The statistics around employee engagement and retention from the past five years aren’t promising:
51 percent of workers say they’re considering leaving their current jobs.
Nearly 40 percent of employees are looking into other employment within the
And considering the enormous costs associated with replacing an employee1, it has never been more paramount for executive leaders to evaluate whether they’re an employer of choice.
What’s an employer of choice?
The simplest definition is an employer whose employees love to come to work and job seekers would love to work for them.
Employers of choice cultivate work cultures where engagement and alignment are the anticipated outcomes of intentionality, transparency, compensation, and inspiration.
What does it take to be an employer of choice, and what’s at stake if you aren’t one?
More than you think.
It’s No Accident
Many leaders today would affirm they are an employer of choice though reality says otherwise. Why the contrast? Many leaders only view metrics such as work attendance and engagement as indicators. These metrics make sense to consider, but they don’t provide the full picture. Even though overall employee engagement and effort are higher than in recent years, more than half of the country’s workforce feel they “phone it in,” at work and are unhappy.2
While numerous factors contribute to how employees feel about their jobs3, knowing only that an employee is clocking in and putting in their time is insufficient when considering whether or not they want to be there. Leaders need to be mindful of the many facets that reveal if they’re an employer of choice and what warning signs reveal that they aren’t.
What are these warning signs? It’s an intimidating thing to consider, but investigating it with sincerity and optimism for the future will be the difference between slowing your progress to a crawl or accelerating change and legacy. Some warning signs are
High turnover rates
Low customer satisfaction/Net Promoter Score
Little to no submission of unsolicited resumes from top performers
Low scores on company/employee surveys
Toxic, gossip-filled workplace culture
Lack of employee willingness to take on challenges
Negative, disparaging website reviews or social media comments
No workplace is perfect, but if more than one of these is a current constraint for you and your team, we recommend you begin considering a change.
How Not to React
Investigating this may reveal long-standing pain points within your company. Or it may reveal contemporary problems that don’t seem to be cause for alarm, but if overlooked, they could evolve into a greater problem.
The one reaction to avoid is denial.
Don’t fail to respond if warning signs are presenting themselves. Reserve time to assess internally with your leadership. Create an appropriate and honest dialogue concerning it with your employees, carefully listening to their questions and respectfully answering where you have answers. And be OK answering with “I don’t know.” Ask your best performers why they stay or connect with those who’ve transitioned to ask why they left. Show that you’re aware and willing to make necessary changes and do so collaboratively with your team. As one PROMARK team member shared about leaders in this position:
“They should ask for help, and they should do so immediately. If people are unhappy and leaving the company, the leadership team MUST look straight into the mirror and bring in some outside help to get a fresh perspective, but they must OWN the problem.”
What You Want to See
What are the marks of an employer of choice? Several internal and external factors contribute to the profile of an employer of choice. Some of the indicators you want to see are
Clear Vision & Hiring for Alignment: Employers of choice know where the company should be going and who can take them there. Establish a clear vision and hire not solely for competency and skill but hire top talent who are also eager for the company’s journey.
Career Growth & Opportunity: Employees who are free of the fear that their jobs may be eliminated due to shrinking profits are free to work at their full cadence.
Leader Presence: Employers of choice are visible employers. When employees see their employer, interact with them, watch them “walk the talk,” and know their employer trusts them to get the job done, they do more than just “phone it in.”
Customer Focus: Employers of choice don’t require team members to make them happy. Instead, team members know to pursue the customer before the manager. Employers of choice provide teams with processes, resources, and incentives to continually encourage a customer-oriented, not a manager-centric, focus.
Continued Learning & Development: Employers of choice create cultures where employees don’t fear mistakes and have processes around them to help them learn from their mistakes as well as learning development plans.
External Rapport: Employers of choice not only provide a great experience in the workplace, but they provide outplacement resources and mechanisms to team members making transitions. This results in former employees becoming brand ambassadors for the company elsewhere just as much as employees who are currently on the payroll.
Again, no company is perfect. But those who grow their bottom line in a sustainable, reproducible fashion are precisely those who possess these attributes.
Asking yourself, “Am I an employer of choice?” can be intimidating.
We’re here to tell you that no matter your current answer, you can be an employer of choice.
All it requires is your choice to be one.
Whether you’re currently an employer of choice or not, we want to provide you with coaching that will help you become a catalyst for growth and change in your company. Contact us today.