There are several reasons to have an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) i.e.: retention, attraction and productivity. Unemployment is at a high but the percentage of employees exhibiting high discretionary effort has decreased by more than half since 2005.  Although the percentage of employees who intend to remain is steadier, the number of high potentials who intend to stay has dropped to 21% (CLC 2010).  This questions the effectiveness of the current EVP's.

These are unsettling times for businesses, and employees which have created cracks in the EVP.  The Corporate Leadership Council (CLC) does not recommend to promise stability, but to just set stability expectations and give line managers guidance for how to manage simple communications.

EVP Research by CLC proposes 5 categories: Rewards, Opportunities, People, Work and Organization and their research highlights the top preferences to attract and retain employees.  I'm not going to go through the design and implementation of an EVP here, it is context and company specific.  Please feel free to contact me if you have individual questions.  However, there are a number of common levers.


Source: CLC Human Resource 2010

There are a couple of good recommendations, but the purpose of this article is to challenge how we view the EVP; yes even the CLC.   If we keep measuring and managing the incomplete picture, we will keep on getting the incomplete answer and hence output.   The research between job satisfaction and job performance at best has shown a limited positive relationship, and at worse a negative one.   The variance in relationship is between r = -.39 to .86; for example Chapman & Chapman 1969. Vroom examined the relationships between job satisfaction and job performance across 20 studies and established a median correltaion of r=.14,  Petty et al  r =.23 and Muchinshky 1985 r = .17 (Petty, McGee & Cavendar 1984) (Iaffaldano & Muchinsky 1985) (Vroom 1964).

One simple explanation is that we do not go to work as one person and come home as a different one. 

The EVP’s make this assumption, albeit there is work-life balance and links with health but, this is not tackling the whole person.  To add some research that demonstrates the strength of research between happiness and contentment in life, and not just at work with job performance.  Cropanzano 2000 proposes that the weakness in the relationship is due to the innacurate measure of satisfaction, it is too narrow, which is consistent with others in the field (Wright & R 2000)(Fisher 1980, Organ 1977).  They found that when a measure of happiness was used instead of job satisfaction it identified a stronger relationship between performance r = .32. Staw, Sutton, and Pelled 1994 went further to include employees overall positive emotion and pay r =.24.

If this is the case we need to better understand what makes people happy in life, and how can great companies influence this process.  There is already existing research on happiness from the psychology field.  OD professional just need to look across psychology, social science and business.

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