By: Ron Guest, Senior Partner, TwoGreySuits
Is it really worth being “An Employer of Choice”?
Being an ‘Employer of Choice’ means your company culture is more enviable to prospective employees than most other companies. In other words, you are doing things and treating people in a way which is positively received and noticed by other people who may not even know anyone who works in your company. In fact being an ‘Employer of Choice’ is a big business itself with many companies having ‘prestigious’ lists you can qualify to be on, such as one of the ‘Best Managed Companies.’ This entitles you to use a recognized logo to this effect, which potential employees would know is in some way valuable. The way in which companies qualify to be on these lists are as different as the makeup of companies that are on the list. I have seen first-hand where certain companies in my view should not qualify for these lists, but, they do.
My simple point here is that it is good for business to be an ‘Employer of Choice’ and you don’t necessarily need to have a certain logo saying this or be on any list to ‘prove’ it. Every company should have an ‘EVP – Employee Value Proposition.’ This is a listing of all the great reasons to work for your company. This EVP should then be communicated to all employees and also placed on your website recruitment section. This same list can be on any company sponsored social media site. I am hearing a lot these days about how hard it is to hire really good people. Well, really good people are out there, but they may not know about you or your EVP. Things that could be on your EVP list could be: 35 hour work week, 3 weeks’ vacation to start, individual development plans for employees, enhanced benefits, clear career paths, pay level philosophy, flex time, car-pooling, paid highway tolls, free parking, professionally trained managers, sound leadership, consistency in growth and or profitability, profit sharing, training opportunities, no probation period, immediate benefits, etc. The combination of these will give potential employees a good insight into the company culture. Having employee testimonials are also very powerful indeed, simply asking employees why they joined the company or what keeps them there.
Culturally there are things you can do to be seen as an ‘Employer of Choice’. One of the easiest measures is if employees genuinely look forward to coming to work every day. Sure we all have our ups and downs but if employees dread coming to work, it’s a problem worth looking in to. Great company cultures are when employees are highly engaged in their work, turnover is low and people are given performance feedback and have the opportunity to strive and grow in their careers. We all know the main reason employees leave their jobs – their direct manager in 8-9/10 cases. So, companies MUST invest in equipping their managers to manage people; this means how to give constructive and positive feedback, coach, and build commitment. Also, if employees see the Company values not being lived up to by management – not good, this news spreads fast and can render your values as simply words on paper. Providing meaningful work to employees is also a key factor. Employees should have a clear line of sight with what they do and how this impacts the department and company goals. They need to clearly understand how work gets done, how work is assigned and how they can grow themselves in their jobs and careers. There is no perfect answer of how to be an Employer of Choice, but it is worth the journey – no question.