So Leaders: What’s your value proposition to your followers?
“The employee is regarded by the employer merely in the light of his value as an operative. His productive capacity alone is taken into account.” ~ Leland Stanford
Compelling Value Proposition
In the world of modern sales and marketing, providing customers and clients with a compelling value proposition is the maxim.
- Companies strive to engage by enticing potential customers with a vision of what life might be like if their pain were removed or they could achieve their dream.
- Every effort is expended to nurture the customer until they beg to find out how this dream can be realised.
- Then and only then is the solution provided and heaven help the company that fails to deliver the promised value.
- This is not an equal exchange of value because modern consumers expect value greater than the money they pay.
Why then do many employers not have the same value proposition approach to their most valuable capital, their employees?
“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” ~ Warren G. Bennis
Making Value Choices
All organisations want to recruit and retain high potential internally motivated staff to achieve the company mission.
>>> So what’s in it for the employee and why should they choose you over other opportunities.
>>> More importantly, what is it you do for them that would make them want to stay? (It is not just about money…)
>>> What is your value proposition for them and how do you intend to deliver it persistently and consistently?
Making Monetary Choices
To paraphrase Vernon Hill at Metro Bank, how do you turn your staff into fans not just your customers?
Telefonica O2 said, “An organisation that does not enlist its own staff to its ‘fan base’ is not maximising its long-term value.”
Does it make a financial difference?
Towers Perrin-ISR’s 2006 findings four:
“Those companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2 per cent over a period of 12 months, whilst those companies with low engagement scores saw operating income decline by 32.7 per cent over the same period.“
“Over a 12 month period, those companies with high engagement scores demonstrated a 13.7 per cent improvement in net income growth whilst those with low engagement saw net income growth decline by 3.8 per cent.“
Making Value Propositions
You can find much more on the business benefits of a values proposition to employees in a report to the UK Government “Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement”
So, let’s look at the employer/employee relationship at its most basic.
An employee offers their effort and expertise to an organisation and in turn they gain reward most usually but not always in the form of money. Balancing the equation is the hard part. The employee wants a fair reward for a certain level of input and the employer wants the maximum amount of input from the employee for as little as is reasonable to pay them.
It might be expressed as:
Motivation = Perception of benefits minus Perception of costs
The ideal situation arises when an employee invests “above and beyond the call of duty” just because they are motivated to do so by other factors outside of remuneration. Somehow their internal motivation has been triggered and they are self-sustaining. What value can you the employer give to your staff which would likely catalyse this behaviour or at least create the environment for it to develop? Peter Drucker said:
“The true business of every company is to make and keep customers.” ~ Peter Drucker
But he also said:
“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”
If we synthesise the two we might get:
“The true business of every company (organization) is to make it easy for its staff to make and keep clients”
The Tangible and Intangible Factors
The value given to followers comprises both tangible and intangible factors.
Key contributions might be:
- Authentic listening
- Identification of direct interferences restricting employees’ capability to achieve goals
- Mitigating or removing such interferences
This is essentially the same thinking used daily by sales people to convert a prospect into a customer. Warm the prospect up first with sincere enquiry to identify their pains and dreams and then explain how the pain can be removed or their dreams achieved by your product or service.
You can find a compilation of the personal visions of 12 TED speakers on the subject of inspiring, values proposition-based leadership here.
Sellling The Vision
Ask yourself tehse questions:
- So, how might your task as a leader alter if you considered your purpose was to “sell” the vision of working (and staying) with your organisation as a value proposition?
- What value would they receive in “buying” into your offer?
- How can you maintain, nuance and increase the value they receive in order to keep them?
This does not mean you roll over and give more than you can afford but we are not just talking about the money here. As has been proven so many times the last thing you talk about with sales prospects is the cost the first is what will change for them and by how much. Why would you expect the mindset of your staff to be different?
Your key actions for today
- In today’s conversations with staff did you add value or take it?
- Are your organisation’s job adverts value propositions?
- Review one report’s job description today – on a scale of 1 to 10 is this a value proposition or a description of demands (i.e. tasks and responsibilities).
Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern Management ~ William A. Cohen PhD
For those will an interest in basic research on the psychology of business:
Harter, Hayes and Schmidt (Gallup, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and University of Iowa) Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™
Image Sources: businesslaunchpad.org.uk