Matthew Urwin | Apr 14, 2023

An employer of choice is a company that, because of its stellar reputation, is highly sought after by job seekers. Employers of choice can also reel in top talent that only ever browse job opportunities passively.

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.

Employers of choice often build their reputations by providing rewarding work environments that elevate the employee experience, which raises the company’s brand in the eyes of current employees and prospective job candidates.

Characteristics of an Employer of Choice

While there is no single strategy for becoming an employer of choice, there are common traits that set employers of choice above average companies. 


Strong Company Leadership 

An excellent company leader provides a business with direction, aligning short-term strategies with the company’s mission statement and core values. Leaders who can instill within employees a clear outlook of where the business is going and what steps they need to take to get there can build confidence and trust among their workforce. Making sound decisions is one thing, but ensuring employees understand those decisions is key to maintaining employee loyalty.  


Culture of Transparency

Regular forms of communication are essential to creating a transparent company culture. This might take the form of writing weekly newsletters that discuss industry trends, setting up monthly calls where leaders address the entire company and sharing important milestones in the company Slack. Providing spaces for employees to learn more about the business and the larger field makes them feel informed and on the same page as the leadership team.

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Fair Treatment of Employees 

Cultivating a sense of fairness can influence employees’ perception of the company and how they treat each other in everyday interactions. Following practices like pay transparency shows that a company respects its employees by offering equitable compensation and keeping its policies accessible. Companies can also enforce DEI initiatives to make their workforces more inclusive, removing the idea that they cater to people of specific backgrounds.    


Employee Empowerment and Autonomy

Rigid structure and micromanagement can hinder creativity, taking away from employees’ independence and innovation. To empower employees, managers can let team members decide their own workflows and encourage feedback for improving daily processes. Leaders can also give employees more of a say on a company-wide level by asking them to share ideas for future projects, office upgrades and other aspects of the business.  


Engaging and Varying Work

Repetitive work that feels meaningless can drain employees’ motivation and lead to employee burnout. Presenting a company chart and explaining how each member’s role contributes to the company mission can strengthen one’s sense of purpose. If a role seems narrow in its responsibilities, managers can give employees new assignments and place them on collaborative cross-departmental projects to switch up their usual routine. 


Career Growth Opportunities 

According to a 2022 Statista report, a lack of career development opportunities is the main reason 41 percent of employees have left their jobs. Managers can convince employees to stick around by discussing their career goals and what they want to achieve in their current and future roles. Equipping an employee with opportunities, skills and tasks relevant to their passions and fields of interest can help them view their company as a place where they can keep growing for years to come. 


Excellent Work-Life Balance

Employees value work-life balance, with 88 percent of participants in an Employee Benefits Survey placing extra importance on health-related benefits. Companies can help employees attain better balance by including benefits like unlimited PTO, wellness days and remote work options. Prioritizing mental health allows employees to take much-needed breaks, preserving the overall well-being of the company workforce.    


Commitment to Community Initiatives 

Offering volunteer days in an employee benefits package enables employees to build new skills and connections outside of work while also forming stronger bonds with their co-workers. Supporting local charities, sustainability efforts and social causes ties a company’s brand to larger initiatives that make employees feel proud to work for their company. This can boost morale and keep employees committed to their organization.  


Employee Recognition

Recognizing employees for their work can positively impact both their productivity and the quality of their work. In fact, organizations that double the number of employees they actively recognize for their work have increased their productivity by 9 percent. Employers of choice take time to highlight employees’ contributions in a Slack channel or during a company meeting, so employees feel more like valued members of the team.  


Space for Social Bonding and Activities  

The impact of having a close relationship with someone at work is real. Employees who have a best friend at work are 17 percent more likely to say they’re extremely satisfied with their workplace. Hosting company outings and after-work dinners can thaw the ice between employees unfamiliar with each other. Remote and hybrid workplaces can also organize virtual team activities to keep more distant members connected.

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Why Being an Employer of Choice Matters

A company’s success largely hinges on its ability to attract and retain talented workers, making an admired reputation invaluable. Below are a few of the competitive advantages businesses can enjoy when they’re known as an employer of choice.  


Recruiting Top Candidates 

A renowned reputation can be a game changer for a company’s recruiting strategy. If a business takes care of its employer brand, as much as 75 percent of job seekers may apply for a position at the company. 

Candidates pay attention to how an organization treats its employees and what employees have to say about their workplace. Satisfied employees are likely to share positive reviews with connections and on digital platforms, putting their workplace on the radar of job seekers and prospective candidates.      


Retaining High-Performing Employees

Many of the factors that go into an employer of choice status are also crucial for retaining employees. Among the main reasons why U.S. workers quit their jobs in 2021, 37 percent said low pay, 35 percent said feeling disrespected at work and 33 percent said lack of advancement opportunities. Comprehensive employee benefits, a supportive culture and career growth resources are just a few elements that can convince talented employees they are valued at their current company.  


Maintaining a Productive Environment 

Delivering a superior employee experience keeps employees engaged and happy, which can affect a company’s productivity and retention rate. When looking at companies with high engagement levels and low engagement levels, the ones with higher levels enjoyed an 18-percent rise in productivity and up to a 43-percent reduction in employee turnover. A nourishing work environment may persuade employees to stay where they are, reducing the workflow disruptions that come with employees shuffling in and out of the lineup. 


Improving Operational Efficiency

Recruiting and hiring new employees adds up, with the average cost per hire landing around $4,700. By building and sustaining an employee-friendly workplace, companies can cut down on the time and resources needed to constantly fill open positions. This leaves leadership with extra funds they can funnel into employee benefits, company activities and flexible work options that only enhance the company’s status as an employer of choice.

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