How to be an Employer of Choice

Monday, October 21, 2013 - 07:36

By Leon Gettler

How do you make your organisation stand out in a crowded marketplace? Become an “employer of choice”, one recognised for treating employees exceptionally well, creating opportunities, and instituting work/life policies and benefits on an organisation-wide basis. With the skills shortage, it also helps organisations attract and retain talent. But what do managers have to do?

First, managers have to ask themselves why people leave organisations. Usually, it’s because of a lack of opportunity, dissatisfaction with work conditions, pay and benefits that are out of whack with the rest of the market and a lack of confidence in management or lack of empowerment to successfully perform job tasks. Get rid of that and it will be the first step to becoming an employer of choice.

Business Tasmania lists a few of the most obvious things the company has to provide: attractive salary packaging options, flexible work options and hours, additional paid personal leave, employee health and wellbeing initiatives, leadership development programs and mentoring or coaching programs, training and personal development opportunities, recognition, supporting events in the community and fun social events.
Job seekers are drawn to companies for many reasons. Some of the obvious enticements would include financial reward, job security and the opportunity for career progression.

People are also attracted to employers that offer a good work/life balance, strong company culture, quality training and development packages and flexible working conditions.

The recruitment specialists at Hays have another piece of advice: when you next review your company brochure, read it as if you were a potential employee. What messages would you get from it? Does “the company” sound as though it supports development of its staff? Does it sound like an aggressive employer? Which might not be a bad thing as it attracts individuals who function well in that environment.

Another recruitment firm Executive People says organisations wanting that sort of recognition as an employer of choice need to first of all pay close attention to what employees really want. Is it about having a good manager? Working on challenging projects? Being recognised? Learning all about the leading edge of technology, products, ideas and business? Having autonomy and control? That means managers really have to drill deep into what’s going on in the workforce and try to understand what’s driving employees. They have to get out there and talk to them.

Managers should also try to create a corporate culture that isn’t 100 per cent corporate. That means letting the employees create some of the culture themselves, giving them more autonomy and freedom to set the direction.

Managers also have to get rid of silos. Information sharing and collaboration is the best way to get everyone working together. It’s also the best way to get rid of office politics which is the killer in many workplaces.

They should also get rid of bureaucracy and obstacles and make sure they hire people who best fit the company’s culture.