How to Become a Company People Want to Join

The hiring market has been candidate-driven for some time.

Countless companies are now competing for candidates with critical skills to help their organisations thrive in a challenging economy. This means talented professionals have more freedom to select positions that align with their priorities and values.

Positioning yourself as an “Employer of Choice” (E.O.C.) is critical to reducing the costs and complexity of the recruitment process, as well as accessing the right talent.

How do you develop a reputation as the “ultimate” business to work for?

Here, we’ll look at some of the most valuable strategies business leaders can use to position themselves as an employer of choice.

Attracting Top Talent: Why It Matters Now

Rampant skills shortages and increasing competition for talent have led to a complex recruitment environment for companies. Up to 80% of businesses in the U.K. are having trouble persistently filling roles and the issue extends worldwide.

Simply put, the number of talented professionals in the job market is dwindling and these candidates are becoming more discerning about which companies they choose to work for.
Employees now expect organisations to offer a combination of diversity, inclusion, a supportive company culture, a commitment to the environment and sustainability and exceptional growth opportunities.

All the while, they’re still searching for flexibility and compassion from employers.

This trend will only continue as Gen Z enter the workforce, prioritising ethical behaviour, wellbeing, and workplace perks ahead of higher salaries.
Hiring the wrong candidate isn’t an option, with a poor hire costing companies from 30% of a hire’s first-year salary up to £ 240,000 for senior hires. This means companies must invest more heavily in positioning themselves as the ideal employer for their intended workforce.

Becoming an employer of choice:

• Increases productivity and profitability: Well-supported, satisfied and happy staff members are more productive and profitable.

Companies with a positive people-first company culture achieve four times higher profits than their competitors.

• Simplifies recruitment and retention: Passive candidates and top talent are more likely to apply for a role with a company considered an “employer of choice”.

• Enhances brand equity: A satisfied workforce is likelier to speak highly of their employer, refer new team members to the company and deliver excellent results.

Key Strategies to Become a Company People Want to Join

Becoming an employer of choice requires a multi-faceted approach to addressing the needs and expectations of your candidates. Several strategies in today’s hiring market can boost your chances of attracting and retaining talent.

1. Cultivating a Strong Company Culture

Culture is increasingly important to top talent. Employees want to work with a supportive, empathetic and flexible company. According to an Inc.com survey, winning companies consistently demonstrated a more significant commitment to building a culture that delighted and engaged employees.
Building a strong culture in the current environment involves:

• Concentrating on employee engagement: Look for ways to consistently engage employees, delivering feedback, recognition and rewards for their work. Enable consistent collaboration and communication between teams and invest in team-building exercises.

• Offering flexibility: 93% of candidates say they want a flexible role. While remote and hybrid working might not be an option for every company, there are other ways to offer flexibility, such as giving employees more ownership of their schedules.

• Supporting work/life balance: Wellbeing and work/life balance are crucial concerns, particularly for younger Gen Z employees. Encouraging team members to use their paid time off or allowing them to manage their work schedules around their lives is becoming increasingly valued.

Additionally, employees are searching for more ethical employers committed to protecting the environment, supporting different communities and treating people compassionately.

2. Offer Competitive Benefits and Compensation

While many candidates are looking beyond salary in the search for the ideal role, the right remuneration is still crucial to attracting candidates. A complex economic environment and cost of living issues are prompting many employees to leave their old roles for better income.

A Gallup study found the importance of a higher salary had risen in priority from number four to number one since 2015.

Ensuring your remuneration packages align with or exceed the industry standard will help you attract more loyal, engaged employees.

However, it’s crucial to look beyond direct remuneration, too. Gen Z and X members say they would quit their jobs tomorrow for one with benefits supporting their wellbeing. Consider which benefits are most likely to appeal to your target candidates.

Many standard drivers for many employees are flexible, remote and hybrid work. However, access to other benefits, such as mental and physical health support or the ability to spend time volunteering for causes they care about, will be valuable to some candidates.

3. Invest in Employee Development and Growth

A strong employee development program has always been a priority for the best candidates. Every employee wants to expand their skill set and become more valuable to their employer. More importantly, they want to see a future with your company.

This is particularly true in recent years, as employees continue to worry about the growing issue of job insecurity. With this in mind, invest in your employees’ development and look at opportunities to help them enhance critical hard skills (digital literacy) and soft skills, such as communication, collaboration and resiliency.

Explore options such as:

• Online learning and courses: Online learning initiatives can give employees more freedom to choose and manage their development path. They can explore a range of courses related to their role in their own time.

• In-person training: Empower employees to attend in-person classes or workshops. Allow them to visit events and conferences where they can expand their network.

• Mentorship: Consider creating a mentorship programme where your high-level employees can provide consistent guidance to newer staff members.

• On-the-job development: Create opportunities for team members to participate in additional projects or lead a project. Delegate tasks to them that will stretch or develop
new skills, or build their competency.

4. Embed Inclusivity and Diversity

Candidates, particularly in the Gen Z and millennial landscape, believe inclusivity and diversity is critical to building an enduring company culture. They’re looking for employers who deliver supportive environments to team members from all backgrounds.

Reports from analysts like McKinsey also show that companies that are diverse and inclusive are better able to respond to challenges, find top talent and address the needs of an evolving customer base.

Communicate clearly with your employees about your diversity and inclusion efforts and how they relate to your organisation’s core values. Introduce training initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion. Explore cross-team collaboration exercises that encourage people from different backgrounds to collaborate and share perspectives.

You can also demonstrate your commitment by ensuring you’re taking an unbiased approach to hiring. If this is an area you wish to develop further, working with a specialist recruitment company like The Recruiting Office can help.

5. Embrace Transparency and Open Communication

Today’s world is plagued by confusion and uncertainty, making it more important than ever for employers to demonstrate transparency with their staff members. Employees want clarity, not just when it comes to identifying their roles and responsibilities, but also regarding understanding their purpose and impact on the company.

Open communication is crucial, which means sharing updates (both positive and negative) with your employees about the direction your business is moving in and what it means for them.

Remember, open communication is also about listening.

Gathering feedback from team members about what you can do to give them a better work-life balance or experience will improve your prospects of retaining staff and enhancing your employer brand.

Becoming an Employer of Choice

The shift to a candidate-driven, skills-short market means companies need to work harder than ever to attract and retain the top talent. Developing a strategy to improve your employer brand and value proposition through flexibility, diversity, inclusion and empathy is crucial.

Perhaps the easiest way to start this transformative journey is to work with an experienced recruitment company that can guide your business.

The right recruitment company will help diversify your talent pool, guide you through creating an exceptional company culture and offer insights into the priorities of your candidates.

Kind regards

Neil Scarborough – Managing Director

At The Recruiting Office, we have been helping firms with their talent acquisition and a wide range of job seekers find their ideal roles for over a decade and have successfully placed hundreds of top tier candidates. If you want to find out how we can help you – call us on 01603 964816 or email neil@therecruitingoffice.co.uk

Further Reading:

Cultural Fit: Why it’s Important in Your Hiring Strategy
Hiring Trends Impacting Your Job Search in 2024