Corporate Executive Board
Maintaining Employment Value Proposition
Employee disengagement continues to be a critical issue across a wide variety of organizations as they work through the economic downturn. One out of four employees was disengaged at the end of the first half in 2009 according to a survey of over 61,000 employees by the Corporate Leadership Council, a program of the Corporate Executive Board. One of the main causes of this disengagement is directly linked to the massive change employees have experienced when it comes to their Employment Value Proposition (EVP)—or the value that employees gain by working for a particular organization, 82% of employees indicated that their EVP has trended downwards quite dramatically in the past six months due to reasons such as layoffs, organizational restructurings, and shifts in managers.
The reality is that the anticipation of future organizational change is more detrimental to EVP than the change they have already gone through. After a downsizing, most employees expect the other shoe to drop—66% of employees who have gone through one organizational change expect another one to occur within the next six months.
To put a finer point on it, employees who have experienced a significant organizational change but don't expect any more changes demonstrate roughly the same performance levels as those employees who haven't experienced any changes according to a new study from the Corporate Executive Board . Further, employees who have experienced change but don't expect more changes are 20% less likely to leave. In contrast, employees who expect future changes have performance levels that fall by more than 15% compared to their peers and are more than 30% more likely to leave.
Further, based on CEB's research results, more often than not, the approaches being leveraged for "survivor syndrome" seem to miss the mark. In response these changes, many organizations have taken steps to reengage their employers with their existing "survivor syndrome". As organizations experience change, they also face addressing questions about ensuing rounds of changes.
Executives face the challenge of how to manage the changes that they may have to make without damaging current employee performance levels, increasing retention risks and maintaining a solid EVP. The Corporate Executive Board believes three strategies are substantially more effective at making this work.
Rebuild and ensure the networks of your employees work more effectively with their new peers to help them perform through periods of change.
Create ways to help employees self-select into a set of activities that more effectively aligns with their job interests to keep them focused through periods of change.
Be upfront about the level of stability in their organization rather than trying to sugarcoat the situation; inaccurately setting expectations dramatically drives down employee performance.
Organizations that invest time and energy now to rebuild their EVP will not only benefit by improving employee performance in the current environment, but will also benefit through improved retention as the economy stabilizes