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Employer of choice – does it take one to know one?

Latest results from Leadership Management Australia’s (LMA’s) Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey reveal some very different perspectives on what constitutes an Employer of Choice.

The views of leaders, managers and employees are comparable on factors related to recognition and reward, development of people and having passionate and engaging management to work with. All groups place the same two factors at the top of their list, highlighting the importance of recognition and reward and developing people.

However the importance of reward for excellent performance and being able to enjoy work is much more prominent for non-managerial/supervisory employees and seems to be somewhat lost on the leaders and managers in many organisations.

Further, a wide range of other factors appears higher in the rankings of factors that Executives/Senior Managers (Leaders) and Middle Management/Supervisory level personnel (Managers) believe define an Employer of Choice:

Employer of Choice Factors

Employee Rank

Manager Rank

Leader Rank

Recognises and rewards staff well 1 1 1
Invests in the learning & development of its people 2 2 2
Pays above average salaries and bonuses for excellent performance 3 7 =11
Management is passionate and engaging to work with 4 3 4
Is a place where you can have fun and enjoy yourself 5 =8 9
Operates ethically and fairly at all times 6 11 3
Has family/life friendly workplace practices =7 4 =11
Has an excellent reputation within its industry =7 10 =7
Offers flexible conditions to suit individual needs and circumstances 9 5 =7
Has high quality working relationships across all levels 10 =8 6
Actively seeks input and feedback from staff 11 6 5

Q. 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. Looking to the future, which FIVE (5) of the following would you say are MOST important to you in an ‘employer of choice’?

Whilst different views are held about some aspects of what makes an Employer of Choice, clearly there are expectations needing to be fulfilled in order for an employee at any level to feel they are working within one. It’s as much about what a person believes as what they experience.

So if we compare the factors that define an Employer of Choice with the factors that Positively Influence Employee Performance, there are some clear parallels of relevance to leaders and managers seeking to create or provide the environment in which their people can and do perform:

Ranking in top 5 Positive Influences on Employee Performance (Employee View)

  1. Reasonable salary/pay = recognises & rewards staff well
  2. Being entrusted with responsibility/independence = management is passionate and engaging to work with
  3. Interesting/challenging work = invests in the learning and development of its people
  4. Good relationship with other staff = is a place you can have fun and enjoy yourself
  5. Flexible working arrangements = has family/life friendly workplace practices

Clearly there is a strong relationship between the environment created in organisations considered Employers of Choice and the performance such environments deliver. The basics (money, development, opportunity, fun, flexibility) all need to be there in order for performance to be enhanced and for employees to make the conscious choice to stay with the organisation.

Influences on workplace performance now







Reasonable salary/pay 1 1 4
Being entrusted with responsibility/independence 2 5 5
Interesting/challenging work =3 8 3
Good relationship with other staff =3 12 =8
Flexible working arrangements/hours/family friendly =3 =3 7
Job security 6 =3 10
Receiving good feedback and communication 7 2 1
Having clear objectives/goals set =8 6 2

Q. Looking at the list (of 21 factors), please nominate which five factors you feel have the most positive influence on your/your staff’s performance at work today.

Looking further, the factors that will help to retain staff or attract them to other organisations bear a striking resemblance to the Employer of Choice Factors from an employee viewpoint:

Reasons to stay with current employer
Employee view
Reasons to leave to join another employer
Employee view
1. Salary increases (57%) 1. Salary increases (70%)
2. Opportunities for career advancement (57%) 2. Opportunities for career advancement (53%)
3. Opportunities for training and development (45%) 3. Flexible work hours (42%)
4. Flexible work hours (43%) 4. Opportunities for training and development (32%)

What does this mean for organisations?

  • Retaining staff – to retain staff, organisational leaders and managers must ensure they understand the needs of their people and work to create the environment where those needs can be met. The performance and productivity of the team relies on the leader/ manager’s ability to tap into their motivations and provide the conditions in which they can and will fulfil their potential.
  • Attracting staff – to attract staff, the right signals must be sent about what the organisation stands for, offers and delivers to its people. Leaders and managers must fulfil the promise and ensure they honour the commitments made when reaching out to attract new people. Employers of Choice deliver what they say they’ll deliver and in doing so, encourage people to make the choice.
  • Remaining relevant to current and prospective employees – organisations must remain relevant to their employees and this can only be achieved by providing the conditions and environment to enhance performance and giving employees the opportunity to fulfil their needs. Knowing what makes the individuals perform is the starting point for remaining relevant and being the place they want to be.

About the Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey

Results are based on responses in the current wave of the L.E.A.D. Survey (June to September 2015):

  • Non-Managerial/non-Supervisory Employees (Employees) – 1,644 respondents
  • Middle Management/Supervisory (Managers) – 277
  • Executive/Senior Managerial (Leaders) – 122

Take the L.E.A.D. Survey now