How do you build an extraordinary organization? How do you attract the right people to your team and grow a winning organization? Earlier this week, I talked about building a great culture and several keys to building a breakthrough organization. Today, I share what I’ve learned from many successful entrepreneurs about becoming an employer of choice. Why should you care? According to the book, Becoming an Employer of Choice by Judith Leary-Joyce, employers of choice outperform their competitors by between 10 – 15% each year.
Over the past 20 years, many of my clients have been perennial winners on Fortune magazine’s Most Respected Organizations list. One the qualities I respect about most of them is not their ability to be breakthrough marketers, or their ability to grow by x percent a year. Instead, it’s their ability to find, attract, develop, and retain key performers over long periods of time.
There are three common traits that all these companies share. I’d like to pass them on to you. These traits work in any industry and provide unique insights that can help your business become an employer of choice.
The first quality required to be an employer of choice is being good at developing talent. They all see employee and leadership development as critical to their ability to compete in their markets. This doesn’t mean they do it the same way. Understanding that different people have different needs in their roles is the secret of attracting great talent to your organization. Almost all great organizations know what kind of person excels in their organizations. Do you know what type of person excels in your organization?
The second quality to be an employer of choice is creating a high trust environment. I spoke on a platform earlier this year with Stephen MR Covey. He makes a strong case why trust is the secret weapon for growing organizations. I would agree with Stephen and go one step further. Without trust, your organization can never be a great place to work. As we bring the next generation onboard, we will be challenged to leverage the different strengths of our team members if we hope to succeed in engaging them for the long term. With so many different challenges, your people need to know they can trust their leaders to do the right thing. As MR would say; to get trust, you must give trust. In many good organizations, leaders are worried about controlling their employees. They fail to trust their employees because they are uncertain the employees will do what’s needed when it’s needed. Trust is a critical element in empowering and engaging others. Trust must be a cardinal value if you hope to become an employer of choice today. I believe the lack of trust comes from the lack of training and development of your employees. Managers fear people cannot do what expected of them because they don’t know how. In a less challenging time, we spent time developing people to be the best they can be. Today companies don’t always invest in developing their people.
The third quality to be an employer of choice is investing your time and money to develop your people’s strengths and gifts. When you train an individual, you get incredible return on your investment, not only in the short term, but as this person matures and grows, so does your organization. I believe there is a strong correlation between employee engagement and training. When individuals feel that you care enough to invest in them, they are more like to stay with an employer. If they enjoy what they do, they will help you recruit others to the organization. Today, we have many ways to develop the talent in our organizations. If you want to be an employer of choice, you need a blended development solution to optimize your training investment. Employer of choice organizations are masters at leveraging their people’s ability to help others grow. If you want to engage and retain more employees, consider developing a mentoring program for your employees. You may be surprised how your employees embrace the opportunity to help others develop. Next week, we talk about mentoring programs to energize your organization. See you next week.