Good candidates want to work for great companies. Here's how to stand out from the pack.
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It’s fair to say that we all want to work for interesting and exciting companies. For many of us, where we work is as important as the house we live in or the people we surround ourselves with. As we spend increasingly large amounts of our lives at work, so finding the right employer is a process that we take very seriously.
When people are looking for jobs, they are faced with more information than ever before about a company and what sets it apart from the competition. Glassdoor reviews, LinkedIn articles and even Q&A sessions with company executives on YouTube mean that candidates can assess the calibre of a potential future employer before they even step foot in the door.
Candidates will often look to “employers of choice” as their first port of call. But what does this actually mean? Are they successful, cash rich or well-established business, or something else?
The term “employer of choice” might have become another business buzzword, but it represents a shift in power where candidates are now in the driving seat in terms of where they work.
The “choice” part is the most important, as candidates decide for themselves whether they work for a company or not. Get your employee value proposition wrong and you will lose potential superstars to your competitors.
To attract and retain talent, it’s important to establish the company as a go-to destination for the skilled workers that drive your business.
So what does it take to become an “employer of choice”? Here are the four critical steps:
1. Forge your own culture, don’t replicate
Creating and sustaining an authentic company culture could be one of the biggest success factors in becoming an employer of choice. Company culture is made up of your values, vision, beliefs, and habits. Look at where the business has come from, where and why it started and what it does best, as this will help you to understand both culture and purpose.
Office ping pong will only take you so far
A successful company culture isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ blueprint that you can just replicate. For a culture to become embedded, it has to be legitimate and authentic. No-one wants to work for a company that’s trying to be someone else. Think about ways to regularly let everybody know who you are, why you exist and what you stand for.
2. Inspire from the top down
It’s great to have an inspirational Executive team and Board of Directors, but how much face time do they get with the workforce? Often it’s very little. Usually, it’s department heads, line managers and team leaders that hold the keys to company culture.
These people direct the daily roles for most of the workforce and it’s from them that employees will often build up a picture of what it’s like to work there.
Having developed and defined the company culture, it’s important that your leaders help to instill these core values on a daily basis and have the creative freedom to do so.
Give your leaders freedom to be accountable and proactive and this will help to transform the employee experience altogether. People want to work for great managers, so get this right and it will become even easier to hire skilled talent.
3. Instigate open and honest feedback, both ways
No one likes being left in the dark, so think about effective ways to knowledge share, update and inform the workforce. Companies that have communication down to a T set the standard.
Employees want to feel involved with key business decisions and changes, and likewise want to easily be able to share their ideas, feedback and concerns on an ongoing basis. Don’t rely on an annual employee survey as your method for gathering feedback.
Remember: feedback goes both ways
Modern, ambitious and forward-thinking companies are adopting more sophisticated ways of gathering feedback and driving positive change. Developing an ongoing measure of feedback will help the business be more agile and proactive (which won’t go unnoticed).
Employees want to be able to share their feedback when it’s most important to them, so having an easy outlet to do this will significantly improve the employee experience.
4. Get the basics right
It’s easy to overlook the small things when thinking about the big picture. The environment, office space, facilities and benefits can have a huge impact on you becoming an employer of choice or not. A bright, clean and colourful office space with modern facilities will show candidates that you invest in your company and take pride in your appearance.
You don’t need to go as far a tree house in the main atrium or slides between floors, but a tidy space with lots of natural light can make a big difference to working conditions.
Your benefits package is also a signpost to the value you place on your employees and if you “give back”. Develop a flexible benefits package that is relevant to people’s lives, not just free stuff and a beer fridge.
Becoming an “employer of choice” means developing an environment and way of doings things that attracts, inspires and motivates current and future employees. Define your culture. Rely on your leaders to instill it. Listen to your employees and make changes.
Nail down the basics and make your company somewhere people want to be.