The belief-driven employee is driven by deeply held values that have been forged or refreshed in the crucible of 2020-21, when the combined impact of the pandemic, a global outcry over systemic racism and other critical social and political issues caused them to examine the values and priorities they will uphold in their lives going forward. As revealed in the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: The Belief-Driven Employee, conducted in early August in seven markets, these beliefs, set against the backdrop of the new multistakeholder business environment, mark a sea change in the world of work. And a new employee-employer social contract is emerging. The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that served you well 18 months ago is likely underperforming in attracting and retaining the talent you need now.

Deeply held beliefs fuel a sense of personal empowerment and employees now expect more from employers, especially on employer commitments to critical social issues of the day.

No wonder, then, that talent is increasingly difficult to snare given their high expectations. Our 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: A World in Trauma also tells us the employee is now considered the most important stakeholder to a company’s long-term success — more than customers or even shareholders. It follows that there is significant ROI if you re-examine your EVP and search for opportunities to align it with the priorities of these empowered employees and recruits.

For example, when these high employee expectations, amplified by high levels of trust in business and specifically “My Employer,” are met, rewards for employers are high. They reap loyalty, advocacy and discretionary effort to do more.

This latest report provides detailed insights on what matters most to employees — from expectations around continuous learning and career progression to the quality of strategic leadership guiding their organizations. It provides very specific data on such expectations, how employers are performing against those expectations and insights helpful to understanding and closing performance gaps, including:

  • Deal breakers for job seekers when choosing a new employer
  • What’s at the root of employee activism
  • What engenders employee advocacy
  • How to align what employees now value most to your employee value proposition
  • Why employers must accelerate their commitments on DEI and ESG initiatives
  • Drivers of employee trust
The scale of change in this post-pandemic world is sweeping and can seem overwhelming to employers in search of top talent. In this “great re-set” of the employee-employer compact, this startling new data can serve as a roadmap on how to rechart your course with employees via a new employee value proposition.

Cydney Roach is Global Chair of Edelman’s Employee Experience team.