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Is your career deal alive and making a difference to your business?


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Most companies have an articulation of their career deal, often called the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which usually appears on corporate career sites and external job adverts. Do you have one in place? Is it strong enough to compete externally and at the same time realistic enough to retain employees once hired? Is it broken?

One of the key findings of our ‘Careers of Tomorrow’ research is that businesses need to define and communicate their career deal. They need to go beyond a career promise in a strap line, to explain to employees how careers work in their organisation. This includes what experience and capabilities are valued, what career support is available, who is accountable for careers, what is the give and the get, and finally, how and when to navigate to the next career opportunity.

If companies can’t articulate and live their career deal, the implications for attracting and retaining talent are considerable. As is the resulting impact on employee engagement and business performance, as the following quotes suggest:

  • “the top 3 things employees want are career, community and cause” (HBR, Feb 2018)
  • “perceptions of career opportunities are the number one driver of global attrition” (Gartner, 2018)
  • “42% of employees are requesting better visibility and transparency about career pathing possibilities” (HR Exchange Network, 2017)

In this roundtable discussion our ‘provocateur’ Diane Tomlinson, who has worked in business as an HRD and Global Talent lead, shared insights from our Careers of Tomorrow research and her observations of working with a range of corporate clients on their career challenges.

Roundtable summary

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Our Careers of Tomorrow research highlighted the importance of the career deal as a key element of an integrated Career Development strategy.

Over the past 25 years, the nature of the deal for professional and managerial staff has shifted from being organisation to more individual owned. As the talent supply tightens, and new generations with different expectations enter the workplace, businesses are increasingly reviewing where to pitch their offer on the career deal continuum.

Part 1: Insight

Participants shared their challenges as they look to design career deals that make a positive difference to their organisations and employees:

  • Adapting the deal as the organisation changes, and bringing people along with this.
  • Raising the profile of the career deal as a key part of the EVP.
  • Crafting a deal that’s authentic, and competitive externally.
  • Communicating the deal to existing employees in a way that’s consistent and coherent.
  • Encouraging all employees to believe they can have a fulfilling career.
  • Ensuring all parties understand and are equipped to play their part.

Part 2: Innovation

Diane Tomlinson, an experienced HRD and Career Consultant offered her insights on the importance of bringing the external career deal in, as well sharing the best of the internal employee experience out.

She posed these questions to the group:

  • How well are you balancing your attraction and retention efforts?
  • Have you made the business case for internal talent mobility versus the effort, risk and expense of external hiring?
  • How well do you understand your external messaging about careers?
  • Do you know what your people think is special about working in your business, and are you fully leveraging this?
  • Are you clear about the different career paths you can offer, and do you have compelling stories to promote them?
  • Does everyone in the company know how career development can work for them?

To help organisations frame their career deal(s), Diane shared 6 growth choices. Discussing these choices, for example the value of breadth versus depth of expertise, confirms the principles upon which career deals are based and then tailored to business needs. The more stakeholders involved in these debates, the higher the level of engagement in the outcomes.

Part 3: Impact

The Career Experience of employees is at the heart of our Career Strategy Model. This idea featured strongly in participants’ takeaways from the meeting:

  • We should treat our employees as the ‘end users’ of our career deals.
  • Career deals are improved by involving key talent groups in their design.
  • Capturing and sharing the ‘employee voice’ brings career journeys to life
  • The right development opportunity can equal career progression.
  • Understanding our cultural and process barriers is key to internal talent mobility.
  • Aligning the EVP with the new career language is vital: lattices, not ladders.

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