The Employee Value Proposition

At a Financial Services Forum meeting yesterday on the Employee Value Proposition. Some notes I made…

Dr Susan Hetrick from The People Forum said her research shows that the drivers of employee engagement vary by generation and by geography. So what engages a 25-year-old in the Netherlands will be very different to what engages a 50-year-old in New York. She argued that organisations are missing a trick by not segmenting their audiences and targeting engagement activity according to age and geography.
Professor Graeme Martin, (in an awesome brown suede jacket), Director of the Centre for Reputation Management through People at the University of Glasgow, argued that employee engagement can be a woolly concept, is poorly defined and means different things to different people and organisations.
Prof Martin argued there are four types of employee engagement:

  • engagement with your work
  • engagement with each other
  • engagement with your organisation
  • engagement with your industry

Each is distinct and can be measured using existing tools and techniques.
Doug Brown, the Director of HR at Heineken, showed us a case study. At Heineken their employee engagement strategy aims to:

  • engender belief in the organisation, its goals and its leadership
  • develop understanding of your contribution to the plan and motivate you to do it
  • help you become ambassadors for the Heineken brand

Doug showed us a number of employee engagement interventions they did around Heineken’s external sponsorships of things like European rugby.
Heineken use the Hay survey tool to measure engagement, which enables them to see which areas of the business and which managers are doing well / not so well on engagement scores.
John Smythe, Director of Engage for Change, talked about his year spent at McKinsey researching what engages employees. He reiterated the findings in his book CEO: the Chief Engagement Officer and in his new book on employee engagement, that it is a culture of distributed leadership, co-creation and devolved accountability that best engages most workforces.
He emphasised you need to be very clear about what the business need, and the business outcome, of any employee engagement activity is before you embark on it. He stated he was equivocal about the worth of employee engagement surveys.

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