Becoming an Employer of Choice

The challenge to fill key positions has grown since the demand for qualified and motivated people now greatly surpasses the talent pool’s actual choices. The employer that is able to attract the most talented people will, of course, have an advantage in the market. Some organizations have already become employers of choice, and as a result, sit happily with a competitive advantage.

There are many factors that lead to becoming an employer of choice. The attributes here are not intended to be exhaustive but simply reflect characteristics of organizations known for creating a unique brand and are a great place to work.

  • Make universal values foundational to your organizations culture. People will align themselves with employers that represent their values. These values can look different for various organizational cultures but must always include a few absolutes:

o Integrity and trust – Organizations must have the integrity to stay true to themselves, and employees must be able to trust those values permeate every level of leadership.

o Consistent and truthful communication – Truthful communication does not mean full transparency in everything - it simply means that what is communicated is true. An employer of choice is by definition a no spin zone.

o Good leadership is taught, encouraged, and practiced.

o Everyone is treated with respect and dignity in all circumstances.

  • Build an organization that enhances opportunities and has the ability to provide a good future for their employees. A healthy and growing business will provide opportunities and benefits to shareholders and employees; therefore, a solid business strategy is foundational to being an employer of choice. However, there are additional items that can make a significant difference in being an employer of choice:

o Opportunities for Growth. Help employees move up in the organization. This may mean trying your best to promote internally whenever possible or other such goals to encourage your staff.

o Personal and Professional Development. Another aspect of investing in your staff is to provide educational opportunities to help them achieve their goals. This can include sponsored seminars, tuition reimbursement, or even a skilled trade’s apprenticeship program.

  • Rewards for high achievement. If we want to attract and retain the best employees, we must reward the best employees.

o Create a vision of something bigger. If we are honest, we have to admit that at a foundational level, we work for money. If we didn’t need money, we would probably find a meaningful hobby or volunteer opportunities. However, the choice we make on where we work and how satisfied we are in our work is often because we experience satisfaction beyond our basic compensation. We want to be part of something with meaning. Meaning in our work can come from many sources - it may be the relationships we develop, the vision the company has for growth, a new technology that enhances people’s lives, working toward greater levels of efficiency which raised the overall standard of living, or in the case of agriculture, feeding the world.

Becoming an employer of choice is an achievable goal for most any organization, but it will require strategy and effort. It won’t happen overnight; in fact, it will likely require years of effort, but it will reap benefits well beyond the effort and the time dedicated to its achievement.

+Shawn Miller is a consultant with Morrison, providing business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), special projects, and has greatest expertise in recruiting and People Services that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Shawn directly at smiller@morrisonco.net or via telephone at (530) 809-4680 ext. 213.

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