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Attracting The Best Candidates

Do you have what it takes to become one of the country’s top-rated employers?

When Fortune magazine makes their yearly list, they survey employees on topics such as management credibility, job satisfaction, and camaraderie, then they ask company management detailed questions about pay and benefit programs, hiring practices, internal communication, training, recognition programs, and diversity efforts.

The Fortune ratings look at tangibles such as pay rates, health benefits and family-friendly programs as well as intangibles like work-life balance and employee satisfaction. Most of the 100 companies report low turnover rates, and their employees report a high level of job satisfaction.

Even if your company is not on Fortune’s list, you can still be a terrific employer. It’s not just a high pay rate or special perks that makes your employees happy. First and foremost, you have to make them feel they are important to your company’s success.

Top employers have a commitment to people that is more substantial than just a great benefits package. They build a work environment where employees are constantly engaged and committed to business success. They employ leaders who clearly communicate strategic direction, and who show basic respect and appreciation for the men and women who come to work every day.

Between the struggling economy, corporate scandals, and downsizing, it’s not surprising that few employees believe in long-term job security. By placing a high value on employees’ needs, employers can inspire people to do their best work and motivate them to stay with the company.

Senior management should not be invisible to the everyday workforce. They need to be involved in developing top talent, interviewing potential employees, and communicating the company’s goals and direction. They need to:

  1. Maintain Visibility by talking directly to employees often. Higher visibility and accessibility of senior leaders helps to build trust among employees.

  2. Provide Clarity and Focus by regularly communicating with employees about the company’s direction, business strategy, and goals, as well as indicating what role employees will play an how performance that role is measured.

  3. Encourage Openness and Involvement by creating a company culture in which employees are encouraged to give suggestions and feedback and by using a consultative approach to problem solving and strategy development.

Management, including HR professionals, committed to attracting and retaining high quality people must take the time and effort to articulate the company’s culture and values and how those connect to day-to-day employee activity, performance and communication. Business leaders committed to scaling a healthy organization then need to hire people for “culture fit” – people with the ability, drive and mindset that matches that culture — as well as for their skills. Once a company knows what they need and want, they then need to create an attractive company culture by:

  1. Providing a longer on-boarding process to help new hires assimilate to the company

  2. Being clear about performance standards, metrics and accountability

  3. Promoting from within

  4. Identifying high-potential talent and providing training

  5. Creating and executing leadership development programs

Business leaders also need to instill a strong sense of responsibility in their people Managers. Great people working for mediocre managers leave. Managers must be committed to managing performance, coaching and training their people, giving the right people additional and challenging responsibility as well as acknowledging their employees unique contribution. High quality employees require a clear understanding of their role and expect a regular performance management review. High-ranking managers also understand the importance of celebrating successes such as achieving project milestones or meeting or exceeding targets. Solid Managers work to know their employees and what is important for them so they can customize training, rewards, perks and projects to fit their people.

If you would like your company to emulate the success of the country’s top employers, take stock of your current people practices and leadership effectiveness, then evaluate employee engagement. Do your company’s practices include inspired leadership, a unique company culture, a focus on growing talent and strong sense of accountability? With a little bit of work, your company can at least be tops for your employees, your customers, and your shareholders.


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