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The How-To’s of Being a Great Employer

If you are in leadership, and you read an article listing the top employers in your area, or in your business sector, how do you feel?  Do you say to yourself – we would be on this list.  Or, do you have pangs worrying about how your employees really feel about your firm?  Hitting a “Top Employer” list either literally or figuratively – knowing your employees are happy – is no accident.  Here are our top tips on how to be a Great Employer:

Trusting and Trustworthy:  Most companies list integrity as a core value.  Integrity is not just how you treat your customers.   Do you and your leadership embody integrity in how you treat your employees?  Are you trusting of them?  Are you trustworthy?  Good leaders say what they mean and mean what they say, and stand by their commitments.

Engagement:  Engagement means real two-way communication.  This includes soliciting and really listening to employee ideas.  It also means that you clearly and completely communicate your company goals and customer needs. This ensures your employees are fully invested in meeting those outcomes.

Empowerment:  Great employers let their people be accountable.  There is a difference between making someone accountable (you tell, they do – all about hierarchies and being one-up);  vs. letting someone take ownership of what they are capable of – and making themselves accountable.  Empowerment is about really giving control to an employee and trusting the result.

Encouragement:  Give all the praise you can, take all the blame you can.  Notice, comment and reward good behaviors and performance.  Take ownership when things go wrong, and never blame or make excuses.  Make sure your employees know that you value creativity, originality of ideas, and taking initiative.  If they notice that you notice, they will want to do more.  Pretty soon you have people consistently volunteering to do more work.

Leading by Example:  Want people to work hard?  Show them that you do.  Want them to be polite, tolerant and pleasant to their peers and subordinates?  Show them that you are.  Etc., etc.!

Commitment to Learning and Development:  Employees get bored and discouraged by doing the same thing over and over.  Dynamic organizations not only move themselves forward, they move the employees forward with the company.  Ensure that every person has a pathway to develop in your company, and let everyone know that you are committed to optimizing what they can do.  Budget for training and continuing education.

Fun:  Some of the best performing companies are so deadly serious you could hear a pin drop.  They might make money, but they aren’t fun places to work.  Celebrate everything.  Birthdays.  Business wins.  First day of Spring.  Tell jokes (tastefully).  Go bowling.  Get to know your team and what they enjoy.

Proactively seek to be a great employer, and the odds are pretty good you can make it happen!