People come to work for different reasons. Organizations will benefit greatly from understanding what those are and making a determination if they are reasonable expectations vis-a-vis the value for which they are exchanged (salary, job security, etc.). This exchange/transaction is where the complexity arises.
Let’s start with the question: what is work? At its core, “work” comprises:
● How the organization creates value
● How individuals create and deliver that value
● How the value is defined (it is really in the eyes of the beholder)
● How individuals tell the story of the value they create to others
Defining what value is and then defining what should be contracted as a value exchange is not always clear between parties. The process of contracting should be fluid and dynamic and accommodate both the environmental factors and internal tensions.
At the individual level, the experience is quite variable and what matters is influenced by the learning curve and demand curve of their job. There is no way to create a consistent employment experience for everyone. This might lead to centralized mediocrity. Instead, organizations need a system that understands and accommodates variability.
The following graph represents the complexity of employment value proposition. The elements of value described below will guide you in developing the processes and experiences that address deeply held needs, needs your workforce might not yet be able to articulate. These elements were inspired by the Bain’s B2B Elements of ValueSM
How to use this framework:
Gather the key stakeholders and ensure it is an inclusive group representative of different organizational levels and networks.
Step 1. Review each of the values and sort them into the following categories based on your perspective of the importance of the value.
· Need to have (Company should provide)
· Nice to have (Company's discretion to provide)
· Not critical (Not expected for company to prioritize)
Step 2. From the category “Need to have” decide which of the values your organization wants to be known for (it should not be more than 10)
Step 3. Identify what might be the relevant measures of success? How would you quantify the impact to the organization?
Step 4. Discuss why you made the choice.
Conclusion: Organizations will benefit from finding ways to meaningfully prioritize a few values and deliver on them to unlock the potential of the organizational promise.
The priority and importance attributed to the different value elements above will differ by the individual (some people come to work just to get a paycheck and perhaps we shouldn’t insist on making them “be engaged”) and by geographical location (some of the elements, especially economic ones, are provided by the country versus as a company benefit -- think universal health coverage). It will also be unrealistic for an organization to set goals to deliver on all of the values above.
It is important, however, to identify a few and be explicit about the choices and reasons behind them, and more importantly, build those into all the messaging, internal and external communications, decision making, management practices, talent development etc.
FUNDAMENTALS: MEETING THE EMPLOYMENT BRAND PROMISE
Definition: An experience that conforms to the worker’s understanding of the employment contract / relationship.
Example: Workers believe that the implicit expectations about the value or experiences promised at the onset of employment, are received every time they perform on behalf of or interact with the company. This includes safety, cooperation, fairness, equity, respect, autonomy, development, and inclusion.
FUNDAMENTALS: FAIR REMUNERATION
Definition: The provision of a fair acceptable remuneration for the services rendered from the workers.
Example: The company provides a competitive, fair, and equitable compensation to its workforce.
FUNDAMENTALS: REGULATORY COMPLIANCE
Definition: Compliance with regulations
Example: The company has employment practices and processes that comply with FLSA, ADA, privacy and other employment laws and regulations.
FUNDAMENTALS: ETHICAL STANDARDS
Definition: Performance of activities in an ethical manner.
Example: The company has ethical business practices and expects its workers to follow them, or risk being fired or fined.
Definition: Visibility of decisions impacting the workers and workplace.
Example: The company shares how promotion or compensation decisions are made.
Definition: A safe and inclusive work environment.
Example: The company is known for its practices that create a workplace free from injuries, discrimination, harassment, judgement, and exclusion.
Definition: Experiences and environments that enable workers with diverse-abilities to be equally effective.
Example: Instead of interviews, the company performs job simulations that enables people with autism to traverse the recruitment process and allows the company to bring a highly effective talent to its software testing department.
ECONOMIC: MAKE MONEY
Definition: Support for workers in improving their financial wellbeing.
Example: The company provides financial education that enables its workforce to save and make good investment decisions, which helps them grow their retirement savings.
ECONOMIC: REDUCE COSTS
Definition: Cost reduction for the workers.
Example: The company uses its purchasing power to get discounts for products and services to its workforce.
ECONOMIC: REDUCE RISK
Definition: Protection of workers against loss or unnecessary risk.
Example: The company provides a suite of insurance, advisory services, and counseling designed to reduce risk for its workers.
ECONOMIC: REDUCE EFFORT OR TIME
Definition: Goal accomplishment with less effort.
Example: The company automates highly intensive and repetitive tasks to minimize the effort workers have to put in order to get their work done.
ECONOMIC: FUN, PERKS AND ACCESS
Definition: An environment where it is enjoyable to go to work or otherwise rewarding to be an engaged worker. Access to information, goods, services or other valuable items.
Example: Impressive keynote speakers at townhalls to inspire the workers. Spot reward for discretionary efforts, exclusive trips for high performing individuals, and educational stipends for individuals to be retained.
EASE OF WORKING: AVOID HASSLES
Definition: Hassle avoidance or reduction.
Example: The company creates simple and straightforward policies and processes so the workers don’t have to go through excessive approval steps and multiple decision-making committees just to accomplish a simple task.
EASE OF WORKING: RESOURCING
Definition: Provision of the necessary resources to do one’s job.
Example: The managers ensure their teams have adequate resources (time, budget, skills, support, tools) to enable them to do their work.
EASE OF WORKING: FLEXIBILITY
Definition: Work flexibility that maximizes individual performance.
Example: Workers choose their work location (remote, co-working space, client, office, home), schedule (extended breaks for homeschooling, and longer hours in the evening), focus (one day a week work on a developmental project), team (ability to join different work initiatives, or move between teams to work on projects that are better aligned with their skills and interests.)
EASE OF WORKING: INFORMS
Definition: Provision of reliable and trusted information.
Example: The company provides information about benefits options and how to best decide what plans to enroll in, all in simple and clear language.
EASE OF WORKING: CLARITY
Definition: Clear expectations.
Example: Managers set clear and realistic expectations for the goals to be accomplished by the workers.
EASE OF WORKING: SENSE OF ORGANIZATION
Definition: Support in helping workers become more organized and efficient.
Example: The company provides workplace tools that enable employees to be efficient at their jobs.
EASE OF WORKING: VARIETY
Definition: A variety of experiences to build skills and expertise.
Example: The company provides career development and projects so workers can build their expertise.
EASE OF WORKING: SIMPLIFICATION
Definition: Reduction of complexity, keeping things simple.
Example: The company enables an easy-to-navigate, simple, and intuitive workplace experience (tools are integrated, analytics is at one’s fingertips, unified log-on into the digital workplace, accessibility is built-in). The company speaks easily and clearly about the organizational mission and business lines.
EASE OF WORKING: SCALABILITY
Definition: Easy and quick expansion in response to increases in workforce demand, processes, or tasks.
Example: The company’s infrastructure is set up to easily and efficiently scale up as its workforce grows without delays, restrictions on bandwidth, black-outs etc.
EASE OF WORKING: AUTONOMY
Definition: Trust in the workers’ ability to manage their work and themselves.
Example: The company instills the culture that the workers are adults and if they have clear goals, they can objectively manage their work without onerous restrictions, controls, policies, and oversight.
EASE OF WORKING: WORKPLACE INNOVATION
Definition: Innovative experiences for the workforce.
Example: The company is recognized for innovative practices in developing its employees by creating stretch assignments where the workers collaborate with partners and competitors on a solution with a broader societal impact.
Definition: A culture of input-seeking from workers at different stages in their work experience.
Example: The company implements a listening program and gathers feedback from its workforce about ways to improve their experience and productivity. It asks workers to prioritize the efforts or changes to that experience.
Definition: Prompt and professional responses to workers’ needs.
Example: The company organizes task forces where the workers are actively involved, to tackle different issues prioritized as “hassles.”
Definition: Commitment to the workers’ own success.
Example: The company shows commitment to the growth and development of its workforce through internal mobility programs, stretch assignments, and upskilling.
Definition: Stability for the foreseeable future.
Example: The company has a sound business and it is perceived to provide stability for years to come.
RELATIONSHIPS: REACH AND CONNECTION
Definition: Promotion of connections between workers internally and externally.
Example: Provide an app-based communications platform or telepresence solution so the workers can communicate across the globe. Build a sense of belonging by organizing local town-halls to understand the business priorities and progress, followed by an afternoon of service in support of a local charity.
Definition: A culture in which people worry less and feel more secure, improving their physical or mental state.
Example: The company reimburses fitness equipment and yoga classes, offers confidential mental health counseling, provides healthy food options in its cafeteria etc. to demonstrate its commitment to the wellbeing of its workforce.
EMOTIONAL: PRIDE IN QUALITY
Definition: Creation of high-quality goods or services.
Example: The company is known for the quality of products and services it offers to its customers, signaling high performance and reliability, and as a result creates pride in its employees.
EMOTIONAL: DESIGN / AESTHETICS
Definition: Aesthetically pleasing goods or services that are appealing in taste, smell, hearing and other senses.
Example: The company provides an office environment that is modern and updated, with a subdued color scheme, reduced noise level, and ability to isolate yourself to get focused work done. The company’s cafeteria offers healthy and tasty options.
EMOTIONAL: INCLUSION, AFFILIATION AND BELONGING
Definition: A culture of supporting people in becoming part of a group or identifying with people they admire.
Example: The company design its workspace such that everyone with different mental and physical diverse-abilities can be productive and actively participate.
PERSONAL / CAREER: INTEGRATION
Definition: Assistance in integrating work and life experiences for workers, across different activities as they go through their daily experience.
Example: The company integrates disparate IT systems and data so the workers don’t have to log-on multiple times, or re-enter data, or toggle between multiple applications. The company allows employees to bring their pets to work.
PERSONAL / CAREER: MASTERY and EXPERTISE
Definition: Supports in workers’ growth and personal development.
Example: The company invests in its workers so they become more employable.
PERSONAL / CAREER: NETWORK EXPANSION
Definition: Aid in colleagues’ professional network expansion.
Example: The company encourages people to expand its internal and external professional network.
PERSONAL / CAREER: MARKETABILITY
Definition: A culture of making users and colleagues more marketable in their field.
Example: The company provides education, certification for its core product, and a substantial up-front investment for workers to start their own business and take advantage of the industry-recognized credentials the company provided them with.
PERSONAL / CAREER: REPUTATIONAL ASSURANCE
Definition: A company reputation that does not jeopardize and may enhance the worker’s own reputation.
Example: The company’s strong reputation makes the worker’s experience at that company more valuable and worker’s reputation greater.
PERSONAL / CAREER: BADGE VALUE
Definition: The representation of achieved status or aspirations.
Example: The company enables workers to pursue a status of a distinguished professional in their field by doing research, publishing papers, presenting at conferences, and pursuing recognition.
PERSONAL / CAREER: DIRECT IMPACT ON OUTCOMES
Definition: A worker’s ability to contribute to a project that has a visible impact that provides a sense of personal accomplishment or improvement.
Example: The company provides opportunities to its workers to use their technical skills to teach in a workforce development program focused on raising digital literacy in their local community.
INSPIRATIONAL / LIFE CHANGING: HOPE
Definition: The inspiration of workers’ hope for the future of their organization.
Example: The company gives their workers hope that the services and products they create will be essential for their customers well-being, and as a result the company will continue to create long term value and revenue.
INSPIRATIONAL / LIFE CHANGING: MOTIVATION
Definition: A culture that spurs people on to achieve their goals.
Example: The company offers up coaching services to help people set and accomplish professional and personal goals.
INSPIRATIONAL / LIFE CHANGING: LEGACY
Definition: Investment for future generations or leaving a mark on the world.
Example: The company provides its workers with the ability to work on projects that have a n impact on a mission that is bigger than themselves (“put the man on the moon”). The company supports workers who want to take a sabbatical to work on a personal project (book, research, reconstruction etc.)
SOCIAL IMPACT: SELF-TRANSCENDENCE
Definition: Support for others people or society more broadly.
Example: The company allocates a part of their profit to save the eyesight of people in developing countries.
SOCIAL IMPACT: VISION
Definition: A philosophy of helping the workforce anticipate the direction of markets and influence the organizational strategy.
Example: The company offers up data and analytics to help its workforce understand shifts in demand for their products, and the types of skills they need to develop.
SOCIAL IMPACT: SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Definition: The promotion of a culture of social responsibility.
Example: The company organizes its employees, customers, and industry partners to participate in philanthropic programs. The company stands for a societal issue and contributes to furthering the agenda on one or many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.