‘Systems’ – a chink in your EVP’s armour

Ask people in an organisation what they think the underlying strengths of their Employer Value Proposition are and, 99 times out of 100 (the first time you ask), you get the typical ..the smart people, the collaborative culture or the fact that it’s a flexible employer. Table stakes stuff.

I have come to learn that whilst all these reasons feel genuinely true to the people that tick those fields in surveys, or give those responses in interviews - it's that systems and processes (informal and formal processes / systemised ways to 'get stuff done') have an enormous, and often overlooked, impact on the employee experience. For example, the process of getting a new plan approved - if it causes frustration, the employee may attribute it to poor management (they disempowered me) or communication (it went quiet for months and then it fizzled out with no explanation). So, ‘systems’ and how things work in the company can easily be overlooked. This is a danger if you rely too heavily on engagement data in your EVP research – I saw this a few months ago with a company indexing high in ‘empowerment’ and ‘pace’, and not alarmingly low on ‘systems and tech to do the role’….but the focus groups revealed how the ONE, MAJOR AND CONSISTENT bug bear was the slow and non-transparent approvals process….it completely eroded trust in leaders and caused enormous frustration in the teams. Enough for some key performers to leave (didn't always show in in exit data either).

Scott Adams quote, goals are for losers, systems are for winners.

I saw this quote yesterday and it really reminded me.  I believe, and see almost daily, that companies can have amazing ‘talent’ or high profile leaders, but it does not guarantee success. The bigger determiner, may well be the systems - seems logical, it’s like have a fast car but no map. Or no wheels (!)

Bringing it back to EVP - and this is really important if you are building things in-house is the need to probe beyond the ‘IT systems’ and tech. This is baked into the TQ process because we know it matters - but I’d encourage you to make sure you understand ‘how work gets done’, the experience of working, which in turn contributes significantly to pillars like culture. It’s often missed in EVPs and as I’ve pointed to, is a major major driver of the experience people have daily - so you gotta get it right!

If you want to talk about EVP and Employer Brand Strategy, give me a shout.

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