More often than not, employees worry about what they need to do for their manager. What do they need to do to keep themselves in the good graces of their boss, to get to that next level, or most basic and important, to keep themselves employed. We’re going to flip the script this week: Let’s explore what makes a good employer. What do top companies do to make sure they attract the quality of individuals they wish? How do they keep them for the long run? How do you make a destination employer?
There are many opinions about what makes a top employer – and we will tell you that it is not always about the money. Characteristics of a great place to work can vary from person to person. That is to be expected because everyone’s values are set differently. However, when a company evinces some overarching principles, that company can be sure that they can positively reach the expectations of the majority of their employees.
So, what are some of these traits and how do we know what they are for our current employers? Many people would say things like Communication, Integrity, Performance, etc. These sound a lot like those one-word values employers share with their staff and show up in various email signatures, letterhead stock, and PowerPoint presentation templates right? It’s true! The employer’s set of values is an avenue of communication between the C-Suite and the front-line staff. The employer is trying to communicate how they envision performance for both the employee and the employer.
We could argue that some tangible values will ultimately lead to the intangible values. What does that mean? If an employer has a strong Communication value it means the interaction has a constant flow. The company seeks regular feedback from the employees about its environment and practices. Conversations between managers and employees are a normal part of regular life and employees ask for feedback from their peers. From communication comes Transparency. This means that leaders are open about the problems facing the company as well as its successes. Leaders ask for feedback on a variety of issues ranging from financial questions to operational obstacles. Transparency also means that leaders are open and accessible. They are approachable; employees should feel comfortable to engage in conversation and questions with their leaders.
Open communication and leadership transparency can ultimately lead to intangible values. Trust is a big one that seems to be on everyone’s minds but no one can really delineate the same meaning. Essentially, it means that employees trust that the leadership is making appropriate business decisions and steering the company in a healthy direction. Leadership will trust that employees will serve as advocates for both for the business and the customer. Lastly, when employees feel that they can trust their peers and leadership they become a more engaged member of the company. Engagement means that the employee, no matter their level, is invested in the business and is a more productive member of the organization. They have an understanding of the company’s mission and see themselves as an influential part of that process.
Communication, transparency, and trust – these are main ingredients of an employer of choice. From there, anything is possible. Top employers build on this foundation to include programs around employee development and meaningful rewards and recognition and/or incentive programs. Today, top employers create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, allowing space for strategic thinking and innovation to manifest. With all of these values in place, top-notch talent will want to be part of it, and this talent will be flocking at your doors.
- Richard Finger has worked in Human Resources for over 20 years and has worked with small, private organizations, global corporations, and most currently, a healthcare organization. Richard has worked abroad a number of years in England as well as The Netherlands, where he acquired a great appreciation for cultural awareness. He currently holds three Human Resource Certifications (SHRM-SCP, SPHR, SPHRi), and is also teaching the SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP preparation course at Howard County Community College. Richard earned his Bachelor Degree in Psychology at University of Central Florida, and Master Degree in Human Resources Management & Labor Relations at New York Institute of Technology. Richard has been writing for Baltimore Outloud for a number of years, contributing articles about his Human Resources experiences, as well as moonlighting as the author of Finger's Food restaurant reviews. Richard has enjoyed writing for the paper, and looks forward to many more opportunities to do so.