We were thrilled to have Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., on our Let Go & Lead podcast this week. Johnny is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and a global thought leader on all things related to workers, workplaces and work. Below are three of our core takeaways from the episode. To listen to his full conversation, click here.
1. When it comes to your Employee Value Proposition (EVP), honesty really is the best policy.
Every organization is unique, with its own particular blend of values, norms, leadership styles and priorities. This makes some people better fits for an organization’s culture than others — and that’s a good thing! Your culture doesn’t need to be a fit for everyone. It just needs to work effectively for those who choose to join. Johnny sees many businesses struggling to adopt this principle. In their recruitment, onboarding and subsequent employee experience, they fail to properly convey to prospective and current employees the elements that truly define and differentiate their cultures. It’s better to be candid and transparent in articulating your culture drivers than to deliver a false bill of goods. As Johnny puts it, “[if] you sold them on X and you deliver Y,” you will end up struggling to find and keep the best employees.
2. Diversity is easy; inclusion is a lot harder.
Employing diverse workforces is important to the health of our companies, and to the prospect of a more equitable society. But it’s one thing to recruit diversity — of race, gender, age, thought, experience and more — and it’s another to operate inclusively. Companies that are investing in seeking and attracting more diverse workforces need to be equally committed to delivering employee experiences that give every employee a feeling of safety and empowerment. You can’t leverage the advantages of diversity without a culture of inclusion, and if the two entities don’t exist together, it’s difficult to retain diverse talent. We’re seeing this already.
3. Communicating your company’s identity is a bigger challenge — and opportunity — than ever before.
In today’s war for talent, businesses are feeling pressure to clearly and effectively communicate unprecedentedly complex thoughts about who they are and what they stand for. They need to not only provide clear windows into their cultures and employee experiences, but convey their points of view on a range of social issues.
This is placing a new premium on thoughtful, truthful and nuanced corporate communication — communication that acknowledges and speaks to complicated thoughts and issues. As Johnny says, no employee experience is inherently “good” or “bad”— the question is whether you’ re being sincere and clear about the experience you offer, and helping people who fit your culture find you.