We are seeing a transformation in how we work accelerated with the advent of Covid-19 and are all preparing for what the world will look like post-pandemic.
There are a lot of forces coming together, and that will make the future of work go to a new level of complexity.
The dynamic shift requires a higher recognition and understanding of the importance of the employer value proposition (EVP) as a market differentiator. Outside of health and safety protocols, embracement and adoption of a comprehensive EVP is a competitive advantage to those organizations that are ready for the next normal.
Here are six EVP factors that should be on every company's radar:
1. New Markets for Talent
Organizations now have the ability to go into untapped markets with the permanency of remote work. Pre-Covid, geography constrained the flow of talent; now organizations should expand their respective pipelines beyond local markets. Organizations need to overhaul their recruitment strategies to reach broader audiences and ensure that they can stand out, given the intense war for talent.
2. Location Strategy
There has been an exodus of talent from the larger, established metro areas into up-and-coming markets. Location strategy will likely have to be revisited to ensure future office locations align to the plurality of talent available. Along with location strategy, organizations have to reconcile the recruiting approach as well as the hiring philosophy (as in how you hire) to fully assure that the folks hired can excel in the next normal setting.
An added wrinkle is ensuring you know where your employees may have moved. During Covid, many staff relocated to inexpensive markets to buy homes, be closer to family, etc., which can create tax implications for both employees and the company. Organizations will also have to grapple with whether they'll require folks to move back to office locations or allow staff to remain remote.
3. The Hybrid Work Model
The employer landscape shift from Covid-19 has ushered in greater acceptance of the distributed workforce model, and as businesses have offices opening en masse this fall, the reopenings will come with a whole host of considerations. There will likely be staff who are fully in office, fully remote, or some combination in between. No matter the case, it will require a new way of working and adjusting to the next normal.
4. Office Reacclimation
I had a colleague jokingly say that he'd gone feral from working at home for so long. The reality is, a good number of staff are going to have to get reaccustomed to proper office etiquette, because they've been without interaction. Leaders will have to help staff with the adjustment back to the office. There may be changes to occupancy limits and desk configurations, and office mores and customs may have to be reestablished or reinforced to ensure full inclusion.
5. Productivity Slowdowns
There may be a marked slowdown when we are nearly post-Covid. For many staff, they were left with more time in the day because their commutes were eliminated and their daily routines were reduced to waking up and getting to work. Extracurricular activities were curtailed, leaving folks only to focus on what was available -- their work. Once restrictions are fully lifted, so too will people return to their interests pre-Covid -- and those will take time away from work. Leaders need to accept that folks are going to work differently; the question is not if, it's when.
It'll be important to reframe expectations when it comes to performance and output. Further, managers need to compare performance for the allotted review period versus the prior year. It's otherwise unfair to assume employees will register the same level of performance that Covid brought about.
6. Enhancing the Employee Experience
The talent market is heating up by the minute, and organizations need to up the ante if they want to compete. Employee-friendly policies and benefits have to be prioritized as they offer a market-defining benefit.
Better employee-centric policies help employees more easily balance professional duties and personal obligations. Policies that offer greater flexibility, expand health benefits, and support well-being ultimately promote greater agency for employees and engender loyalty. The more immediate benefits include talent attraction, market differentiation, longer retention, greater engagement, higher productivity, and employee happiness.