Become an Employer of Choice

Want to become an employer of choice? A review of research, surveys, and other sources provides some key considerations to get started. Special consideration is given to Millennials, as they compose today’s largest workforce demographic.

Flexibility
• The demands on employees’ work and personal lives is higher than ever; technology has shattered the wall that once separated them. Balance is still prized, so employers who offer workplace flexibility to achieve balance are attractive to employees.
• Accustomed to new ways of accessing information, Millennials are impatient with rigid work practices that aren’t clearly focused on outcomes. If there is a quicker, smarter way of doing something, they prefer employers who allow such workplace flexibility to “get the job done.”
• Within the boundaries of the law, what flexible workplace policies can you offer employees? How can supervisors and leaders develop trust in flexible work arrangements with employees who don’t follow previously accepted, long-held workplace norms?

Challenging work
• Effective employees of all generations typically seek continual workplace challenges and opportunities for professional development and personal growth.
• Many early-career Millennials seek rapid career advancement; challenging projects provide opportunities to develop new skills and growth. Employers faced with constantly evolving business conditions may leverage these attitudes to address unforeseen and new challenges.
• Are your workplace practices conducive to delegating challenges to employees? How does your workplace encourage and support new skill development and personal growth? Are supervisors willing and able to coach and mentor newer staff through anticipated learning curves?

Meaningful Work
• Beyond earning a paycheck, individuals seek work that offers a meaningful and positive impact on a specific beneficiary (e.g., individuals, community, society, humanity, nature).
• Employers with a mission that is clear, compelling, accurate, and incorporated into daily work attracts every generation. Work environments with passionate, mission-driven people appeal to many Millennials and may overcome negatives like lower pay and benefits.
• Do you have a workplace Mission that accurately connects employee efforts with a larger purpose? Is mission identified and celebrated by leadership in daily work activities?

Communication
• Employees crave information about their workplace, desire an interactive dialog with leadership, and expect specific feedback about job performance.
• Millennials demand frequent feedback by employers, both positive and corrective, to promote rapid improvement in job performance and advancement opportunities. Relying on scheduled reviews to provide job performance feedback is an ineffective, outdated practice.
• How will you adapt your performance feedback practices to leverage the new expectations of younger workers? If your leadership team’s communication style is primarily a one-way, top-down information download, how can it evolve into an engaging dialog with employees?

Diversity
• All generations expect their employer to respect diversity in the workplace.
• Millennials in particular are attracted to employers with evidence of a commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Policies that promote tolerance and respect for all individuals is a start. Workplace practices, environment, and outcomes matter most.
• Beyond policies, what is your strategy to foster a work environment of inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance? How is this celebrated and made public by leadership and demonstrated during interactions at every level of the organization?

Relationships
• High-quality relationships in the workplace are highly valued, especially among immediate work groups and with immediate supervisors. An employee’s workplace relationship with his or her immediate supervisor is most impactful. Disconnects at this level severely undermine employee retention efforts and abilities to attract new talent.
• Millennials embrace an overlap between personal and work life; authentic relationships that transcend the 9-to-5 workday are valued.
• What is your strategy to create and foster meaningful workplace relationships? How will you assist supervisors in improving their people development skills?

Call MSEC for help to become an Employer of Choice. For assistance with this article, please contact me at jmcdonough@msec.org or 800.884.1328 x5330.