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Employer of Choice – new challenges, new dimensions

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.

Reassurance in tough times – why it’s so important

Imagine turning up to work each day with fingers crossed that your organisation is still operating and that you still have a job. This situation faces around four in ten employees in workplaces in Australia and New Zealand.

According to the latest results from  the Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey, 37% of employees have had little or no reassurance about the future of the organisation they work for – in effect they live in hope that the organisation will continue to operate into the foreseeable future.

And a similarly disturbing proportion (36%) have had little or no reassurance about their own personal future with their organisation – they go about their work believing it to be what is expected of them but without clear confirmation about their future.

Over recent years, there has been limited progress made in leaders and senior managers communicating with their employees about the future of the organisation and the employees’ future in the organisation. This has been eroded through uncertainty and apprehension – in the wider economy and in organisations generally.

Leaders / managers reassurance about the future of the organisation | LMA





Q.    To what extent have your business leaders and senior managers communicated with you about the immediate future of the organisation?

Leaders / managers reassurance about YOUR future of the organisation | LMA





Q.    To what extent has your employer reassured you about your future with your organisation?

Clearly there is a great deal of room for improvement in providing employees with information which will in turn provide greater confidence and contribute to organisational growth and stability. Employers need to recognise the hard work of employees which, in many cases, is much greater than normal simply to ensure the employee stays off the radar and retains their job against a backdrop of economic difficulty, redundancies and closures.

What should leaders and managers do to create certainty in such uncertain times?

  • Provide as much reassurance as possible about the organisation’s future and the individual’s future. If delivering reassurance is difficult due to extreme uncertainty, at least look to provide something for employees to look forward to in terms of information and communication as the picture becomes clearer. Employees will value the honesty that comes with knowing as much as they can about their future – they are after all people first, employees second.
  • Provide regular updates and information and offer alternatives that enable the workforce to decide their future. Consider new models of work, new approaches to familiar issues and invite thoughts and inputs from all to build a future that helps everyone survive and thrive.
  • Most importantly, provide the support and encouragement employees are seeking from management to enable them to commit to the organisation and engage with their work in order to help the organisation address tough times.
The power of written goals | LMA

The power of written goals

Research has shown that individuals with written goals achieved approximately 50% more of their goals than those without written goals1.

A written goals program ensures that you identify achievements that will ultimately prove most meaningful to you to clarify and crystallise your thinking.

Developing a written plan for achieving your goals provides a number of significant benefits:

  • Written goals save time – write down your goals to keep you on course, to minimise interruptions and to focus your attention.
  • Written goals help measure progress – motivation is greatest when there are objective goals by which you can measure and monitor accomplishments.
  • Written goals produce motivation – written goals remind you of your mission and objectives.
  • Written goals reduce conflict – they help you identify conflicts between various priorities as they become obvious when your plans are written out.
  • Written goals form a basis for action – written goals are the foundation of success, but action is the springboard to actual success and increased productivity.
  • Written goals stimulate visualisation – with your plans written out, you can visualise future results more easily and clearly.

1 A study conducted by Gail Matthews, Ph.D., at the Dominican University

The power of prioritisation

Approximately 80% of the results you obtain stem from 20% of the tasks you perform. Are you using your time wisely?

If the other 80% of your tasks produce only 20% of the results obtained, then it makes sense to identify the most productive activities in your daily schedule and devote more time to these high payoff activities.

The challenge for all of us is to delegate or eliminate other low pay off routines and activities that absorb too much of your time. This common-sense approach frees you up for more productive work on high priority items.

Sometimes this is easier said than done, but with effort and application it can be done… and the increase in your personal productivity will be well worth it.

9 steps to goal setting

Goal setting is the most powerful action you can take to improve your personal productivity; it provides a sense of direction to keep you focussed on the most important activities.

Simply defined, Goal setting is the process of:

  1. Developing a mission statement for your life
  2. Writing specific goal(s) that support your mission
  3. Listing the benefits of achieving the goal
  4. Anticipating possible obstacles and solutions
  5. Writing detailed action steps and deadlines to achieve the goal
  6. Integrating action steps to your planning system
  7. Determining a method of tracking your progress
  8. Writing affirmations to support your belief in your ability to accomplish the goal
  9. Developing a visual representation that effectively reminds you of your goal

The sole purpose of the goal setting is to guide you on the entire journey from wish to fulfilment; it provides a sense of direction and serves as a filter to eliminate extraneous demands.

Learn to say “No”

Learning to say “No” gives you more time to say “Yes” to the important projects or activities that give you genuine satisfaction and optimise the use of your time and abilities.

You may need to evaluate your attitude towards saying “No”; some individuals are “people pleasers” and fear rejection or offending others if they say “No”.

Some fear they will not be asked again or fear not being needed.

Put these fears to rest.

Your goals and priorities help you identify the requests and activities requiring a polite “No” and those deserving an enthusiastic “Yes”.

Plan to succeed

The latest results of the ongoing 14 -year monitor of workplace trends, the Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey, reveals a major discrepancy between business owners and managers, and their staff, when it comes to the crucial matter of having a clear business plan.

83% of leaders and managers claim to have a business plan for 2014, but only 66% of employees believe their organisation has a plan.

CEO of LMA, Andrew Henderson said it was disturbing to discover that while almost all leaders, managers and employees recognised a plan was essential to secure the future of their organisations, one third of employees believed their organisations had started the new work year without one.

“In these uncertain economic times, failing to plan is in effect planning to fail,” he said. “The plan starts with leaders clearly identifying the vision and plan, clearly communicating the goals, direction and vision and then having the confidence in themselves as well as gaining the confidence of their people to execute the plan.”

“Leaders have to ‘walk the talk’ with their plans,” Mr Henderson continued. “Planning contributes to growth and success, which is borne out in the survey’s correlation between organisational growth status and the presence of a plan.”

The results highlight the need for all businesses to make sure they have a solid plan in place for the year to come, and the plan is adequately communicated to everyone involved in the business.

Are you committed to continuous improvement?

Today’s rapidly changing and keenly competitive marketplace requires constant improvement of current strategies and methods.

Workable processes are absolutely necessary, however, you should avoid becoming mindlessly devoted to a particular practice, procedure or policy. Just because you have done things a certain way in the past, does not mean it is ideal.

Routinely re-evaluate what you are doing and why, and consistently review ways to revamp and reorganise in order to use time and effort effectively.

How does the idea of continuous improvement play out at your place of business?
What problems/waste could you eliminate?

Bullying still an issue in the workplace

Whilst the majority of organisations have developed and implemented policies to address workplace behaviours/issues, around one in four staff have observed bullying in the workplace.

16% of employees have experienced bullying in the workplace personally and 4% are currently experiencing it, suggesting that the policies are either not strong enough or not being consistently applied.

How does your organisation ensure that policies regarding workplace behaviour are adhered to?

From LMA’s L.E.AD. survey book “Today’s workplace – Present realities…Future realities”, 2013
Available for purchase, click here to order a copy of the book.

The importance of your team

What are your company’s plans for 2014? What do you want to achieve in your organisation during the coming year?

What impact will it make on your plans if your key people perform at a higher level in 2014?

What impact will it make on your plans if your key people DO NOT perform at a higher level?

Consider the impact of not servicing your car and its engine at regular intervals:

You will get away without a service on the scheduled date. It will probably continue to run. If you continue to delay the servicing, things will gradually start to suffer – your brakes will become less effective, emissions will increase, fuel efficiency will reduce. Eventually, your car may not run at all!

Same with people – you can get away without developing them. They will probably still come to work. If you continue to avoid their development, things will gradually start to suffer – mistakes will happen, communications will decrease, productivity will reduce. Eventually, your people may not perform at all. Hey, they may even stop performing, become stressed, disruptive, they may leave, or all of these things together!

People are the engine of your business. People drive your business. To ensure your people perform to their full capacity and to prevent “break-downs” – we need to “service” this powerful engine. Otherwise it underperforms.

Developing your people ensures that they and your business thrives and performs at a high level. People development is about identifying the potential in your people, working with them to develop that potential, and then harnessing its power.

Imagine what impact a highly serviced engine would make on your journey in 2014!