What can you do to stand out and show that you are an employer of choice – and will continue to be one? Start here.

excellent employees to work for your organization instead of your competitors has
never been easy. Add in the disruption of a worldwide pandemic, and the
challenge to recruit and retain top talent demands new, refocused energy.

What can you do
to stand out during unpredictable times and show that you’re an employer of
choice – and will continue to be one, come what may?

To answer that, we’ll:

  • Define
    what it means to be an employer of choice
  • Talk
    about practical ways to be one throughout different stages of the employee
  • Consider
    why bolstering your employer brand and support for your current team matters so
    much during times of uncertainty

What’s an employer of choice?

When you’re an
employer of choice, you’re an organization that people have a strong desire to
work for.

You’re thought
of as offering the total package and are sought-after by employees in the marketplace.
Maybe you’re even a “best place to work” according to the media or an industry

One of the keys
to building your reputation as an employer of choice is consistently keeping
the needs of your employees at the forefront, even (and especially) during challenging
seasons in your business.

What being an employer of choice looks like

Let’s look at
six different ways you can weave this empathetic mindset throughout the various
stages of your employees’ journey with your organization – from their first
interaction with your brand to their last day of service.

1. Community involvement

Giving back to the communities where you do business and giving your employees opportunities to do the same shows them you care – not just about them, but about where they live, too.

Some companies solidify this value by:

  • Providing
    employees with paid time off (PTO) to volunteer
  • Matching
    employees’ eligible charitable donations
  • Creating
    a fund for employees facing crisis or hardship

When you help your employees engage in community
, they share a
positive first impression of your brand with the general public and gain the sense
that you recognize them for more than just what they contribute to your company.

2. Competitive benefits

The core
element to becoming an employer of choice is having buzz-worthy employee
benefits. Nothing shows that you care for employees more than going the extra
mile with the benefits you offer.

This can look

Also, make sure
your employee benefits package isn’t kept secret. Share the details front-and-center
on your website’s career page and in your job postings.

3. Work-life balance

For an employer
of choice, perks that help employees strike work-life balance complement the traditional
benefits in a big way. More and more, these extras are becoming a make-or-break
piece of the benefits package that needs to stand up on its own.

Benefits like these show you prioritize employees’ needs as whole individuals:

And when life
demands more of your workforce, employers of choice get ahead of the known employee
stress factors and find ways to augment their support.

For example, you could:

  • Organize a task force focused on connecting employees with alternative childcare options.
  • Mail a game or puzzle to employees and their families.

Whether your
solutions are strategic or simple, doing something extra signals that you are
serious about making unfavorable circumstances better for everyone.

4. Development opportunities

Employers of choice are invested in their employees and continually provide them with professional development support such as:

  • Educational
  • Access
    to training courses
  • Bonus
    pay for completing certifications
  • Internal
    job shadowing

Continuing to emphasize training and development during uncertain times:

  • Drives
    home your investment in your employees’ development
  • Highlights
    their role in your business’ recovery and continuity plan
  • Signals
    to your staff members that they don’t need to fear for their jobs

5. Rewards and recognition

Employers of
choice don’t miss chances to recognize their employees.

They reward employee performance when it aligns with their mission and positively impacts the organization using incentives like:

  • Annual
    performance-based bonuses
  • Merit
  • Employment
    anniversary gifts

Of course, in a
downturn or difficult period, employee recognition may look a little different.

It might just
be thanking everyone for continuing to hang in there or keeping the employee
spotlight section of your website up-to-date. Perhaps it looks like a virtual
retirement party replicating as much of the fanfare of an in-person event as

Continuing to
recognize employees even when business is hectic shows that your regard for
employees more than a goal – it’s a value.

6. Meaningful work

Empathizing with employees in everything you do as an employer
also means recognizing their need for meaningful work as well as opportunities
to innovate.

If there ever
was a time to engage your employees in the challenges facing your organization
and letting their voices be heard, a stretch of unanticipated adversity is certainly
that time.

Is there a way
to repurpose your product or service to quickly adapt to new demands from your
customer base? How can you lighten the impact of the present challenge on your
business? The answers may be among your employees’ ideas.

When your
leaders tap into the knowledge of your entire workforce, you can meet business
needs and employee needs at the same time.

You can foster this combined effort by encouraging employees to:  

  • Call in their ideas using a designated phone number.
  • Submit suggestions in an online form.
  • Complete surveys about how they’d solve your company’s challenges.

Becoming an employer of choice

The key to growth
as an employer of choice is having a culture that focuses on the worth of each
employee as much as it does the customer. Then you will have an employment brand
that endures through good times and the hard times, too.

Do you wish you knew how to inspire your employees to give their best everyday? Download our complimentary magazine: The Insperity guide to being a best place to work.