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5 Ways to Become an Employer of Choice

Standing out in a crowded talent market is tough. Use these strategies to build an employer brand that attracts top talent.

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Your reputation as an employer is make or break for your company. Without great talent, it’s impossible for your company to meet goals and grow. Studies show that when making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important. 

Companies that want to attract the best talent today need to think about how they can become an employer of choice that’s known for a positive employee experience. In this blog, we’ve collected a few top strategies for becoming an employer of choice. 

What is an employer of choice?

An employer of choice is an organization that candidates want to work for because of its strong employer brand and company reputation. Employers of choice offer a positive work environment and culture, take into account employee feedback, offer growth opportunities, and retain and attract employees through a variety of employee engagement strategies. Because every employee has different wants, needs, and priorities, the employer of choice for one individual may not be the employer of choice for another. Even so, there are several ways you can stand out to top talent. 

How to become an employer of choice

Below are a few strategies that leading companies are implementing to become an employer of choice, attract more job applicants, and retain employees. 

1. Offer a competitive salary

An employer of choice offers a competitive salary and benefits package to its employees. When deciding on the appropriate salary for a new position, be sure to conduct a pay analysis and compare it to others in the market. 

Transparency is also critical. It's worth having conversations about compensation early in the interview process to avoid wasting anyone’s time. With more cities and states adopting pay transparency laws, now may be a good time to revisit your compensation strategy and job posting templates. Survey research from Indeed found that 75% of respondents are more likely to apply for a role if the salary range is listed. Even if it’s not yet required in your city or state, proactive pay transparency is one way to breed trust in candidates and employees and demonstrate an employee-first philosophy. 

Don’t forget about current employees, too. Exit surveys and regular feedback during management reviews can act as a great tool to learn if poor compensation is causing team members to leave or if there are other cultural factors at play. 

Some employers such as nonprofits or startups may be unable to offer a salary within the highest pay range in the market. But other characteristics can still make them an employer of choice, such as increased flexibility, great company culture, and top-notch benefits. 

2. Provide flexible benefits

According to one study, 97% of employees would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers, and 86% want either fully remote or remote-first work environments. These numbers may stress HR teams in industries such as healthcare or construction where remote work simply isn’t possible. 

But flexibility can come in many surprising forms. Flexibility can translate to job sharing, flexible scheduling in work shifts, increased vacation time, or a 4-day work week. Giving employees more freedom in how they organize their workdays demonstrates that you trust them and appreciate that they have priorities outside of work. 

Flexible benefits programs are another way to support employee wellness. One-size-fits-all benefits plans don’t offer the customization and personalization that allow employees to get the most out of their benefits. Instead of offering discounts to a gym or on-site perks, more companies are providing flexible stipends in the form of lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs) that employees can use to pay for massages, gym memberships, groceries, meal delivery, employee development, cell phone and internet bills, work from home equipment, meditation apps, childcare, pet care, and more. The flexibility of an LSA empowers employees to spend their funds in the ways that make the most sense for them and their families.

We put together a list of 13 Unique Employee Benefits to Attract and Retain Top Talent to inspire ideas for creative programs. Use it to explore what’s possible with your benefits package.  

13 Unique Employee Benefits to Attract and Retain Talent

3. Create an inclusive company culture

Leading organization value inclusivity and diversity. An inclusive organization is two times as likely to exceed financial targets and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes. Employees who feel appreciated, welcomed, and valued are more likely to enjoy their work and be happier and more productive as result. Building an inclusive company culture must start from the top with senior leadership. At leading organizations like Merck, senior leadership and all managers are required to go through unconscious bias training. 

Once your senior leadership team is on board, you can form an inclusion and diversity council to work through specific initiatives. These may include items such as overhauling recruiting practices to be more inclusive, building employee resource groups, and accommodating employees in the workplace. There are many day-to-day items that organizations can do to take the personal beliefs of their employees into account. These include measures such as establishing unisex bathrooms and lactation rooms for nursing mothers, creating prayer or meditation rooms, asking about dietary restrictions prior to company events, and frequently hosting events for coworkers to get to know one another. 

4. Offer opportunities for personal and professional development

A recent workforce survey by the Conference Board found that 58% of employees are more likely to leave an employer if they do not offer opportunities for professional development. Besides helping retain your current employees, professional development benefits make your company a more attractive employer by showing you care about helping employees progress in their careers. HR teams can highlight the program as a great benefit during the recruiting process as today’s candidates are looking for employers that value their professional and personal well-being.

Offering employees opportunities for personal enrichment may have just as many benefits as traditional professional development courses. Research has shown that participating in an art-related activity can reduce cortisol levels, providing an instant feeling of calm. Engaging in creative work also causes us to use different parts of our brain, leading to previously untapped problem-solving and thinking skills. 

5. Design a rewards and recognition program

Employees who believe they will be recognized are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged, according to Quantum Workplace research. Employees who are engaged at work are more productive and deliver better work, making recognition programs a true win-win for companies.

When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% notice a positive impact on engagement, according to a SHRM-Globoforce survey.  While spot bonuses provide freedom in how employees can spend the money, they don’t always feel as rewarding. If an employee recognition reward is tacked onto a paycheck, employees might feel obligated to put the extra money toward bills, household needs, or debt repayment. They may not even notice it on their paycheck. 

Another option is rewarding employees with a stipend on a pre-loaded card like Benepass. It’s a much more “special” avenue for recognition that inspires employees to spend the funds on something they might not normally buy with their own money. You can give employees the freedom to purchase anything they like, whether that is a bill or something more fun like a new video game. Either way, flexibility is a core element of the program. 

Get started today

Employers of choice value the professional and personal lives of their employees. A company culture that puts employees first will long reap the rewards with a loyal and productive workforce. To learn more about how Benepass can help you design benefits that build your employer brand, get in touch with our team or reach us at sales@getbenepass.com

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Benepass Team

Our team is committed to sharing stories that help People teams do their jobs and empower employees to get the most out of their benefits.