Creating a Value Proposition is elementary business practice. Organisations need to understand why their offering is important to their customers, and define why customers should choose them over anyone else. A VP workshop is an exercise almost all businesses would have participated in at some point. But what about the VP for employees? They will all have a value proposition, but few will have had the opportunity to properly define it. Yet, having a workforce of individuals who have a clear understanding of what it is that they can offer, and an ability to articulate what that is and why it’s important, is actually a really powerful thing for a business, just as much as the employee.
Why it’s beneficial to employees
Knowing you can do something really well invariably bolsters your confidence, not just in terms of that activity, but also on a broader plane as well. But many people first have to work hard to fully appreciate what it is that they do well, humbleness is a positive quality in many cases, but not when defining your value proposition.
Sometimes it is only by uncovering what we are truly good at, that our direction becomes clear. It can be easy to misinterpret our true skillset when not given the opportunity to define it to ourselves, and this is one of the most common reasons for disharmony in our careers – people end up in the wrong jobs because they don’t fully appreciate where their value lies.
However when you take time to define your Value Proposition, and really question what it is you’re good at, and enjoy, it can help reveal a much more appropriate path for the application of your skills. This in turn leads to greater satisfaction and improved performance.
Just as having a clear value proposition will aid in uncovering the best direction for an individual to follow, it also helps increase focus and commitment to that purpose. Once you fully understand and can articulate what it is that you excel at, and where best to apply this skill, it creates a sense of clarity that helps keep you focussed on the task at hand. If for example you know you are excellent at customer relations, but less skilled at selling, then it enables you to focus your efforts on building rapport with customers, and handing over the sales aspect to someone with the necessary skills. By applying your skills in a high focussed way, it enables far better outcomes and leads to less time wasted on extraneous tasks that add little value to you or the business.
By building confidence in your skillset, defining a clear direction and purpose, and becoming highly focussed in your approach, the natural outcome will be career development. The form this takes can vary wildly depending on personal preferences, as well as your unique skills, but when you have all of the information above clearly defined, it helps create a path forward as well as making it easier to follow it.
Benefits to employers
As an employer, understanding who within your business possesses the key skills necessary to growth and advancement is essential. But this can only be achieved if employees actually have this information themselves, and this is where encouraging them to define the VP can be really useful. Once they have a clearer understanding of their value add, assuming they understand the business’ strategy and goals, they can then apply their skills in the most effective way to support the business in reaching them.
Retention and engagement
Retention will always be a challenge for organisations, but when people feel they are truly valued by the organisation, and this is demonstrated by their skills being utilised in the most appropriate way, it helps prevent feelings of boredom and frustration that are common contributors to people leaving.
As highlighted above, helping employees understand their unique VP also opens doors to new opportunities, and assuming those opportunities can be found within your business, then there is less reason for individuals to leave.
At the heart of every business is its people, and unless the people are performing to their maximum, then the business cannot compete in the most effective way with its peers. Making sure employees know, and appreciate the
value they offer to the business will naturally help grow the right talent pool and contribute to retention and engagement, but in addition to this it also gives individuals the confidence to try new things, innovate and experiment using their skills. This in turn leads to greater innovation and competitiveness for the business as a whole.
How to uncover your VP
There are formal processes that companies go through in order to identify and define their value proposition, and while individuals can certainly benefit from such approaches, it is not strictly necessary. If you can participate in a formal workshop it can be highly effective, and the benefits of doing a formal exercise is that it provides a clear framework in which to assess each element of your VP, but this can be done without this input as well.
In essence all that’s required is an ability to create clarity around some key questions:
What is it that you can offer?
Who would benefit most from your expertise?
What are the benefits you/your skills can provide?
What is it that sets you apart from others in your field?
The key, however, is not to stop at the first answer – the best Value Propositions come as a result of intensive and continual probing, always asking why. Once you can stop asking why, or any other questions, you may have unearthed your true Value Proposition, but even then, remember that things change. The skills you hold, the experiences you’ve had and the interests you harbour will evolve over time, so make it part of your development plan to check in with your VP on a regular basis and see what’s changed.