Become the Employer of Choice

By Sharon Worsley

There are plenty of awards given out to recognize employers, some that are evaluated independently, and some awards where staff submits their responses to questionnaires.

So what does it take to become the ‘Employer of Choice’? I believe there are essentially eight different areas that should be considered in providing the best work environment, many of which are used as points of evaluations for the awards mentioned above. These areas are important to consider, because if we as leaders are not thinking about them, our employees are.

• Work Atmosphere and Social Gatherings
• Health, Financial and Family Benefits
• Physical Workplace
• Employee Communications
• Training and Skills Development
• Performance Management
• Vacation and Time Off Benefits
• Community Involvement

Let’s review some of the important areas for you to evaluate and consider:


There really is no ‘magic’ formula for recruiting the best people to your organization. It just entails a commitment to finding the right fit among the sometimes flood of resumes that land on your desk. By fully understanding your company culture and taking the time to determine who would be the right person for the role(s) you are seeking to fulfill, you have come a long way towards ensuring the most suitable person(s) is/are hired.

• Record the prerequisites for each job role to ensure that hiring specifics have been clearly defined by all parties involved.
• Plan for an employee incentive to reward staff for recommending qualified applicants.
• Identify key success behaviours required by applicants that match the values of the organization.
• Screen prospective employees for fit with the culture, as opposed to hiring someone who has all the skills, but may not add to the overall feel of the environment.
• Manage internships – interns must experience real-life projects and assignments that are related to their major and degree, not ‘make busy’ work to fill time and course requirements. Ideally interns will then seek full-time employment upon graduation within your organization.
• Keep a record of successful recruitment efforts, powerful activities relating back to company culture and the successes of individuals, to be featured on the organization’s website.
• Best practices – research best practices in the recruiting process including any relevant evaluations or assessments currently being used, be sure to check out online media assessments.


It will be important to communicate the culture that is being created within the organization to solicit the very best talent available who are aligned with the mission, vision and values of the organization. This can be facilitated through content on the website, conversations with key staff to introduce career opportunities, and via press releases or discussions with recruiting firms. Other options include posting positions on job boards or commonly used websites.

• What term do you use to identify staff? How are they referred to – are they called staff, employee, team member, colleague, partner, etc? When I first visited the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel I noticed that each person is referred to as a cast member, in line with the theme of the Disney parks. I believe that this element should not be overlooked as it will set the tone for the type of culture that you will want to establish.

• Is it possible for staff to develop their own title for their position; this is the norm within the company Motley Fool. For example the person in charge of HR may be called the ‘Spirit Guide’ instead of the Director of Human Resources.

Benefits for employees:

What type of benefits do you offer? With so many organizations competing for the best talent, how do you set yourself apart from your competition and other industries?

Consider some of the following:

• Policy for hours to undertake community service – whether individual selection or company supported charities.
• Flexible work hours/compressed work week opportunities.
• Possibility of telecommuting – what might this look like and how would it be implemented.
• Anniversary of start date in company off as a paid day.
• Birthday – paid day off.
• Competitive vacation benefits and public holidays off (considering provincial/federal requirements if any).
• Sick leave – based on provincial/federal requirements. Additionally one day per quarter for no sick leave taken. Consider then offering a bonus of 1 day extra if no sick leave taken in previous 12 month period.
• Health plan – consider the cost of providing 100% healthcare. Imagine if your employees did not have to worry about this type of issue, how they might be more engaged at work.
• Employee assistance program.

Now more than ever a number of industries are finding a skill gap and are having a challenge filling positions, where before it might never have been a problem. So with more opportunities available to people seeking new jobs or careers, many of the above mentioned points may work in your favour in attracting new talent.

And just as importantly in retaining the good/great employees currently working for you.

Points to Ponder:

• What is your current recruiting practice and how might you update or mix it up a bit to be a company people would do just about anything to join?

• Where are there some current gaps in your rewarding staff for the contributions they make? How might you reward them and/or show your appreciation for the work they do?

• What do you want your company to be known for, and how will you make that happen?

Sharon Worsley, The Business Development Ninja™ is the creator of the R7 System™ to Flood Your Business With Clients Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, helping businesses to ‘Wake Up, Shake Up, and Show Up’. She also consults and coaches peak performers to excel as leaders. To learn more, contact Sharon at