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Be a great employer, and reap the benefits

Be a great employer, and reap the benefits

Companies regarded as good places to work consistently outperform their competitors. Michael Burchell, partner and director at the Great Place to Work Institute, explains why.

September 23, 2010 9:09 by

In addition, employees in great workplaces are more loyal to the organisation, and are more reluctant to jump ship just because of a higher salary someplace else.  Working conditions matter and it impacts both absenteeism rates and voluntary turnover.  Take for example absenteeism.  In the 100 Best Companies, the average worker calls in sick six days a year, whereas the average worker in Europe calls in sick nine days out of the year.  Multiply that by the number of workers and salary and you quickly understand that Best Companies save money.  And they save money in workers compensation (on the job injuries), turnover, healthcare, and so on.  Having a great workplace is smart monetary policy.

How can your company enjoy such business benefits?  Focus on your employer brand.  Begin by being both worthy and recognised as an employer of choice.  If you are worthy of being an employer of choice because you do right by your employees, but are not recognised as such, then you are seriously under leveraging your brand in the marketplace.

What is being worthy?  Well, being worthy means doing those things to ensure that employees are set up to be successful.  Worthy leaders are credible by fostering two-way communication, articulating a clear vision for the organisation, and doing what they say they are going to do.  It also means being respectful of employees’ needs for training and development, recognition of their good work, collaboration in decisions that impact their work, and caring about them as whole individuals.  And it means being fair with employees in terms of pay and benefits, job assignments and promotions, regardless of their personal characteristics.  In short, being worthy means creating a high-trust work environment so that your company has a great workplace.

Once you have created a great workplace environment for employees, seek opportunities to be recognised.  You can do this both formally and informally.  Formally, you can seek to be recognised as a best company on lists such as the one we at the Great Place to Work® Institute produce every year (our first UAE list will be published in January).  You can also highlight your workplace culture on your web site and in your recruitment materials.  Informally you can get recognition by enlisting your employees as brand ambassadors; create employee testimonial podcasts or develop an employee-focused social media campaign.  Whatever you do to distinguish your company as an employer of choice, remember the first principle; be worthy by creating a great place to work.

Michael Burchell is partner and director at the Great Place to Work Institute (now operating in the UAE).

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