New data suggests that the concept of Employer of Choice is taking on new dimensions in the minds of many as employment markets tighten and economic concerns remain front of mind for most organisations and their leaders.
‘Employer of choice’ is a term often used to describe organisations that are the preferred or most desired to work for in an industry or sector. Through the L.E.A.D. Survey, Leadership Management Australia has looked at the concept on several occasions over the past five years to identify what organisations can and should do to present as an Employer of Choice in their industry or sector in order to attract and retain talent.
Latest results suggest that Business Leaders and Senior Managers have an expanding list of expectations when it comes to seeking an Employer of Choice. Family/life friendly workplace practices has rocketed into the top five factors along with the organisation actively seeking input and feedback from its staff, presumably including its leaders and senior managers:
Middle Managers and Supervisors are also placing increasing focus and attention on family/life friendly workplace practice. This suggests that in tough economic times, it is a person’s life outside of work that suffers most in the drive to sustain or survive:
From a Non-Managerial/Supervisory Employee perspective, little has changed in recent times with one key difference in their list of Employer of Choice factors showing up – is a place where your can have fun and enjoy working. In difficult times, being able to enjoy work and have fun is a coping strategy and enables the team to ‘soldier on’ even if things look somewhat bleak. Recognition and reward, investment in learning and development of people and having passionate and engaging management also play a prominent role in employees seeking organisation for which they would happily work and apply their discretionary effort.
Interestingly, when asked whether they feel they have the right balance between work and other aspects of their lives:
• 59% of business leaders and senior managers felt they had the right work/life balance
• 60% of middle managers and supervisors felt they had the right work/life balance
• 65% of non-managerial employees felt they had the right work/life balance
The connection between Employer of Choice and perceptions of the right work/life balance is clear – even in a tough/patchy/soft employment market, people will only continue to work for organisations that are able to provide for their needs.
Employers of Choice routinely and consistently deliver on their people’s needs and in return they enjoy a stable, productive, engaged and empowered workforce that is focussed on achievement for the organisation as much as for themselves – great payoffs for focusing on becoming an Employer of Choice.
What should leaders and managers do?
- Take the time to understand what the new shopping list looks like when it comes to employees hunting for an employer of choice. Identify what is possible for the organisation to provide and what it is prepared to do to attract and retain top talent.
- Pinpoint the extent to which the organisation can trade on its offer and performance in the most important employer of choice areas. Identify strengths and make these a focus in the presentation of the organisation to prospective employees.
- Don’t be afraid to showcase other employer of choice factors than just individual or personally-focused factors – in a tight contest for talent where all else may be equal, the more altruistic elements may just make the difference between getting and losing the talent.