Employer of Choice – Just Say No!

We all see the words.  Businesses promote it as if somehow it makes them unique; “WE are an employer of choice.”  “Join us here at XYZ Company; We are an Employer of Choice.”  As if that is the only reason anyone would want to work for any company.  There are many problems with being an Employer of Choice (EOC).  To begin with, any employer can simply decide they are one.

Further, everyone seemingly is one.  There is nothing unique about being an employer of choice.  THAT is the problem; being an employer of choice does nothing for your business.

So what’s the solution?

Let’s begin with the stated benefits of being an Employer of Choice (EOC).  In general, terms being an employer of choice means that when people look for a job your business is the first business they consider.  Other benefits employers seek are that they receive more applications and that they have a higher retention rate for their existing employees.  On the surface, these seem like great outcomes.  Achieving these outcomes by becoming, or more commonly simply declaring you are, an EOC are seen as valuable by almost all businesses.  Therefore, almost all businesses take the position they are or are striving to be an EOC.  That isn’t the wisest use of resources for your business. You don’t want to be just like every other business.

There is also the question of who do you want to be an EOC to?  Everyone, certain ones?  Are those certain ones in your community, specific occupations or skills?  How do you know what those individuals want?  Assuming you are successful and every one of your targets see you as an EOC who will process, and at what cost, the hundreds if not thousands of applications and resumes you will receive.  Also, when you can only hire a small percentage how will you address the fallout over “they don’t hire anybody”?  How will you work internally to prevent the attitude of “so many people want to work here that we can fire you and replace you in a minute” from taking over?

Certainly, the things a business does to achieve EOC status are both well intended and important.  However, when you and all of your competitors claim you are an EOC where is the competitive advantage? What differentiates you from any other employer?  The initiatives that a business takes to become an EOC must still, in part, be done.  There remain key missing steps that can eliminate the need for an EOC or the also ever-present Best Place to Work labels.  These all go back to one of the original questions – who do you want?

Many businesses say they want the best or have the best.  They may well want the best but having them or keeping them – that needs attention too.  Consider the following:

You have a work area that is the most important in your business.  You have workers in that unit of varying abilities; the best is A worker, and the worst are C workers.  Most are B workers.  How do you reward them? 

Considering only compensation, if you reward as a Team, then everyone is paid the same.  If you are like most businesses in America, you address them as individuals and give an average 3% pay increase to the A’s, a 2% to be B’s and a 1-2% to the C’s.   Why should an A employee put forth the effort when a B employee gets 2%.  Further, how often do you give more attention to your B & C employees than you’re an employee?  Employees by definition are superior workers who don’t need supervision – or words to that effect.  Think about your answers. There are many ways to reward employees beyond direct compensation.

If you truly want to attract and retain the best employees, then you have to create an environment that values the best employees.  You have to treat your employees differently depending on their performance, and you have to treat them differently depending on the value of the role to the business.  That doesn’t mean create a social hierarchy of “you are less or more important than me.”  It means creating an environment where high contributing roles, performed by high contributing workers are rewarded more because they bring greater value.  Further, you want to create an environment where poor workers feel compelled to become good workers or to take their poor work habits to your competition.  Those are the missing pieces to your EOC initiative that is now an Employee of Choice initiative.

“…you want to create an environment where poor workers feel compelled to become good workers or to take their poor work habits to your competition.”  

No one can duplicate your workforce if you follow this process.  You have effectively branded your business as a high performing high achieving business that rewards those who perform.  Your customers are happier and you leave your competition behind.

It’s a simple choice for you; be like everyone else and become an Employer of Choice, or truly recognize the value of your workers and seek the Employee of Choice.

It’s your choice.