By Claudine Kapel
What does it take to become an employer of choice?
Some organizations place a lot of emphasis on understanding external or industry best practices when seeking out ways to better attract and retain talent.
But the employment relationship is precisely that – a relationship between the organization and individuals who work there. In this context, best practices may not even be meaningful.
You wouldn’t adopt another organization’s business strategy. And for the same reasons, you’re not going to engage employees’ hearts and minds by just copying what others do from a total rewards perspective.
In reality, the best road to becoming an employer of choice is one that takes you on an inward journey. It’s not about figuring out what works elsewhere or what most companies are doing. It’s about finding that special magic that propels your own organization to greatness.
Consider the results of the latest Best Employers in Canada study. The study, conducted by Aon Hewitt, shows that leading organizations distinguish themselves in a myriad of ways.
In its coverage of the study, Maclean’s asked the 50 organizations on the list for 2011 why they think they earned such high marks from their staff. The responses were as diverse as the organizations on the list.
Of course, there were some common themes – like the importance of career development and recognition.
Some organizations emphasized opportunities for promotion and advancement. Others spoke to culture, highlighting team-oriented environments and accessible leaders. A few pointed to flexible work arrangements or focused on employee wellness. And some noted they also took time to have fun.
But every organization had its own unique story to tell. More importantly, what works well in one organization may not fly at all in another. Not every company can lay claim to a family-oriented environment or entrepreneurial culture. Flexible work arrangements may not be suitable in every situation. And not every organization can deliver significant promotional opportunities.
So what’s your organization’s story? How does it seek to make its mark in the world? What does it do to engage the hearts and minds of employees? Are there opportunities to make the organization an even better place to work?
By looking within, you can begin to identify where your organization excels as an employer, as well as where the gaps are. The inward focus is essential because the employment relationship needs to build on – and support – an organization’s business strategy, culture and talent requirements.
That’s why creating a great place to work is an inside job.
Claudine Kapel is principal of Kapel and Associates Inc., a Toronto-based human resources and communications consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of compensation and total rewards programs. For more information, visit www.kapelandassociates.com.