You Don’t Want To Be An Employer Of Choice

It seems to be every business’s goal.  They want to be an employer of choice.  They seek designation for it as if the term somehow makes them better than their competition.  Some simply declare themselves as such while others pursue some local designation or one of the many “Best Places to work for <insert category here>.”  What exactly is an employer of choice?  Is it the right designation or focus for a business, or, is there a different way?

Let’s begin with the definition.  Being an employer of choice means nothing more than you are apparently a great place to work.  It means you are admired for it, and people want to work for you.  You receive unsolicited resumes, and when you have open positions, there is no shortage of applicants.  Everyone will want to work for your company, and you’ll have your pick of the hundreds or thousands that will apply.  In general terms, it sounds like a great idea.  It may not be.  It could very well be a problem not only for your recruiting but also for your business performance, productivity, profitability and even shareholder value. , You are probably shaking your head and wondering If I’m under the influence of some mind-altering substance.  Read on, as I am not.

The first driver of Employer of Choice is that you’ll always have a steady stream of applicants.  In our current reality or less than 3% unemployment there aren’t a lot of people applying for jobs.

That means the simplest solution is to retain what you have.  However, Gallup consistently shows us that over half of all workers are dissatisfied with their current job.  Further, other surveys, including Gallup, tell us as many as 3/4ths of all employees are actively seeking new employment.  Perhaps your Employer of Choice Model will help retain what you have.  The question then becomes, are you retaining the right employees.  In other words, are you actually getting the Employee of Choice?


In a retention model, this focuses on your establishing a unique brand for your business that focuses on differentiating between the best employees and everyone else. This all begins by identifying the key strategies your business must execute to be successful and then identifying what behavior and process drivers create successful execution.

What does that mean in normal language?  It means you are not only focusing on your best employees, the ones who successfully and consistently execute your business strategy while also exceeding performance expectations, but you are also rewarding them at a noticeably higher rate than all of your other employees.  So how does this help your business?

The answer begins with the same reality I mentioned above; the labor pool is limited, we have more open jobs than people available to do them.  We must not only keep our very best employees, our “A” Players, we also want to attract more of them.  I don’t think there is a lot of disagreement that A Players out produce and outperform B and C Players.  Retaining the ones you have and in turn, treating them like the valuable high performers they are, will become known to their peers.  If we accept that “Birds of a feather flock together” then we accept that you’re a Players, know other A Players.  The reputation your company develops by demonstrating the value you place on A players, will, in turn, attract other A Players who want to work where they are valued.  You now begin to experience that you are attracting and retaining the employee of choice and are not simply the “go to company” for anyone who wants a good paying job with great benefits.

As you consider this approach your question may involve the thought that this is time-consuming, hard and that it will also take commitment.  It will, and most likely take skills your management and HR does not possess.  Take some comfort in the fact that many organizations have the same issue.  Those skills must be developed and may take external help to do that.  However, what comes from this is a return on the investment of those efforts in improved organizational performance, organizational productivity and organizational profitability.  Your employee retention will be vastly improved as your good employees, the ones you truly want to keep, will not be wooed away by your competitor across the street because they increased what they pay.  In fact, your competitor across the street may well incur increased costs because you have differentiated your business so well that they can no longer successfully compete. There is the added benefit of refocusing your business efforts toward workforce productivity instead of the tired cycle of hiring and laying off to improve profit.  It also will allow you to perform more, with less, and have an enthusiastic and engaged workforce doing that.

This different approach, differentiating your workforce, will also differentiate your business.  Not only will you now outperform your competition, your business will reap a better benefit than what you expected when you wanted to be an employer of Choice like every other business.  You now have a reputation where only the best work for you.  You are walking the talk that your employees are your greatest asset and equally important, your A Player employees know that too.