Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Meaning of Being an Employer of Choice

It must be the season.

No, I am not thinking of baby lambs, kittens, nor of planting the garden... I am talking about the lists I am seeing touting "a Great Place To Work" or " Employer of Choice" top 10, 25, 100 lists. And seeing all this I cannot but wonder about 1. if such ranking have an interest whatsoever, 2. if so, how are the criteria used differently in each case, 3. is there any standardized approach?, 4. how to best leverage this information.

It appears that if on one side, there are similarities, there isn't really a standard, agreed approach. Many different providers issue their own list, based on specific priorities. Two examples in North America are Employer of Choice and A Great Place To Work, both registered trademarks by the Herman Group; then there are the multiple magazines and association, such as Fortune Magazine, or Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace, establishing their own lists, based on their own criteria. More career sites and apps are launching their own lists.

And this is only in the US... Some examples:

Mercury News
Money Magazine

Interestingly and logically, the items in the laundry list above are the same as stated in a recent article about loyalty.

Compare yourself:
List as proposed by Employer of Choice:
  1. The Company
  2. The Culture
  3. Enlightened Leadership
  4. Care of People
  5. Growth and Opportunity
  6. Meaningful Work
  7. Compensation & Benefits
  8. Making a Difference
  9. Employee Loyalty
  10. Performance Results
It is a two-ways street. To get to the holy grail of employee engagement and build employees loyalty, the corporate environment has to look in offering some elements such as below; these in turn are reflected in the categories above, that are used to determine yearly ranking.
  1. interesting, challenging work
  2. opportunities for advancement and learning
  3. collegial workforce
  4. fair compensation
  5. respected management
  6. recognition for accomplishment
  7. feeling like a valued member of the team
  8. a substantial benefits package
  9. the feeling their work “makes a difference”
  10. overall pride in the company’s mission and its products
Should it really be amusing, or is it just common sense?
I spent some time writing about the sustainability of HR practices (see here). Isn't it logical that the very same practices that generate employees loyalty are those recommended to become an employer of choice?

Now, the only mystery is the diversity of the lists provided by different services...