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Employee Value Propositions Struggle to Keep Pace with Generational Shifts

There are five generations active in the workforce. Each has different expectations of their workplace and what they need to succeed.

Right now, there are five generations active in the workforce. Each has different expectations of their workplace and what they need to succeed. For employers, this creates a juggling act when constructing an employee value proposition for audiences with different mindsets, perspectives, wants and needs.

When done right, recruitment and retention are given a much-needed boost. However, when it falls short, vacancies may linger and turnover can increase.

What is an Employee Value Proposition?

An employee value position tells potential candidates and current employees what’s great about working for an organization.

TalentLyft defines it as “the balance of the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance.” More than a pay cheque, TalentLyft goes on to note the five most important building blocks of a successful employee value proposition are:

  1. Compensation – This includes salary satisfaction, compensation system satisfaction, raises and promotions, fairness and more.

  2. Benefits – This includes time off, holidays, retirement support, flexibility and more.

  3. Career – This includes the ability to progress and develop, stability, evaluation systems, feedback and more.

  4. Work environment – This includes recognition, autonomy, work-life balance, challenges and more.

  5. Culture – This includes understanding goals, comprehension of plans, leadership, support, collaboration, social responsibility, trust and more.

Why an Employee Value Proposition is Important

It’s nearly cliché at this point to say that attracting a talented workforce is harder than ever – but it is! A competitive employee value proposition can do a lot of the heavy lifting with prospective candidates and existing staff.

A solid employee value proposition answers “What’s in it for me?” It allows the employee and the employer to see if they are a good fit for each other in the long term. It can also increase satisfaction and job performance.

The Generational Challenge

Each generation places different weighting on the components of an employee value proposition so a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective.

Older generations may seek stability and retirement support. Their younger counterparts may look for flexibility, purpose and alignment with values.

Employers are left struggling to balance what they offer with who have in the workforce today and who they want in the future.

How to Appeal to Different Generations

As in much of life, a great place to start is listening. Find out what your current employees say is the best about working for the organization through surveys, one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Promote that in job ads, on your website and anywhere else your brand is consumed by the workforce.

Emphasize the parts of your employee value proposition that are most relevant to the audience you’re speaking to at the time. For example, if you’re running a recruitment ad on Tik Tok, odds are the audience is younger so put forward flexibility and company values.

Stay authentic. Be true to who you are and what you do to attract talent who are aligned. Your employee value proposition should match the reality of working at your organization to achieve long-term success with all generations.


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