated to speak Tuesday at i4cp’s Next Practices Now conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Flexibility is a key pillar to EVP

The days of workers considering flexible schedules and control over their work environment as benefits are long gone since the pandemic. Employees now are demanding both en masse.

“Workers’ demand for control and flexibility of where they work, when they work, the type of work that they do, who they work with, etc., requires organizations to be much more flexible in their work policies and their incentives in the way that they support and promote flexible work,” advises Martin.

Bolster EVP with personalized total rewards

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HR leaders are frequently out of tune with the benefits and total rewards that their workforce desire, Martin notes. As a result, it may pay off in spades for companies to offer a wide range of benefits that employees can pick and choose from.

Driving this point further, Martin cited an i4cp survey of HR executives that found 52% believed workers 50 years and older would rank healthcare benefits as the most important among total rewards.

But another survey done in tandem with an i4cp partner found that this age group actually listed compensation and continuous learning as far more important, given that people are living longer and want to remain relevant with a longer career.

“Companies are missing the mark,” Martin says, noting benefits are going under-utilized, and one way to combat that would be to offer personalized benefits and total rewards for employees.

Improving the use of L&D perks

When it comes to learning and development training and access, a number of companies offer it but they may not be seeing the return on their investment. 

For example, only 12% of organizations in an i4cp study reported that their L&D tools were highly effective in upskilling and re-skilling their employees and accelerating their workforce readiness.

“One of the most ridiculous metrics out there that companies report on is training spend per employee,” he says. “What does that mean? It has no connection to impact.”

Martin also notes that although employees often are motivated to learn, upskill and use the L&D program that is available to them, managers often hold them back with a lack of support.

“A lot of managers hoard talent,” Martin says. “They view it as punitive if they lose their best people after they upskill. Or, they may think their projects are more important to take care of than providing the time for an employee to learn, telling them we’ll take care of that another time.”

Why EVP matters to the bottom line

A healthy culture has a direct impact on at least 20% of the variability of the productivity of a firm, Martin says. 

It’s important for organizations to realize each manager should be held accountable for two outcomes. One is the business outcome; the second is the people outcome, such as engagement, wellbeing, retention and more.

Says Martin, “When a leader is responsible for the culture of the organization they lead, that culture has a direct correlation to market performance.”

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