Today’s skilled workers have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing an employer. With so many companies offering perks, job growth, and creative cultures and workplaces, employers no longer have the upper hand when it comes to hiring, especially in technical and in-demand fields.
Companies looking to attract and retain top talent need to pay heed to their employee value proposition. The simple employee value proposition definition is the value employees gain in return for working for their employer—basically, any rewards and benefits for the employee, from compensation to company culture.
HR professionals are familiar with the basics of creating and demonstrating employee value proposition—benefits, compensation, culture, life/work balance—but how does that translate into today’s global pandemic crisis and remote work environment?
The Basics Don’t Change
To attract new employees and retain current talent, even during times of crisis, the basics of a strong employee value proposition don’t change. Keep your focus on:
Fair financial compensation has always been a key part—but not the only factor—in retaining and attracting employees. Keep employee compensation competitive and fair. Families rely on a good income during an economic downturn, and employees will work hard through the distractions of remote work when they have a number that shows how much you value them.
Paid Time Off
Keep benefits such as paid time off, including holidays, vacation, and sick days consistent. With remote technologies making it easy to work anytime, anywhere, it may be helpful to encourage and reward employees for taking a break, and developing a culture that respects “out of the office” notices on emails and calendars.
Professional development, mentoring, ongoing training, and opportunities for growth need to be in place, even during a time of remote work. Employees generally expect to grow and advance in their careers, and they need to know that they can continue to have opportunities to do so even when they aren’t getting regular facetime with mentors and supervisors. Continue to make mentoring and career growth a priority, even when it needs to be done over Zoom or Slack.
Where to Adjust for Remote Work
Some changes will need to be made to your employee value proposition to keep competitive in offering value to your current and future employees during a time of crisis and remote work.
The benefits package, including paid time off, life insurance, medical, dental, tuition, and retirement benefits, are a big selling point for any prospective employee. You may need to consider adjustments and additional perks during this unique time. For example, as people are worried about the pandemic and effects on their work if they get sick or have lingering side effects, you may consider not limiting sick days. Employees may have inconsistent child care and school arrangements and may need to take more days off than usual. PTO policies should reflect these concerns.
At-Home Office Perks
Employees likely don’t have couches, tech-filled conference rooms, treadmill desks, and ping pong tables in their home offices. They may not have a home office in the first place and may face constant disruptions. Increase your employee value proposition by supplying or covering some workplace conveniences for home. Maybe employees would like a more ergonomic chair, or a nice pair of headphones to block out noise and better focus on their conference calls. Cut your budget for office snacks and catered lunches, and to help you stand out from competitors, consider sending your employees a regular care package with treats, gift cards, and other goodies.
Revamp Onboarding Programs
Starting a job remotely is a unique experience—there’s nowhere to “show up” on the first day, no team welcome lunches, and no leaning over to the next desk to ask for help or clarification on a task or company policy. Put plans in place to help new employees feel connected, informed, and secure about their job duties from day one, and communicate that plan to new and potential hires. You want them to feel confident they can contribute effectively, even remotely.
Support Flexible Schedules
While employees are working remotely, it is completely reasonable to hold them accountable for getting their projects done well and on time and to expect them to use their time wisely. But because of the global pandemic, many people are dealing with extreme situations. With daycares and schools closed, parents may need to juggle work schedules with childcare and the work schedule of a partner. They may get sick or need to care for a sick loved one. Mental health can suffer during a crisis as well. For this reason, it’s important to communicate support for flexible schedules, and as stated above, be generous with PTO.
Move Company Culture Online
A company’s culture is carefully cultivated over the years. It’s also an important part of your employee value proposition. Employees want to work in a supportive, creative, driven workplace with a culture they support and feel a part of. Don’t stop making culture a priority; instead, find ways to develop and communicate that culture online. This may include using Slack or Zoom for teambuilding and discussions of culture, as well as for discussing topics unrelated to daily work. Doing so can help reduce employee burnout, which is on the rise since the COVID crisis began.
Employee Value Proposition Matters
All workplaces are going through times of change, scrambling to remain productive in a remote environment. Working with top talent will continue to be crucial for your company’s success now and in the future. The benefits offered to employees need to remain a priority—and working in a remote environment, even a temporary one, doesn’t change that. Make an effort to adjust your employee value proposition practices to ensure your company’s growth and success, even in uncertain times.