It seems every organisation today – big or small – aspires to become an employer of choice. This achievement is seen as a barometer of organisational health and an important benchmark in a talent-short market.
Positioning your organisation as an employer of choice is not an easy path or a quick fix. It’s something that requires a consistent and sustained effort. However, the payoff is worth it. It means people will choose to work for you and stay with you, despite the temptations of other employers. The business benefits can also be impressive, primarily due to the power of an engaged workforce (a staple of top employers). Research indicates that best employers with highly engaged workers outperform other organisations. They are 78% more productive and 40% more profitable.
Whether it’s being branded as a “best employer” or “great place to work”, the key is to develop an employee value proposition (EVP) that makes you stand out from the pack. The EVP forms the core of your employer brand. It’s critical for a successful recruitment process as it reinforces why a candidate should apply for a job with your organisation and what they stand to gain from doing so. It’s also crucial for retaining talent – it becomes the “badge of honour”, the key rallying point for what your organisation does better than all others.
Of course, becoming an employer of choice is more than a marketing gimmick. It’s almost impossible to “fudge” an EVP – and even if that were possible, it wouldn’t take long for candidates/employees to discover the truth. Any organisation should be able to stand by its practices and its principles around employing people. Seeking employer of choice status should be done on the basis of something that’s true, legitimate and meaningful. So, take an objective look at your organisation: what is your EVP?
Do you offer stimulating work? Employees want to be challenged and stimulated. They want to feel passionate about what they do. Consider introducing stretch assignments that push people out of their comfort zones, or revisit job design to create more interesting roles that utilise technology to automate transactional tasks. Also consider if job rotation schemes could be introduced whereby employees spend time in other complementary roles either within their own department or a different department.
Do you offer market-leading training and development? Employees want to be part of an organisation that helps them to develop skills so they can excel in their jobs on a day to day basis, while also helping them progress their career. Your organisation should aim to provide a training and development framework. This would include an annual skills assessment process to identify skills gaps and then the creation of personal development plans for each employee. Employees should then be empowered to access training and development content from anywhere, at any time.
A commitment to life-long learning exposes employees to new experiences and keeps them engaged in their work. Professional development not only helps build and maintain enthusiasm; it also inspires loyalty. One study shows that a significant 93% of employees would stay longer at an organisation if it invested in their professional development.
Do you offer competitive rewards? Competitive financial reward remains a key reason why people stay with an organisation. Remuneration should be reviewed yearly and be regularly benchmarked against market averages so you are always paying close to market rate. Of course, it’s not just about financial reward; employees also want to be recognised for a job well done. Employers of choice typically have an effective rewards & recognition program in place, which allow for peer-to-peer recognition, social recognition and the ability to choose from a range of non-financial rewards such as gift vouchers or experiences. And yes, it makes a significant difference to engagement but also retention. Organisations with a “recognition-rich” culture report 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.
Do you excel at corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Trustworthy, ethical and socially responsible employers that have a commitment to environmental sustainability are in demand. People want to work for employers that have a positive corporate culture where staff are treated fairly and with respect. As various corporate scandals and royal commissions have demonstrated, ethics are more important than ever before. A CSR program is one way to highlight your organisation’s commitment to undertaking business in an ethical and fair way.
Do you offer career advancement opportunities? Research shows that 63% of employers report a lack of career progression as the main reason employees leave. They feel they’ve progressed as far as they can within their current workplace. Employers of choice ensure each employee has not just personalised development plans, but career paths that are identified as part of an organisation-wide succession plan. Any vacant jobs should be advertised internally, opening up opportunities for anyone with the right qualifications and experience. It’s an easy way to create a sense of opportunity and potential for career progression.
ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll provides end-to-end HR, payroll and rostering / time & attendance solutions which can help your organisation introduce market-leading approaches to talent management. To find out more, contact us.
 “What Makes a Company a Best Employer?”, Hewitt report
 LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report
 “Turning Thank You Into Performance”, Bersin by Deloitte research paper
 “Turnover and Retention Research Report”, Australian HR Institute, 2018