What You Will Learn:
- What is EVP?
- How effective leadership qualities attract and retain top talent?
- Leadership vs. Management
- A list of top leadership qualities
- Leadership communication
- Setting goals and testing your leadership processes
What is EVP?
When candidates consider joining a new company, they look at the employee value proposition (EVP) of their new employer. EVP is the total value to the employee of working for the company. EVP includes salary, benefits, training opportunities, stock values, a company’s brand value, and the quality of its leadership. EVP is the perception of what the employee will gain by joining the employer.
The EVP serves to define what the organization would most like to be associated with as an employer and defines the “give and get” of the employment deal (the value that employees are expected to contribute with the value that they can expect in return). EVPs have become closely related to the concept of employer branding with the EVP being used to define the underlying “offer” on which an organization’s employer brand is based.— Andrew Collett
How effective leadership qualities attract and retain top talent
If a candidate works for your company, will the experience shine as a highlight on their resume? Will they get to say, in the future, that they worked for a world-renowned visionary leader? The Steve Jobs of their industry? Or will working for a company lower the candidate’s worth?
Employer branding isn’t a “set it and forget it” process. Never stop monitoring your reputation and working to improve your employer brand. That way, your company message will continue to resonate with your target talent.
Tobacco companies are a classic example of a negative EVP. Once, considered huge players in the consumer packaged goods and advertising industries, their favorability waned in the 80s and 90s.
Working for them was no longer something to brag about. Other companies and leaders fall out of fashion as well. And some, like Apple, have rough periods but their EVPs rise again.
EVP Defined: Employee value propositions (EVP) is the total value of an employment offer to an employee. It may also represent the value an employee adds to the bottom line of an employer.
Leadership vs. Management
Managers work hands-on with their teams to create products or services. Leaders inspire those managers. Small business leaders may do both. The leadership skill set is different and broader than task-oriented management skills.
- 80 percent of respondents rated leadership a high priority for their organizations. Deloitte Insights
- Only 14% of CEOs say they have the talent they need to execute their business strategies. Forbes
- 64% of organizations indicate their greatest talent challenge is attracting talent. Brandon Hall Group
- The most important factors in accepting a new job are compensation (49%), professional development (33%), and better work/life balance (29%). LinkedIn
- Organizations that effectively deliver on their EVP can decrease annual employee turnover by 69%. Gartner
- 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason. O.C. Tanner
- The psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees… cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending… Harvard Business Review
A list of the top leadership qualities
“The buck stops here,” was a sign that US President Harry S. Truman kept on his desk. It meant that an issue wouldn’t be passed to someone else to handle. A problem or failure in his government would be acknowledged and managed by Truman. Being accountable and taking responsibility is a true mark of leadership. Leaders may ask for help handling a situation, but they won’t pass on the blame to others. If something happens under their leadership. No matter how distant from them, they step up. Strong leaders believe that everything that happens in their company falls under the broad umbrella of their leadership. Even in a large company the CEO knows they hired the president, who hired the other executives, the other executives hired the managers, the managers hired the operational staff. Even if a receptionist makes an error, a true leader accepts that he bears some responsibility for their mistake. A leader feels everyone in their organization is affected by and connected to their leadership.
Leadership during trying times requires building cultural and psychological protections for employees. One key for creating such safeguards is holding oneself personally accountable for decisions, others’ well-being, and organizational performance.— Robert Sutton, Professor @ Stanford School of Engineering
A true leader also takes full responsibility for their mistakes. They own them and honestly and sincerely acknowledge errors. They apologize and will do so, to junior and senior staff. They will even apologize publicly when appropriate
The person most excited by its mission should lead an organization. Passion and commitment are contagious. A great leader expects their people to be motivated and drives employee motivation with their commitment.
That is what leadership is all about: staking your ground ahead of where opinion is and convincing people, not simply following the popular opinion of the moment.— Doris Kearns Goodwin, Author
A leader shows confidence in their decisions and the direction they take their organizations. They make it clear that they believe wholeheartedly in their choices and have the experience and knowledge to deliver results.
Creative and innovative
Ever-changing natural, market, and political forces require a leader that is able to react and adapt—no matter what happens. Recent current events have made it clear that unprecedented situations reveal the true nature of leaders. Creative and innovative leaders keep moving forward and look for opportunities amid chaos. If they are creative, they will find a way to continue to move forward towards their goals. Even if their upholstery business suddenly has to pivot from creating bespoke furniture for wealthy patrons to making masks to help prevent the spread of a virus.
Stands behind their decisions
Leaders readily make small and large decisions. Even when all outcomes are questionable, a leader makes a choice. True leaders can make rapid choices under pressure if needed.
Delegates and empowers
Effective leaders take responsibility for their whole company without micromanaging. They hand off any task that doesn’t require their specific skill set. They trust more junior staff members to handle other projects. In turn, they empower their staff with their trust. When a leader believes in an employee, that employee is motivated to complete a task. They are also confident they can do it.
All good leaders are connectors. They relate well and make people feel confident about themselves and their leader.— John C. Maxwell, Leadership Expert, The John Maxwell Company
Possesses emotional intelligence and empathy
Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, helped define a new type of intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand unspoken emotions and how feelings inspire behavior. An emotionally intelligent leader reads his staff. They know how to uniquely motivate individuals targeting emotional motivators and payoffs. They can also sense when their team needs a new goal, praise, a break, or perhaps a team-building exercise.
There are some simple ways to promote belonging among employees: Smile at people, call them by name, and remember their interests and family members’ names. Pay focused attention when speaking to them, and clearly set the tone of the members of your team having each other’s backs.— Sunnie Giles, Author
Interacts in-person with their teams
Accessible leaders make themselves visible and available to their employees. They do not isolate themselves away from their staff
Encourages employees to be happy and have a work-life balance
A good leader understands that employees perform better when they have a work-life balance. They encourage their employees to have a life beyond their jobs. They don’t allow them to work long hours or without breaks for rest and food. Though it may be legal to schedule employees without paying them for breaks or giving them lunch breaks, a forward-thinking leader prefers their employees to be rested and nourished.
Effective leaders give their subordinates credit for most achievements. They are quick to take the blame for problems and avoid taking praise for successes. Their pride comes from inspiring their employees to succeed. When they do, they are genuinely proud of them.
Great leaders are proud of their achievements and they understand that they had help along the way. They give credit and are genuinely thankful for their employees’ contributions. They regularly thank them; give praise in person and evaluations, and give others credit publicly.
“While no one should play favorites, it’s powerful for each team member to feel they matter and know you appreciate them and their contribution.”— Tracy Brower, Contributing Writer, Forbes.com
Helps employees grow
Developing their employees’ careers is a priority for great leaders. They are not threatened by having a dynamic team that continues to grow. They mentor their employees and get them any needed training. Their companies provide in-house training and pay for educational programs.
“More empowered teams were also more productive and proactive than less empowered teams and had higher levels of customer service, job satisfaction, and organizational and team commitment.”— Bradley L. Kirkman, Author
Values honesty and integrity
A good leader is honest and values honesty in their team members. They may have to keep corporate secrets on occasion, but when they communicate with their teams or the public, they tell the truth. Dishonest leaders, eventually lose the trust of their teams and the public. Dishonesty can become corrosive to the spirit of an organization and can even lead to legal problems. In many industries, leaders are required to be honest by law. A factory must comply with all OSHA regulations and disclose all the chemicals they have on-site. A publicly traded company must honestly disclose financial information.
Removes obstacles – helps employees to win and achieve
Great leaders want their staff to succeed and grow. They remove obstacles in their path. If an employee makes a reasonable request for new training or equipment, great leaders provide what they need. They also set goals that are achievable to help them have the maximum number of wins.
“To me, a leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.— Brene Brown, Professor
Leaders take hits and keep moving forward. They lead by example. This doesn’t mean they never let their people see them struggle with a problem. They let their people know they are human and face challenges too. However, they prove challenges can be overcome by facing challenges as soon as possible—finding solutions even in despair or chaos.
Leaders like Richard Branson aren’t afraid to fail. They explore new ideas and if they don’t succeed, they stop that venture and move on to a new idea. Successful risk takers leap into new adventures, but also know when to cut the cord and move on.
Leaders share their processes with their teams. Transparency inspires confidence and trains staff. An air of mystery may be attractive to a point, but constant, unexpected changes in direction are off-putting. Decision-making that seems to occur in a black box, with no input from employees, hurts morale. Who wants to work somewhere that is in a state of constant secrecy and confusion?
Acts with vision and purpose
A leader always heads toward a clear goal. A leader chooses a goal with a focused intention. They choose a direction with reasons they can explain to their team. Their team may not agree with all of a leader’s choices, but a true leader doesn’t confuse the message. Their vision and purpose are clear.
Hires the best possible people
Strong leaders hire great ethical people to work for them. They don’t hire difficult people or people to do their dirty work, and then ignore their bad behavior because they seem to be effective. True leaders know that a toxic person at any level of the organization is too expensive. Even if they bring in business or are great at cutting costs, they will eventually cost the business they work for too much. Ill-will and lawsuits are not acceptable costs.
Communication Tips for Leaders
- Talk and listen
- Use language appropriate for your audience
- Keep an open mind and listen to those who disagree
Good communicators are equally good at talking and listening. When they talk, they use language appropriate to their audience. A surgeon may speak in technical terms to other medical staff. Speaking to all their staff, a hospital administrator should choose language appropriate for cooks and oncologists. The surgeon, and the hospital administrator, should listen to everyone that works for them —taking stock of what each person contributes.
“Being a good listener is absolutely critical to being a good leader; you have to listen to the people who are on the front line. –— Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group
A great leader wants to communicate with and learn from everyone. An extraordinary insight, revenue saving, or generating idea, could come from anyone in an organization. Great leaders know this.
Great communicators also listen with open minds to those that challenge or oppose them. They set their egos aside long enough to hear the opinions of others. They know they may be right. They may also have a better understanding of day-to-day operational issues than their leader does. Sometimes you can’t execute an amazing idea without overhauling multiple operational systems. An executive might not be familiar with operational details.
Good communicators also teach their subordinates to be good leaders. They communicate what they have already learned—they don’t hoard their wisdom. They want the best, most informed staff working for them. They aren’t afraid of possible competition down the line. Leaders know if they stay open and keep learning, they will always stay ahead of those they are mentoring. They enjoy mentoring.
Setting goals and testing your leadership processes
It’s not enough to set goals; a leader has to assess progress toward those goals. When you decide on a goal, you should also determine how to measure your success.
Some goals are difficult to measure. For instance, if you want to improve your organization’s morale, it may be tough to judge your progress. You may need to do ongoing surveys to collect your employees’ opinions.
“The quality of a leader cannot be judged by the answers he gives, but by the questions he asks.”— Simon Sinek, Author
Operational tasks and initiatives may have outcomes that are easier to measure. You can assign tangible milestones to track your success.
Most assigned tasks have one of the following outcomes:
- Employees undertake tasks with enthusiasm
- Employees undertake tasks without enthusiasm
- Employees complete tasks on time
- Employees complete tasks late
- Employees do not complete tasks
- Employees refuse tasks and may challenge the leader’s request
Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine the success of large and small initiatives in any department. A KPI could be days without an accident, a sales number, or the completion of a task once or regularly.
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