How an Employer of Choice Strategy Can Make Your Business The Best Place to Work

Two women at a white board discussing their employer of choice strategy.

Why do some companies consistently attract and retain top talent while others struggle to keep their best employees? It often boils down to how they are perceived and the strategies they implement. Achieving the status of an employer of choice is not coincidental. It emerges from deliberate, strategic actions that resonate with both current and potential employees. By integrating a robust employer-of-choice strategy, elevate your business into a magnet for industry-leading talent.

We’ll unpack the elements that make companies irresistible to top performers and how these elements can be integrated into your business practices, making your company not just a participant in the market, but a leader that others strive to emulate.

What Does It Mean to Be an Employer of Choice?

Being an employer of choice means a company stands out in a crowded employment market through deliberate intention. The company has created a work environment where top talent wants to join the team and stay there.

As an example, think about Google. As a company, Google’s almost synonymous with innovation in technology and employee engagement. Google’s workplace is designed around the idea of maximizing creativity and productivity. With open workspaces that encourage interaction and collaboration, and perks that range from gourmet cafeterias to onsite healthcare.

Google is offering more than a job. It’s offering a lifestyle.

This approach attracts some of the brightest minds and keeps them committed by fostering a work environment where employees are motivated to exceed their own expectations. By deeply integrating personal growth with professional development, Google’s set a benchmark in being an employer of choice, showing that when a company genuinely invests in its people, the return is immeasurable.

Now, before you start thinking that you don’t have the deep pockets that Google has, let me assure you that you can become an employer of choice in your market. Let’s break down what being an employer of choice means just a bit more.

  1. Attractiveness to Prospective Employees

    What draws candidates to a company initially goes beyond salary. Prospective employees look for signs that an organization values innovation and provides opportunities for personal and professional growth. They’re attracted to workplaces where they can see a future for themselves. They’re also influenced heavily by company culture and the potential for meaningful work.
  2. Retention of Current Employees

    A true employer of choice does more than just fill positions. It creates a setting where employees feel their contributions matter. Retention strategies are built around strong recognition programs, consistent feedback loops, and a genuine commitment to employee well-being. This goes beyond the typical benefits package to include respect for work-life harmony, professional development opportunities, and a supportive community within the workplace.
  3. Public Perception and Brand Reputation

    How a company is viewed externally can significantly impact its ability to attract and retain talent. A positive reputation, built through authentic interactions with the community and a clear commitment to ethical practices, makes a company desirable not only to potential employees but also to customers and partners.

    Let me put this into a bit more perspective. According to MIT Sloan Management Review, a toxic corporate culture is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation. (They define toxic culture to “include failure to promote diversity, equity and inclusion; workers feeling disrespected; and unethical behavior.”)
  4. Responsive and Adaptive Leadership

    Leadership in these organizations listens. They’re keenly attuned to the needs of their employees/teammates and quickly adapt policies to support a dynamic work environment. This agility allows them to address challenges swiftly and keep their teams engaged and motivated.

An employer of choice knows that their greatest asset is their people. When you foster an environment that encourages creativity, supports diversity, and rewards collaboration, you build a culture that naturally attracts the best — and keeps them.

Core Components of an Employer-of-Choice Strategy

Creating a workplace that attracts and retains top talent requires the strategic implementation of practices that are universally valued by high-performing employees. Each component of your employer strategy telegraphs your company’s values and its commitment to its workforce. The following four topics are important places to consider focusing your efforts to become an employer of choice.

Employee Benefits Package

Your employee benefits package can position your business as a top choice for ambitious professionals. You might consider offering comprehensive health, retirement, and wellness programs. Doing so emphasizes that your company contributes to the physical and financial well-being of its employees. It can make your business more attractive to potential hires as a caring and responsible employer.

Competitive Salary and Employee Recognition

Compensation remains a fundamental driver for career choices. Offering competitive salaries is crucial. And when you combine great pay with a recognition program that celebrates individual and team achievements, it reinforces a culture of appreciation and respect. Recognizing employees for their contributions not only bolsters morale but also cements their loyalty and enthusiasm for their roles. This dual strategy ensures that employees feel valued both financially and personally, which is essential for long-term engagement and productivity.

Work-Life Balance and Flexible Working

Today’s top talent seeks a lifestyle that accommodates both personal and professional growth. Flexible working conditions, such as telecommuting options and adjustable work hours, support a healthier work-life balance, crucial for attracting a diverse workforce. These practices show that a company understands and respects the varied personal commitments of its staff, which in turn fosters a supportive and adaptable workplace environment.

Career Development Opportunities

Providing clear paths for career advancement is essential. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that invests in their professional development and shows a clear roadmap to potential growth within the organization. Structured training programs, mentorship, and opportunities for upward mobility ensure that employees are engaged and have a vested interest in the company’s success, which aligns individual aspirations with corporate goals.

Implementing Your Strategy

Transitioning from aspiration to action is where many strategies falter if not fail – especially when the goal is to become an employer of choice.

To turn your vision into reality, specific, actionable strategies must be applied across different facets of your organization.

This section delves into how to practically build and reinforce a positive company culture, actively engage and retain your workforce, and effectively communicate your values through employer branding. Each element is crucial, not just for attracting exceptional talent but for nurturing a workplace where they choose to continue their careers.

Building a Positive Company Culture

Creating a positive company culture is a continuous process that defines the heart of your organization. Here are concrete steps to cultivate a work environment that supports and enhances employee engagement:

  1. Define and Communicate Core Values

    Clearly express and document the values that represent your company. These values should be reflected in every policy and interaction within the company, from the top down. Regular communication through meetings, newsletters, and everyday interactions will help reinforce these values.
  2. Encourage Open Communication

    Foster an environment where feedback is encouraged and valued. Implement regular check-ins and anonymous surveys where employees can express their thoughts and feelings about the workplace without fear of repercussions.
  3. Promote Collaboration and Inclusivity

    You may want to consider designing workspaces and having social activities that encourage interaction across departments and hierarchies. It can also be fun and highly effective to include team-building exercises and collaborative projects that help employees feel part of a unified team.
  4. Support Work-Life Balance

    I know I’ve already mentioned it, but sometimes it helps to have a few more ideas when you want to promote work-life balance. You can acknowledge and support your employees’ lives outside of work by offering flexible working hours, remote work options, mental health days, and time off for volunteering. Recognizing your employees as whole individuals with lives outside of work is so important for building a supportive atmosphere.
  5. Recognize and Reward Efforts

    Consider implementing a recognition program that celebrates both big achievements and small wins regularly. You might choose to start an Employee of the Month program, shout-outs in company-wide meetings, or spontaneous rewards for good work. However you choose to do it, recognition is a powerful motivator.

The importance of a great company culture can’t be overemphasized. It will help you attract and retain employees because they feel valued as individuals.

Employee Engagement and Retention

Engagement is key to retention. Employees who feel engaged are more likely to stay.

You may know that I had a very successful career in high-tech before becoming an entrepreneur. I once left a job at a company that had an amazing corporate culture, great benefits, and paid me a generous salary plus bonuses because I was bored. The problem was I didn’t feel challenged and I wasn’t learning anything. I just didn’t feel engaged any longer, so I left.

Before you can implement any tactics to enhance engagement, you need to understand what motivates your employees beyond the paycheck. It might be having opportunities for professional growth. It might be bonuses or public recognition. Then again, it might be having access to an on-site massage therapist or a concierge service to run errands during normal working hours. Whatever it is, you need to honor it and let your employees know you know what’s most important to them.

Employer Branding

You’re probably very familiar with the concept of branding your products and/or services. But did you know you need to brand yourself as an employer too?

You need to stand out from the crowd when it comes to finding and keeping the best employees. To do this, you need to communicate your values, culture, and the benefits of working at your company through every touchpoint. This includes job descriptions, your website, social media channels, and even during the interview process. In other words, you need to be authentic and consistent in all of your messaging as an employer.

Just like when you’re marketing your products and/or services, you’ll want to remember the power of stories when you’re branding yourself as an employer. Share testimonials and employee success stories to show what it really means to work at your company.

Measuring the Impact of Your Employer of Choice Strategy

To truly understand the effectiveness of your employer of choice strategy, you’ve got to deploy measurable, data-driven indicators that reflect both employee satisfaction and the strategy’s impact on business outcomes. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

  1. Employee Turnover Rates

    One of the most direct indicators of workplace satisfaction is your employee turnover rate. A lower turnover rate often suggests higher employee contentment because it shows that employees are happy enough to stay.

    You’ll want to track turnover rates before and after implementing your new strategies to gauge any improvements or trends that need addressing.
  2. Employee Satisfaction Surveys

    It can be beneficial to regularly distribute employee satisfaction surveys. They can provide deep insights into how your team perceives their workplace and the efficacy of the initiatives you’ve implemented.

    If you choose to use surveys, they should cover aspects like job satisfaction, engagement, professional development, and workplace environment.

    By analyzing the results over time, you can pinpoint specific areas for enhancement.
  3. Performance Metrics

    Employee happiness is a necessity. However, it’s the bottom line that will determine how successful your business is. That’s why you need to examine how well your employees are performing.

    To do this, you’ll need to set benchmarks for performance pre- and post-implementation of your strategies. Increases in productivity, quality of work, and achievement of professional goals by employees can all signal the success of your engagement and development efforts.
  4. Case Studies

    Everyone loves a good story. And when you’re a business owner, the stories we love best are the ones where our teams are high-performing.

    So, as you’re considering how to measure the success of your employer of choice strategies, you may want to include case studies of departments or teams within your company that have seen measurable improvements post-strategy implementation. This could be in the form of increased sales output, better customer satisfaction scores, or enhanced team cohesion.
  5. Benchmarking Against Industry Standards

    If possible, it’s always great to compare your data with industry averages. This will allow you to understand where your company stands in terms of being an employer of choice. This benchmarking can help you identify competitive edges or areas needing improvement relative to similar companies.

When you set clear metrics and review them regularly, you do two really important things. First, you track the effectiveness of your strategies. And second, you create a culture of continuous improvement. This ongoing process ensures that your employer-of-choice strategy remains dynamic and responsive to the changing needs of your employees and the market.

Final Thoughts

Becoming an employer of choice takes strategy and commitment. You’ve got to do more than just offer great perks. It really requires you to create a culture that deeply resonates with the people you want to have be part of your team. And when you do it well, you’ll attract the best and inspire them to their greatest potential within your company.

Looking for more tips for growing your business? Download my free e-book, The Business Growth Plan: How to Build & Sustain a Market-Dominating Business.


Karen Finn, PhD