August 23

What Makes for an Employer of Choice?

What is an Employer of Choice? It is a business who consistently attracts A-grade candidates and retains top notch talent. Why does it matter if you are an employer of choice? Consider the costs involved in hiring new employees, and consider that for most businesses hiring new staff can be decidedly hit and miss.

The search for talent with the necessary skills and experience to add value to a organisation has becoming a seemingly endless round of recruitment, hire, train, then fire when things don’t work out. (Rinse and repeat.)

Recruitment is often a matter of throwing out a line and hoping against hope of landing a big fish. The reality is that for most businesses recruitment comes down to choosing from whatever candidates turn up CV in hand and meet the basic requirements of the positions to be filled. But where are the superstars, those candidates who when hired immediately start hitting sixes from day one? They’re already working for Employers of Choice.

What characterizes an Employer of Choice? You’re maybe thinking it all comes down to money. That it is a case of he who pays top dollar gets their pick the top candidates. It should go without saying that employees should be properly remunerated for the skills and experience they bring to the table. But an Employer of Choice is not just the one that pays the most. Instead Employers of Choice not only reward their employers with fair wages, but they also create a work culture that confers recognition through training, strives for excellence, challenges employees to be more, and makes employees genuine stakeholders in the business.

1. Recognition Through Training

With the Millennial Generation, nothing is sacred. It used to be that it was taboo to discuss your salary with others, but with Gen-Ys happy to broadcast the intimate details of their lives on Facebook and Twitter, they feel nothing about discussing how much they earn with friends. Word can get around that a business doesn’t pay well, so all business need to be mindful that they pay wages that are comparable to what competitors are paying and on par with the going rate in their industry. But money isn’t everything. Money may pay the bills, but what feeds the soul is recognition. Workers want to know how their efforts contribute to the success of the business and they want to be be recognised for it. Employers afford recognition with “Most Valuable Employee” programmes and incentives schemes. But Employers of Choice do better. There is no better way to confer recognition on a team member than by investing in their future with the company. Employers of Choice do this by actively scouting for leadership potential in their ranks, and then offering additional training to realize that potential. Leadership training does two things for a business: It”s a way of investing in the long term health of the business by promoting continuity in leadership, but it also cultivates commitment on the part of the employee. If you invest in your employees, they will invest themselves in your business.

2. Pursuit of Excellence

Everyone want to be part of the in-crowd; those who are heralded as the best of the best. Ambitious candidates want to be associated with names who are leaders, or have won industry awards. One also wants to work with the good guys, not with the ones getting press for the all wrong reasons. Overwhelming, Employers of Choice have active social responsibility programmes. What is your business’s social responsibility programme? How do your business operations add to the health of the community? Consider your influence in the wider industry. Do you actively go after industry-specific awards, and national and international accreditation? Employers of Choice are loud and proud of what their teams have achieved. Their status and achievements are the result of challenging their employees to do great things and making them stakeholders in the business.

3. Provide Work that is Challenging

While we all dream of sexier jobs, the reality is that most just aren’t. Employers of Choice recognise the value of a good challenge. Challenging work does not mean long days and working on weekends. Challenging work is about pushing employees to meet their potential and then go beyond what they thought was possible. Everyone wants someone to believe in them. If you as an employer show confidence in what your employees can achieve, they will reward you by exceeding your expectations. Throw down an audacious challenge, and dare your employees to meet it. Employers of Choice design work roles that give employees the opportunity to show off what they can really do. It’s not who pays the most or who offers employers the most benefits, rather Employers of Choice have a challenging mission, and a defining vision that employees actively participate in fulfilling.

4. Employees are Stakeholders

The term stakeholders used to be reserved for investors; those who put the capital into the business. But more and more the term is being appropriated to include not only investors but employees, suppliers, and even customers. All these groups have a stake in a company’s success. Many Employers of Choice have done away with the terms “human resources” and “human capital”, as a resource is something to be exploited, and humans rather are not resources but partners and stakeholders. An employee who works for an Employer of Choice doesn’t just feel that they are just along for the ride. Rather they feel included in determining the direction a business is headed. Information is transparent. Even if the news isn’t good, the executive is going to be frank and hide nothing. Employers of Choice don’t have to worry that their employees will abandon them during a downturn. Rather they will stay to help right the vessel. Any why? Because this is their business too. By making employees feel that they are stakeholders, they tie the employees’ future to that of the employer. Buy-in is certain. Success is assured.

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