How to define your value proposition as an employer in today's talent wars

Bruce Tulgan
August 13, 2021

Bruce Tulgan

Founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc. and Top Expert on Leadership Development and Generational Issues in the Workplace
Teamwork Future of Work Team Building Employee Engagement Leadership Culture/Work Environment

If you want to gain a strategic advantage in today's talent wars, step one is defining a clear value proposition to potential new hires.

Decide who or what you want to be as an employer and tell your story loud and clear. This should not just be in terms of mission, vision, and culture, but specifically in terms of the work your organization accomplishes, how, and the value proposition you have to offer to the employees who do that work.

Questions you need to ask yourself as an employer

That means you need a purposeful staffing strategy. After all, the value proposition you offer to some employees may be very different from the value proposition you offer others.

How are you going to get all the work done? How many ways do you have of employing people? What are the different categories of jobs and the corresponding roles and responsibilities? How many 'traditional' employees do you need? Count anyone working full-time, exclusively for you, uninterrupted in their tenure, as permanent and long-term employees.

How many 'contingent' workers do you need? This includes anyone working for you short-term or temporarily, consultants or gig workers, people who may share employment with other organizations, employees who may periodically come and go, or those who work highly variable schedules when their availability meets your needs. How easily can people flow between the contingent roles into more traditional ones?

How many on-site, and therefore local, employees do you need? How many remote employees do you need--those who can work from anywhere? Who are you trying to draw into your long-term core group? Who are you trying to draw in for short-term, high-turnover, 'just-a-job' positions?

What happens when traditional employees or core long-term team members leave? Do you have means of flexible retention--part-time, flex-time, or periodic work-- methods for staying in touch, efforts at recruiting, and an easy process for people to return? Overall, you need an integrated staffing strategy that optimizes a mix of different ways to employ people. The more ways you have to employ people, the better.

For each role, you need to frame a clear value proposition.

The employer side of the transaction is always the same: Employers want to get as much of the highest priority work done as well as possible, as fast as possible, with the least possible cost or friction. The employee side of the transaction is more complex and variable: Employees want to earn money, have favorable working conditions, and make a positive contribution to the mission.

The 'dream job factors'

Every employer value proposition is based on some balancing calculus, mixing and matching on each side of the ledger various aspects of eight defining factors. We call these the 'dream job factors.'
 
1. Performance-based compensation: How much is baseline pay and benefits? Are they comparable to your competition? Are there clearly defined opportunities to learn more based on extra-mile effort and results?
 
2. Supportive leadership: Is there an immediate manager who provides regular guidance, support, and direction? Will they make expectations clear, provide regular feedback and recognition?
 
3. Role and responsibilities: What is the nature of the actual work itself? Is it difficult, repetitive, or tedious? Or, is it interesting and valuable? Is it mission-driven? Does it have positive, meaningful results?
 
4. Location and workspace: Is the work done in a particular place in a specific geography? Or can the work be done from anywhere? Sometime? All of the time? If there is a particular place, is it pleasant?
 
5. Scheduling flexibility: Is the job full-time, extra time? Or is it part-time, flex time? Is there any ability to set one's own schedule? Occasional scheduling accommodations?
 
6. Training and development: Are there formal and informal opportunities to build new, relevant knowledge and skills? Is there a chance to become a deep subject matter expert? Or to build a wide repertoire?
 
7. Relationships at work: Is the workplace welcoming and inclusive? Are there opportunities to build productive and mutually supportive working relationships with colleagues, leaders, clients, or decision-makers?
 
8. Autonomy and creative freedom: Is it clear what exactly is up to employees, and what is not? What is required in every job? What is allowed? Where do employees have discretion in how they complete their work?
 
It's no secret that COVID-19 has changed how we work. Modes of work are different, sites of work are varied, and means of performance are broader than ever. If the dream job factors weren't a part of your organization's repertoire prior to the pandemic, they probably are in some shape or form now. If not, it's time to take action.

Very few, if any, employers can provide every employee with optimal choices in all the dream job factors. But you have to offer something. The less you offer in one category, the more you must offer in another. One job may offer only heavy lifting with very little autonomy or creative freedom. Then the question will be simple: What do you offer? Scheduling flexibility? Location flexibility? Supportive leadership?

Again, you have to offer something. Every role is different, but the value proposition of every single role will be made up of various components, balancing these eight factors.

Who you seek to attract- what sort of talent and from where- will differ from role to role. Some positions require specific training, credentials, or other criteria. Others do not. Once you know who you are seeking for what roles, you can start delivering an attraction message calibrated to attract the right applicants for the right roles.

Yes, tell your story: tell people about your organization's mission, values, and culture. But building a truly compelling recruiting message is going beyond your story. You must tell every applicant the story of exactly where your organization will fit into their story. What is the specific value proposition for every potential employee for that particular role, based on balancing the eight dream job factors?


This appeared first on RainmakerThinking.

Bruce Tulgan

Want Bruce Tulgan for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
Every manager is a Chief Retention Officer
Bruce Tulgan
Bruce Tulgan
September 24, 2021
When people leave their jobs voluntarily it is almost always--at least in part--directly ...
How to structure new employee on-boarding for day one, week one, and the first three months
Bruce Tulgan
Bruce Tulgan
September 17, 2021
New hires almost always walk in the door with a ...
Stay in close dialogue between hiring and day one
Bruce Tulgan
Bruce Tulgan
September 10, 2021
If there is a lag between hiring and day one for a new hire, it is important to keep that ...
Every manager is a Chief Retention Officer
When people leave their jobs voluntarily it is almost always--at least in part--directly attributable to their relationship (or lack thereof) with their immediate leader, manager, or supervisor: Their manager fails to regularly keep track of what's going on, but still makes important or sweeping decisions which affect everyone on the team. The...
Read More
How to structure new employee on-boarding for day one, week one, and the first three months
New hires almost always walk in the door with a spark of excitement. The question is: do you pour water on that spark, or gasoline? If you want to ignite the spark, focus on them from the moment they walk in the door. Day one is the most important day. Then week one. Then months one, two, and three. Picture the United States Marine Corps and the...
Read More
Stay in close dialogue between hiring and day one
If there is a lag between hiring and day one for a new hire, it is important to keep that person engaged in the meantime and set them up for a solid start. Maintain a high level of communication during the intervening time, not just from Human Resources or some other anonymous corporate office, but from the hiring manager(s) and the teamthe e...
Read More
When hiring, try to scare the best candidates away
When hiring in a highly competitive environment, it is critical to try to scare the best candidates away. Yes, you read that right. Let me explain why. The biggest mistake hiring managers make, particularly when hiring in the midst of a talent shortage, is continuing the 'attraction campaign' until the candidate has accepted the job, and s...
Read More
How to build and diversify your staffing supply chain
If step one to gaining a strategic hiring advantage in 2021 is to define your employer value proposition, step two is to build and diversify your staffing supply chain. Depending on your optimal staffing mix, you may build your staffing supply chain using a mix of internal professionals, expert external partners, and technology. Questions you s...
Read More
How to define your value proposition as an employer in today's talent wars
If you want to gain a strategic advantage in today's talent wars, step one is defining a clear value proposition to potential new hires. Decide who or what you want to be as an employer and tell your story loud and clear. This should not just be in terms of mission, vision, and culture, but specifically in terms of the work your organization ...
Read More
The Top Causes of Employee Turnover in 2021
There is an acute talent shortage facing employers of all sizes, in all industries. While there are plenty of short-term causes, presumably temporary, the costs to employers will be huge. Not only must organizations fill the gaps with new hires, they must also ensure their best employees stay. Rather than seeking to reduce turnover, employers mu...
Read More
You can't afford to ignore today's talent wars
The talent wars of 2021-2022 will be defined by talent shortages and high rates of voluntary turnover, reflecting a confluence of factors exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Employers must be wary of the impending wave of employee turnover they will soon face. Chronic understaffing is already a problem many organizations are facing. When open-...
Read More
Hiring Challenges in 2021--Short-Term and Long-Term Factors
After huge recent fluctuations in the job market--record low unemployment in the months before the Covid-19 pandemic, record job losses during, and record re-hiring in the aftermath--employers are facing more severe talent shortages than any time since we at RainmakerThinking began our workplace research in 1993. While the particulars differ by ...
Read More
The 'yes' people you want to avoid at work
There are three components to a successful "yes" at work: It's well-timed It's thoroughly considered It's tied to a specific, actionable commitment We have all known someone with a reputation for saying "yes" to any new request or project, without considering these three components of a good yes. Maybe they want to establish themselves as help...
Read More