Every organisation these days - big or small - wants to become an employer of choice. Many claim they are when 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, being an employer of choice means establishing a business 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 a of complexity, accelerated change and uncertainty.
Employers of choice 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 have probably been - or are - part of. This new employment relationship is based on the changing needs and interests of employees and organisations.
There are eight values of this new relationship between management and labour. The table below summarises this relationship:
The new employment relationship model
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 the business owner who is an employer 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.
Business owners and managers would do well to embed this new thinking in their companies. Most businesses are in flux between the ‘old and new’ employment relationship.