Employers of choice

With a shrinking job market and an ageing workforce there are higher levels of competition for workers in the western world than probably at any time in our history.

How then will employers handle this situation and create workplaces, which employees will love to work in, be delighted by the work they do and generally be passionate about their job choice?

It’s easy to be in the outside looking in and offer possibilities to the employer, but in reality tight budgets, limited resources and often seemingly inflexible management practices make this process a challenge to be reckoned with.

Firstly lets take a look at some of the possibilities and then discuss how they might be implemented. Remember that a shrinking workforce means less people to do more of the work, so finding people to tackle these tasks may well be a solid challenge and one that needs dealing with now and not later.

  1. Formal and informal training – From on the job informal training that takes place on a daily basis to formal classroom training, make it useful to the business first up but in time it may be useful to offer the team other personal training that they can focus on without thinking about a job related outcome e.g. personal development training. From the induction program and beyond the aim may be to build a positive sense of belonging in the organisation.
  2. Flexible work hours – Many mature aged workers may not want to work a full time slot, but look to be involved in a workplace on a part time basis so they can enjoy a greater work life balance. With a shrinking workforce, remember they will be looking for the employers that suit them, not the other way around, so the focus then becomes one of lifestyle choice, rather than job choice.
  3. Great Conditions – After all who wants to work on a place where the toilets need an overhaul, the lunch rooms microwave has formed a biological growth that has not yet been classified and the office is as inviting as a prison cell. It’s simple, and need not be expensive if you can clearly demonstrate that it is a work on progress then you will have a better chance of keeping them on board. Also work on the psychological conditions to ensure they are healthy, inclusive and team oriented to ensure the right people are leading more of the right people to create a legacy of excellence.
  4. Community Minded – At the top end this is could be a company offering staff for free, while they pay them, or a big donation to a community group. On a smaller scale it could be supporting a community venture by al putting in small donations and measuring the results. This sense of connectedness indicates a caring approach to the wider community and not just a profit-taking grab by management. Often staff look for a sustainable approach being taken by your business so they can feel their normal job is making a positive impact on the community.
  5. Clear Values – All organisations have values (things they care about) some know them intimately and publish them; others have them but don’t know it. Discover the things that are important and find ways to explore them with the team and bring them to fruition in a way that counts for the team.
  6. Develop a Sense of Ownership – Involve the team in discussions on how the organisation is going, what should be in the business and or strategic plan. Consider 360-degree feedback loops to develop things further. When they are “owners” they are less likely to walk away. Other possibilities can include surveys and focus groups, peer support, buddy systems and the like.
  7. Rewarding Work – Probably the most obvious point of the lot. It can be easy to give a person a job and walk away, but if you take a coaching or mentoring role with the person you can assist them to have input into developing the role so they can have a solid sense of fulfilment.

So that’s the list, NOTE I have not listed wage rises as an incentive device for staff. Researchers have often found that productivity goes up for a while and the effect often fades in time. Also this is not a definitive list, but intended as a starting point for your organisation to build from. With the above points, may I suggest you take the headings and jot down bullet point ideas on how you might develop each of these to suit your business situation. Of course you will have involved the team in this process, so getting ideas on how to implement them should be just as easy as involving them.

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