Member Insights: On Being an Employer of Choice

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Insights by Change 4 Growth 

Are we an Employer of Choice? Why would a potential employee choose us? What is it about us that attracts (and retains) top talent. Opportunities abound for those who are focused on delivering results for their employers. Every employer wants an engaged employee who goes the extra mile and who delivers with excellence each day.

The talent pool is vast and employers want to pull the best from that pool for their teams. With the current economy and job market, excellent employees can move jobs and careers at will. They’re being recruited at record rates. So, how do organizations become an Employer of Choice?

1. Focus on the total employee experience. From job postings, recruiting efforts, offer letters, onboarding and performance enhancement, it’s imperative to consider the entire employee lifecycle. Proactivity is key and remember that it’s the little things that matter. Things like:
• Recruiters – it’s important to be positive, upbeat and share some fun factoids about the company.
• Don’t jump in right away with asking questions.
• Treat a candidate like a guest in your home……make sure candidate is comfortable, physically and mentally. Offer a beverage. Gather around a table instead of across a desk.

2. Talent Acquisition should be impeccable. When someone applies for a position at your organization, they should feel great about the experience (even if they don’t get the job). They will end up somewhere and the impression left by recruiters and hiring managers is lasting. Being respectful, friendly, truthful and responsive will give applicants a positive impression of you and your organization.
• Your Talent Acquisition folks should be top notch and fully accountable.
• A negative experience with a humdrum hiring manager who can’t articulate their requirements and present their organization professionally and purposefully shouldn’t be interviewing anyone.
• Oh, and Talent Acquisition folks, stop looking for the Stepford employee. Hiring attitude and training aptitude really works.
• And when you’re looking at a diverse workforce – look for all types of diversity – stop overlooking that person who doesn’t have a certain number of years of experience. Do you “see” something in that person, something that your organization could use more of? Stop overlooking that extremely experienced person who says they want to be an individual contributor again – they want to get in there and get after it, even though they’ve previously risen through the ranks. You may just be missing that special “something” because you see them as past their prime. Being able to leverage that experience for your organization could be just the ticket to increased effectiveness and the richness that person can add to a team.

3. Talent Development can’t be complacent or reactive. Talent Development folks should be, well, talented. They should understand where their organization is headed and be forward thinking enough to recommend and put into place programs, activities, training and plans that are strategic and not static. Not theory. Action. Results.

4. Leaders should know how to lead. If they don’t, and they recognize it, they should feel comfortable asking for an opportunity to learn. Leaning in to this effort will serve leaders well. We talk a lot about failing forward but leaders should be able to do that and have an opportunity to improve. And, they should hold themselves more accountable. People follow leaders they trust and respect. If you don’t have trusted and respected leaders, your best and brightest will look for another organization. In today’s job market, you don’t want to risk losing them (and we all know the statistics about how much time, effort and money it takes to hire, train and get new employees to a productive state).

5. Speaking of accountability, stop giving poor performers a pass. As a leader, you must address issues head on. Stop avoiding. Stop pretending you don’t see poor performance. If you’re not comfortable dealing with an issue, or coaching your team, ask for help. You’ll love the results and your team will respect you even more.

6. The C-suite and Senior Leadership must set the example. You may be great at being strategic when it comes to driving sales and profitability but if you don’t pay attention and operate strategically when it comes to your employees, it will eventually catch up with you and the results will be seen in your bottom line. And you’ll find yourself applying for a job.


About the Author
With responsibilities that include growing Change 4 Growth, diversifying our solutions offerings, and helping to get the right folks in the right place at the right time, Carla Cole enjoys the pace and the challenge. She serves a team that includes dynamic organizational change management, human resource and leadership development professionals, stellar project management folks, as well as, a great recruiting and staffing team.

Having extensive experience in sales, building high-performance teams, training and organizational development and staffing, she has been involved in technology implementations and process change initiatives in healthcare, banking, finance, insurance, manufacturing, and distribution.

Carla’s commitment to serving clients and associates sets a high bar for increased organizational optimization and alignment, with measurable results and client delight. She loves what she does. The fact that every day is an adventure is just fine with her!