Employers of choice?

These days, many companies call themselves “employers of choice”. 

However, the Australian Human Resources Institute survey: Employer of Choice: A Reality Cheque, found a deep-cynicism about the EOC label that many companies attach to themselves. Over 52 per cent of respondents said they rarely or never took notice of a company’s claims to be an EOC, and 24 per cent had worked for an EOC company that hadn’t lived up to its promises. A further 15 per cent had been penalised for trying to access touted EOC benefits, while 26 per cent claimed to know of co-workers who had experienced similar treatment.

Being able to express what your company stands for is an important part of attracting top performers. The psychological bond is as much emotional as it is rational.  The real race for the White House is between Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. Like them or loathe them at least you know what they stand for. Like Tony Blair before him, Barack Obama has built his core message around change.  While Sarah Palin’s core message is built around being a ‘hockey mum’, so that Middle America can instantly identify with her and her values.

People relate to a compelling vision, especially if you take the time to ask them about their values and ambitions and show how the two are aligned.  As employers, it is up to us to give our employees work meaning.  It is we who must create the psychological bond between employer and employee.

This psychological bond can be cultivated from the moment a candidate is selected for employment.  One of my clients aims to establish a connection between the candidate and the company at the final interview.  How?  He presents the candidate with a business card with their name on it.  It makes saying ‘no’ much more difficult when an employer is able to demonstrate so much commitment to a candidate and their future career.

Your compelling vision doesn’t need to be sugar coated to attract and retain employees.  Just ensure it is honest.  A few years back, while I was working for a large consulting firm, the global CEO was addressing an internal conference. He was asked by a female manager about promotion opportunities to partner level if she had children and took time out to be with them or asked to work part-time. He replied that he was “supportive of her making those decisions, however promotions would continue to go to those people who worked long hours and were focussed on the company’s success”.

Brutal?  Perhaps.  But it was also honest and demonstrated his core values. Everyone knew how it worked.  And they never had trouble attracting employees who wanted to work hard.


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