How to pressure test your organisational values against workplace needs
11 January 2023
11 January 2023
“We’re flexible, inclusive and committed to learning”. You’ve probably heard this kind of claim made by organisations – maybe you even work for one that says they’re “innovative and fun”. But when it comes to the crunch, do they live up to these benefits and values? Or are they just pretty posters decorating the kitchen walls?
It can be uncomfortable to hear that your organisation’s values (also known as your Employee Value Proposition) don’t align with the way your people experience the workplace. But failing to test them against reality can have serious knock-on effects – both for your team and your workplace.
An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is a promise a company makes to its employees, defining what you will give people in return for showing up and doing their job well. It covers things like remuneration and benefits, learning and development, and workplace wellness, as well as more intangible things like workplace culture and opportunities to do meaningful work.
Most organisations will develop their EVP around a boardroom table, asking their leaders to make assumptions about
And this could be costing you.
It’s definitely easier and less confronting to stick with the EVP you developed a while back. But without regularly reviewing your EVP, you’re risking:
One example of the cost of this misalignment is Tesla, as highlighted in this excellent
It’s also important to remember that your people’s needs change over time. People will leave and be replaced by new people with new needs and priorities. So, your EVP needs to reflect what your current people want and value, not what you thought employees who’ve long since left needed back when you created it.
It can be as simple as: Do you know what the organisations values are?
And for each of the values, ask:
You can get even more granular. For example, if flexibility is part of your EVP, you could include questions such as:
This data will help you understand what flexibility truly means for your people, and whether your flexible work practices are meeting your people’s needs. Make sure you ask for specific reasons and tangible examples as well. Provide an open text field for people to give details when they feel the value doesn’t meet expectations.
If you find your
Consider running small group sessions or 1:1 chats with individuals to dig into the specifics of where they’re experiencing the misalignment. If you work in a smaller organisation that is open to collaboration, you could get everyone together to discuss issues.
Be open to their suggestions for improvement. Although leaders tend to think they have the right ideas for improvements, the most creative and innovative solutions often come from employees themselves. And by including them in the solution, they’re more likely to get on board with future improvements.
As well as speaking to individuals who provided feedback, make sure you communicate the results and improvements to the whole organisation, so you can close the feedback loop and let them know that changes are coming.
When it comes to engaging and retaining talent, the solutions seem limitless. We believe there are seven key factors that make a difference to the workplace experience and influence people’s decision to stay or go. Discover what they are in our free guide, The 7 Pillars of Retention.