Virtually anyone can post a job opening, but not everyone can be an employer of choice.

It’s a coveted position among companies, giving you an edge when recruiting top talent. It also potentially makes it easier to recruit new workers, since existing employees may act as goodwill ambassadors to recruit friends, associates and former colleagues to a place they are proud to work for.

What Is an Employer of Choice? 

An employer of choice is a company people really want to work for. It’s highly sought after by job seekers and is also extremely attractive to passive job candidates. A common theme among employers of choice is that they all offer a great work environment.


What Is an Employer of Choice?

An employer of choice is a company that is highly sought after by people hunting for jobs and can easily get interest from passive job seekers — all of whom would be excited to join the organization because of its reputation.

Being an employer of choice is also great for employee retention.

More on Retention15 Employee Retention Strategies for Keeping Top Talent


Characteristics of an Employer of Choice

So, what are the key characteristics of an employer of choice?

For starters, an employer of choice offers a great working environment. Contributing factors to a good working environment include offering solid growth opportunities and empowering employees to make decisions and take action on their own without constant oversight by their manager.

Other traits of an employer of choice include:

  • A keen awareness of the benefits and perks offered by competing employers to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Focus on delivering a great experience for employees.
  • Authentic care and concern for employees.
  • company culture employees enjoy.
  • A respected reputation in the industry. 

An employer of choice also intertwines fun with a productive culture. This can be done in many ways, from team-building activities where employees have to rely on each other’s skills, to team dinners that celebrate achieving major goals.


How to Become an Employer of Choice

13 Ways to Be an Employer of Choice

  1. Appoint strong, self-assured and trusted leaders
  2. Foster work-life balance
  3. Offer interesting and challenging work
  4. Provide performance bonuses
  5. Get involved with the community
  6. Level the playing field
  7. Listen to your employees
  8. Make the right tools available
  9. Offer growth opportunities
  10. Have perks that ideal employees want
  11. Foster empowerment and respect
  12. Prioritize transparency and access to information
  13. Recognize employees regularly


Appoint Strong, Self-Assured and Trusted Leaders

A strong, self-assured trusted leader helps set the tone for your organization, giving employees confidence the ship is steering in the right direction. These leaders also encourage others in the company to develop leadership skills and are approachable to all employees, regardless of their positions.

More on LeadershipWhat Is Leadership, Really?


Foster Work-Life Balance

Employees seek companies that offer flexibility and that allow them to juggle their personal lives with their professional ones. Employers also stand to gain from promoting a better work-life balance: Happy employees are 13 percent more productive, according to research from Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.


Offer Interesting and Challenging Work

Strike a balance by offering work that will challenge employees while remaining manageable. Some ways to make sure an employee is able to balance their work, according to an HR Cloud blog post, include checking in with them and helping to identify their most productive time of day, their strategies for prioritization and potential opportunities to cluster related work.

Keep the work interesting through a number of steps, like increasing an employee’s responsibilities or finding passion projects they can work on at work.


Provide Performance Bonuses

It’s one thing to offer a competitive wage, but to top it off with a performance bonus for meeting certain productivity or performance standards makes for an attractive financial package for prospective candidates and current employees.


Get Involved With the Community 

Job candidates, especially millennials, are increasingly becoming interested in companies that offer volunteer opportunities. With that in mind, employers of choice offer benefits like designated work days to volunteer or matching the employees’ donations to charitable organizations.

Others offer sponsored community involvement events, which can range from teams competing to pick up the most trash at a local park on Earth Day to helping a local school with its career day.


Level the Playing Field 

Fair treatment is paramount to running a great workplace. Steps to achieve this include salary surveys for going rates in the market, reviewing your diversity, equity and inclusion metrics, and seeking out any discrepancies between company policies and actions taken.


Listen to Your Employees

Seek ways to learn how employees feel about their work environment, work-life balance, and their ability to have their voices heard. You can get a sense of how employees are feeling through pulse surveys, 1-on-1 conversations and town hall meetings.


Make the Right Tools Available

Prospective candidates, especially those in tech, are keenly interested in the tools you provide them to do their jobs. After all, productivity tools like collaboration app Asana or Google Workspace can make a task much easier if you have them as well as potentially make things run more efficiently in the process.


Offer Growth Opportunities 

Provide training to expand skill development and growth, and offer performance development and career path planning. Help employees take advantage of those new skills and abilities with job assignments that will allow them to stretch their wings and feel even greater engagement with your company.


Have Perks That Ideal Employees Want

Offer perks that are meaningful for the type of employees you are seeking to attract. For example, if you want to build your company with a 100-percent remote workforce, then offer flexible work hours as a perk to attract remote workers.

More on Remote WorkHow to Make Your Work-From-Home Policy More Effective


Foster Empowerment and Respect

It’s critical to empower employees with the ability to make decisions and take responsibility for their job. And equally important is to support an employee if their decision or action fails. For example, a sales team employee reaches out to a new category of potential customers. You support that effort and see the potential, but after a year and no results, it is time to pull the plug on the effort. Rather than penalize the employee for a failed effort, consider discussing what went right and wrong with the market expansion attempt and ask the employee to take those things into consideration with any future new market expansion efforts.


Prioritize Transparency and Access to Information

Keeping employees in the loop in a meaningful way by being transparent helps build trust with your workforce. For example, if your company is undergoing difficult times with its financial health, product development or launching a new service, acknowledge these difficulties in a town hall meeting with employees and allow them to ask questions. Also provide access to some of the data, if possible, so they can visually see the information, as well.


Recognize Employees Regularly

Recognition goes a long way to becoming an employer of choice. By dishing out gratitude, praise and appreciation in an authentic and equitable way — and on a regular basis — your company can benefit in a number of ways. For example, 56 percent of employees who receive recognition that meets their expectations are less likely to be looking for a new job and four times more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work, according to a Gallup-Workhuman study of 7,636 working adults in the United States. That recognition can come in a variety of forms from acknowledging team wins in a companywide email to offering lunch with the CEO.

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