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The employee value proposition is fundamental to retaining employees. Here's how to build it into a business strategy for the future.

Business Insider logo Business Insider 1/26/2022 bnguyen@insider.com (Britney Nguyen)
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  • Experts found a company's mission and values are more important to workers than compensation and benefits. 
  • Companies need to connect with their workforce to understand what's important to their employees. 
  • This was part of Insider's "Leading Into the Future of Work" event, presented by Adobe, on Jan. 20, 2022. 

Since April 2021, millions of workers across industries have left jobs for various reasons, including feeling overworked and underpaid. The "Great Resignation" is now being reframed as the "Great Reshuffle," as workers aren't leaving the labor market but instead finding better opportunities that align with their needs.

During Insider Events' "Leading Into the Future of Work" conference presented by Adobe, panelists — moderated by Britney Nguyen, an Insider careers fellow — said a company's mission and values are more important to workers than compensation and benefits. 

"Clearly, the issue of mental health and well-being is something that's going to rise to the top and needs to be included in the business strategy and the value proposition," said Darren Burton, chief human resources officer at KPMG US.

Companies should focus on purpose, values, and equity and inclusion, he added. "People are really evaluating where they want to be able to contribute their talents and spend their time. They want to connect to an organization aligned with those beliefs."

Brian Offutt, chief workforce innovation and operations officer at Weber Shandwick, thinks compensation and benefits are not enough.


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Offutt said Weber Shandwick's internal research shows that mission and values matter, and in the time of what the firm calls the "Great Reappraisal," people realize they can have a job that gives them other things. 

"If compensation and benefits are table stakes and non-negotiable, the other things that I think people find to be non-negotiable are that they need to work in a workplace they know will take care of them," Offutt said. 

Weber Shandwick's consulting division, United Minds, recently surveyed 2,700 people across industries. "What we have found is that there are three things that are going to drive people to make decisions about joining and staying at places of work," Offutt said. 

One is the sense of meaningful work, where the work that employees do allows them to align with their values and purpose in life. The second is that workers want autonomy and balance. "It's not just about the work schedule," Offutt said, "but how someone organizes their life to do everything important to them."

The third thing that matters to people, Weber Shandwick calls "deep-fun," meaning intellectual engagement. "If people get to do work that they would describe as interesting, satisfying, cool, or meaningful on an intellectual level, that in turn, turns into emotional engagement, and that's what we mean by "deep-fun," Offutt said.

Employees also need to take responsibility for the value proposition and ensure they're holding their companies and leaders accountable for creating the kind of work environment people will feel good about being part of, Burton said. 

Leaders across industries should recognize that life has changed significantly, he added. "They need to connect with their workforce and truly understand what's important to them. They have to ensure that they're changing policies and practices in a way that is going to resonate with the talent that they need for their organizations to be successful." 

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