Becoming an “employer of choice” is both a key recruitment and retention strategy. Although not an official certification or distinction, being an employer of choice generally means that candidates are excited about the prospect of working at your organization, and current employees feel satisfied with their employee experience.
You can become an employer of choice regardless of your company’s size, budget, or industry. As an employer, you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea—and you don’t want to be. You want to focus on recruiting and retaining the type of people who fit your organization’s culture. A great way to work towards becoming an employer of choice is to clearly define what you want your ideal company culture to look like. Then, you can use this as a guide to hire candidates that check as many of these boxes as possible, creating a unique cohort of like-minded people that will help your organization thrive.
Once you've drafted your company culture guidelines, build the rest of the employee experience around it. For example, consider the types of benefits your ideal candidates might find most useful, the perks they might find most exciting, or the technologies they may need to most efficiently work and communicate as a team.
Here are some practical tips for optimizing your employee experience to fit your company culture:
- Don’t be afraid to see what your competition’s up to. While focusing too closely on your competition can become a distraction, it can be helpful to evaluate what similar companies are offering their teams. Perhaps they offer a family caregiving benefit that helps support their employees who double as caregivers. Or they provide a remote work stipend that allows employees to make their home office as comfortable and inspiring as possible.
- Streamline the hiring process. Putting a candidate through grueling rounds of interviews can make your potential new hire feel burned out before they’ve even received an offer letter! Keep interviews as efficient as possible and communicate clearly and frequently with candidates.
- Then, optimize your onboarding. This is the first real impression your new hire has of your organization, so making this as smooth, welcoming, personalized, and thoughtful as possible will set the tone for the rest of their experience at your organization.
- Foster open and honest two-way communication and feedback. Each year when annual performance reviews come along, establish guidelines for how healthy, respectful feedback should be passed between managers and employees freely – not just from the “top down.”
- Connect your mission and values to your team’s day-to-day work. When there’s a shared vision and mission that all employees can connect and contribute to, greater workforce engagement and satisfaction will likely follow.
- Encourage meaningful recognition that goes beyond a one-size-fits-all model. While one employee may bask in verbal recognition within a team setting, another may prefer positive feedback in a weekly 1:1 meeting with their supervisor. Equip managers and senior leadership with the tools they need to best recognize the accomplishments of their team members.
- Regularly strategize with company leadership about the best way to communicate. Review key topics, ideas, and changes so that company-wide communication is as clear and honest as possible. Infrequent, unclear, or dishonest messaging from the top down can lead to frustration, stress, and even turnover, costing your company in more ways than one.