How to improve your value proposition for current and future employees


When companies want to give back to their employees, leaders often think of things like free lunches and happy hours. While no one will refuse free food, my company’s internal employee engagement survey has shown us that employee desires run deeper. When asked about the one specific thing our people team could help with right now, an overwhelming number of our teammates said the same thing: career advancement opportunities.

All partnerships, especially those between employees and employers, benefit from asking what the other wants and needs. When they tell you, listen to what they say and take meaningful action. This year my company is mainly investing in training and development for our entire leadership team and all our people managers. I think it’s a more focused, informed use of our budget.

Here’s what my company and I expect to gain from our investment — and why all leaders should consider renewing the value proposition they offer employees.

It informs and aligns people from different backgrounds.

You want to make sure that your people understand the common purpose of the business and that they are equipped to meet the challenges along the way. Those are very fundamental elements of a company’s success. Because they are so simple, it is easy to take them for granted and forget to actively invest in them.

In our case, managers have different levels of experience, come from different companies and have different training to their credit. Novice managers benefit from a management how-to. Long-time managers benefit from learning the standards and practices that today’s employees expect. All people benefit from alignment. Diversity of perspectives is essential; such is unity of purpose.

It promotes personal and professional growth.

Because career advancement has both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, personal growth is an incredibly powerful asset.

Leadership training offers a common curriculum. They focus on four key skill areas: the ability to be a coach, giving and receiving feedback, productivity and prioritization, and effective one-on-one. It’s a mix of hard and soft skills that will benefit leaders when they’re with us, and wherever their career takes them. As leaders, we fund their own personal growth, not just to tell them how we think they need to improve.

It improves engagement and retention.

In a competitive workforce market, employees need more reasons than ever to stay with their company. That goes beyond market pay and includes things like emotional intelligence in their leaders, a positive employee experience, and inspiring purpose.

In general, it means that they should see their job as more than a job. Today’s employees rightly view their professional role as an extension of their personal goals. The more we can ensure that working at our company transcends the proverbial office walls, the more faithfully we will stick to the people who make us who we are.

Ultimately, people make companies successful. To be successful, people need the resources to be working on the right things at the right time and in an environment where they know they are heard, understood and valued.

Everyone wants to learn, improve, grow. In fact, research suggests that material rewards correlate less with long-term happiness than learning. The surest way to make people happy is to exceed their expectations. For today’s employers, this means investing in your people in ways that go beyond traditional pay and benefits.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not’s.

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