Becoming an Employer of
by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia
Competition for good workers is heating up. Employers are waving their arms
- and flags - and saying, "look at me!" In a high stakes game that resembles
kids choosing players for a softball game at school, they cry, "Pick me! Pick
The war for top talent has become fierce. As the need for well-qualified,
high-performing employees intensifies, employers vie to position themselves
as the right place for the kind of people they want. They strive to become
known as an Employer of Choice.
The descriptive phrase, employer of choice, is rapidly becoming more than
just a buzzword; it is representative of a whole new design of corporate culture.
With continued rapid change and tight labor markets, employers will be continually
challenged to locate, attract, optimize, and retain the talent needed to serve
their customers. They must, as a matter of survival, earn the right to be
selected by top talent. Well-qualified workers have lots of choices. As they
contemplate offers that are continually dangled in front of them, they are
much more discerning than most employers give them credit for. Hungry employers
wave fistfuls of cash in their faces, and the top applicants turn up their
noses. They want more than just a lot of cash. Attracting and holding people
today is a bigger issue than just money.
Our research in preparation of writing How to Become an Employer of Choice
produced a list of eight principal factors considered by most workers. They
- The Company. Does the company have a solid history and a good
reputation? Is it stable? Is the company respected in its industry as well
as in the community? Are the products and services worthy - do they have
a positive value for society? Are they produced well and is quality valued?
Is the company socially conscious and environmentally sensitive?
- The Culture. People want to work for a company with high values
and standards. They want a culture of inclusion and a sense of community.
Today's workers are not interested in status barriers. Traditions, rituals,
and history are important as threads that weave together the community.
- Enlightened Leadership. Even though the most influential relationship
in any company is usually between the worker and the worker's immediate
supervisor, people want to be well-led from the top of the organization.
They expect leaders to think and operate strategically always looking to
the future. Senior executives in Employer of Choice companies emphasize
the strategic value of people. Leaders are visible and accessible, reaching
out to others. They embrace change, making continual change and improvement
comfortable for all.
- Care of People. Quality of life issues are increasingly important
to workers in today's fast-paced, active world. A home-like, safe, and healthy
environment is expected today. People want good working conditions, flexibility,
and lots of recognition. They want their families involved and they want
to know what's going on. A good internal communications system is a common
characteristic of Employers of Choice.
- Growth and Opportunity. Personal and professional growth are
strong motivators today, as employees concentrate on their future marketability.
Whether they stay with one employer or not, people want to choose their
own circumstances. Staying current makes that choice possible. Supervisors
become advocates for employee growth, encouraging people to take training,
gain new experiences, and participate in the company's mentoring program.
Fast-track opportunities abound.
- Meaningful work. People want to do something meaningful in their
work today; "just a job" doesn't feel right. They want jobs that make a
difference, either for the public, customers, or internal customers. Employees
want to see the value of their work. They want to stretch to reach their
full potential, expanding and enriching their jobs, enjoying stimulating
opportunities. Employees like to be involved in the design of their work
so they feel a part of what's happening.
- Compensation and Benefits. Today's workers are concerned about
competitive pay, but they're also looking for profit sharing, stock options,
domestic partner benefits, direct deposit of paychecks, diverse insurance
coverages, wellness programs, adoption coverage, time off, discount pricing,
and childcare. Some are even asking for petcare benefits. It's the total
package that counts.
- Making a Difference. Social values are increasingly important.
What are we doing to improve the world around us? Savvy employers are involved
in their local communities and in broader interests that serve Mankind.
They lend their support-financial, in-kind, and human-to United Way, community
theatre, Habitat for Humanity, youth programs, and clean-up/fix-up projects.
Employers eager to attract and hold top talent will become much more responsive
to what people are looking for. The corporate design and approach will change
with the times, creating new relationships between workers and their employers.
Roger E. Herman and Joyce L. Gioia-Herman are Strategic Business Futurists
concentrating on workforce and workplace issues. They are authors of a number
of books in the field and are sought-after speakers on trends and employee
retention. Information about them and their work is available at www.herman.net.
Contact the authors through firstname.lastname@example.org
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