Professional Development in the Human-Centric Workplace

by Sheila Mulholland
February 22, 2023

Learning and development initiatives have more impact than ‘simply’ upskilling the existing workforce. The consequences for employee retention are clear: Employees who do not feel that they are being supported in growing their skills and career at their current company are more likely to depart.

In designing a workplace environment that puts human needs at its core, leaders need to consider more than daily staff responsibilities. Although benefits like PTO and health insurance remain key levers in attracting new talent, it’s often worth the investment to offer candidates professional perks that don’t involve compensation.

As Kellogg of South Asia discovered in the course of revising their employee value proposition (EVP), the organization needed to connect with candidates who closely aligned with Kellogg’s own values, which Kellogg wisely highlighted in their revamped EVP. Those candidates who are a fit arrive on the job already receptive to further connection efforts within Kellogg via learning and development initiatives.

Revamp Your Employee Value Proposition

An organization’s EVP is a term used to refer to the holistic set of tangible and intangible perks that a business offers to employees. 

An EVP is more than just a quick statement, and modern businesses can and do add their spins for more appeal to prospective applicants. There are as many ways to craft an EVP as there are organizations, so locate many examples of different tones, moods, or benefits. Look at organizations in your industry, as well as others outside of your space, for inspiration.

Nike, for example, uses their EVP — “We lead. We invent. We deliver. We use the power of sport to move the world.” — to showcase their position as a market leader in the athletic equipment space, and to match the go-getting energy of their incoming hires. 

Meanwhile, AirBnB highlights values of inclusivity and diversity, stating their services (and employees) “create a world where anyone can belong anywhere,” a moving and inspiring appeal.

Mind the (Skill) Gaps of the Digital Imperative 

After clarifying your EVP, it’s worth addressing skill gaps within the current workforce. The human-focused workplace views these gaps as opportunities to be wisely navigated, not liabilities to be discharged. 

Plainly put, in 2023 technological literacy is vital to success. The organization must implement technologies that work well with its processes, and the employees who execute those processes must be comfortable working with any modern solution that satisfies business requirements. This requires a median level of digital skill — if your team is lagging, it is critical to provide training on basic technologies, as well as training for specific tasks. 


Make A Realistic Assessment of Skill Gaps 

It is tempting (albeit erroneous) to divide the workforce into skill groups based on age, presuming that the ‘digital natives’ now graduating and entering the workforce are completely comfortable with technology, and older employees will always be behind. The smarter solution is to assess each group’s needs realistically; while older workers may need assistance with technology, they’re often better in terms of soft skills that recent grads haven’t yet had time to develop.