Being an employer of choice means top applicants are eager to work for you, competitors envy your employees, and your most talented workers stay with your company for years and years. Given the competitive job market, combined with the new-normal Baby Boomer retirements and millennial job-hopping, this seems like a great item for the top of your New Year’s resolution list.
The bad news is that there are a lot of factors outside of your control. Employer of choice drivers include attributes like working in a great location, working for a company with great/prestigious name recognition and/or a #1 position in its market. But while we can’t all be Google (which gets checkmarks for all 3) the good news is that there are things you can do to create a culture that elevates your position as an employer of choice.
Here are some of them.
Become a culture of choice
Create meaningful and personalized employee experiences and rewards. Think about what matters to the people who matter most to your organization. If you don’t know, find out. According to the Jobvite Jobseeker Nation report compensation is more important to established professionals (ages 40-54) than millennials who greatly value the flexibility of working from home.
While you’re at it, start mapping your internal culture fit to the customer experience. Again, if you’re not sure what that is, find out from your marketing department. When Southwest Airlines committed to delivering customers to their final destinations with a smile, a joke or a song, the company made sure that joke-telling was part of the interview process and fun a part of the culture.
Socialize your talent brand
Having a clear, articulated talent brand that promotes your culture, employer brand, employer value proposition, and talent philosophy (how you manage talent) is only half the job. The other half is TBPR- Talent Branding Public Relations. The average person has 1 to 12 intimate contacts, 150 social contacts and 500 – 1,500 weak ties. That means that an employee population of 100 people could influence thousands on the merits of working for your organization. Make sure each employee not only has the information, but has contributed their thoughts on what makes your organization their employer of choice. (Don’t wait to read about it on Glassdoor.)
Focus on career development
A Gallup survey last year revealed that 87% of millennials said professional development or career growth opportunities were very important to them in a job. The article goes on to say, “Their strong desire for development is, perhaps, the greatest differentiator between them and all other generations in the workplace.” In 2015, this high-achieving, highly productive yet untethered generation became the largest generation in the US workforce. So becoming an employer of choice means making the most of the millennial’s time, skills and talents.
Become an authentic brand
Brands are about trust. Your ability to evoke a singular experience in the hearts and minds of multiple audiences will enable you to truly build awareness, consideration and preference with all your constituents, including employees and potential employees.
The internet has leveled the playing field. Your customers are also vendors, employees and investors. Conversations that used to happen around the water cooler are happening across the internet on sites like Glassdoor, Yelp and Facebook. Yet within the organization, the drivers of influence for each of these target groups are often silos of spin. The myriad of messages are often in competition with one another.
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To genuinely be an authentic brand means that you have developed an integrated, values-based messaging approach that is true at the highest level for all audiences, and speaks in one voice. An authentic brand represents the ultimate truth and often reshapes how you attract, onboard, engage and retain talent.
Your organization may not be sexy, well-known or a category-killer, but with the highest intentions and a steadfast plan, you can fulfill your goal to achieve employer of choice status.