The eight values of an employer of choice

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Written by Tim Baker on 7 May 2014

Reading time: 2m 30s.

Every organisation these days - big or small - wants to become an employer of choice. Many claim they are and in reality few can be considered as such. 

In today’s skills' short marketplace, many employers are adopting an employer of choice strategy, offering a variety of employee benefits in an attempt to attract and retain quality staff. A lot of these companies are doing this in a superficial way. It is often more about image than substance. The majority of today’s employees are not influenced by employers’ shallow claims of being an employer of choice. It is not as simple as offering prospective employees trinkets. 

In plain terms, employer of choice means an organisation that is a great place to work. If companies don’t genuinely act to become an employer of choice then good employees will simply vote with their feet and move to a forward thinking employer who offers them what they want. Being an employer of choice is more than marketing gimmickry. 

The essence of becoming an employer of choice is the quality of the employment relationship, or psychological contract. The traditional employment relationship which has arguably been hugely successful for over 200 years since the Industrial Revolution is a hindrance in climate of complexity, accelerated change and uncertainty. 

Employers of choice such as Google and SAS have created a culture that is based on a new employment relationship. It is more collaborative and open than the old 'them and us' relationship we have all witnessed and probably been - or are - part of. This new employment relationship is based on the changing needs and interests of employees and organisations. 

My research has defined eight values of this new relationship between management and labour. The table below summarises this relationship: 

 

Shared value

Employee mindset

Employer mindset

Flexible deployment

Willingness to work in a variety of organisational roles and settings.

Encourage employees to work in other organisational roles.

 

Customer focus

Serve the customer before your manager.

Provide information, skills and incentives to focus externally.

Performance Focus

Focus on what you do, not where you work.

Link rewards and benefits with performance rather than organisational dependency.

Project-based work

Accept yourself as a project-based worker rather than a function-based employee.

Structuring work around projects rather than organisational functions.

Human spirit and work

Valuing work that is meaningful.

Provide work (wherever possible) that is meaningful.

Commitment

Commit to assisting the organisational achieve its outcomes.

Commit to assisting employees to achieve their personal objectives.

Learning and development

Commit to lifelong learning.

Enter into a partnership for employee development.

Open information

Willing to show enterprise and initiative.

Providing employees with access to a wide range of information.

 

On the left-hand column are the eight values. The middle column represents the appropriate mindsets for progressive employees and the right-hand column represents the mindsets of organisations that are employers of choice. 

The new employment relationship is still based on a psychological contract. But the mindsets are diametrically opposite to the old them and us relationship. 

Trainers and L&D professionals would do well to embed this new thinking in their learning interventions. Mot organisations are in flux between the old and new employment relationship. As a profession we have a critical role to play in assisting managers and employees to embrace these eight new values. 

About the author
Dr Tim Baker is an international consultant and managing director of WINNERS AT WORK. He can be contacted via www.winnersatwork.com.au

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