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Are you a good employer?

What motivates workers differs widely but there is one thing that unites us: Everybody wants to work for a good employer.

So, what defines a ‘good employer’? Is it the perks you offer? Is it the money you pay? Is it the professional development opportunities you offer your people? Is it the flexible working options? Or is it all the above?

Let’s look at some of the characteristics that employers-of-choice have in common to help you attract and retain high-performing talent.

Why being a good employer is so important

There are many reasons why being a good employer is important. Simply put, in most instances, having a reputation as a good employer means reduced staff turnover and happy workers. Happy workers are good employees. And good employees are more productive and more innovative – important attributes for success in business today.

A 2019 Oxford University study of call centre employees in Britain found that happy employees were 13% more productive than their dissatisfied counterparts.

The co-author of the study, Jan-Emmanual De Neve of Oxford’s Said Business School, observed that when workers were happier, “They (worked) faster by making more calls per hour worked and, importantly, (converted) more calls to sales. There seems to be considerable room for improvement in the happiness of employees while they are at work, (and) while this is clearly in the interest of workers themselves, our analysis suggests it is also in the interests of their employees.”

The characteristics of a good employer

Research from global polling group Gallup determined that companies consistently recognised as employers-of-choice often have a strong focus on effective employee engagement. The key drivers to employee engagement are purpose, people development, a caring manager, ongoing conversations, and a focus on strengths.

In a Harvard Business Review article titled ‘What the “Best Companies to Work For” Do Differently’, author Dr Michael O’Malley noted, “The best places to work provide people with life satisfaction, as opposed to job satisfaction alone. Almost all the corporate founders and CEOs we spoke with told us that they build their companies with people in mind. To them, a healthy culture is as important as a healthy balance sheet. Their benefits go far beyond minimum wage.”

To measure up to these expectations, employers need to successfully develop a workplace environment that recognises people as individuals. They also need to create work environments that place a high value on their employees’ strengths, and that offer them learning opportunities, autonomy and, most importantly, provide room for both professional and personal growth.

Good employers need to value the skills of each person in their organisation and treat all employees with respect. Good employers are transparent about why they do what they do and, in the process, promote greater trust between workers and managers, ultimately leading to more effective collaboration and productivity across your organisation.

Championing a workplace culture that ensures people have a voice is another attribute of good employers. Employees need to feel they can suggest new ways of doing things or suggest how to make their workplace a better place if something isn’t working for them or there are issues with how things are done. They need to be able to do this without feat of being belittled or ignored, or of being reprimanded or even fired.

Who are some of the best employers – and why?

In October 2022, Forbes Magazine released their list of World’s Best Employers. South Korean tech giant Samsung topped the list, ranking ahead of some of the world’s most prestigious and recognisable organisations – including Microsoft, IBM, Apple, BMW, Costco, Cisco, and Adidas.

The methodology used to compile Forbes’ list makes for interesting reading itself. German consumer data giant Statistia surveyed 150,000 full-time and part-time workers from 57 countries working for multinational companies and institutions.

As Forbes staffer Elizabeth Brier writes, “[Survey respondents] were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. They were also asked to evaluate other employers in their respective industries that stood out either positively or negatively. Participants were asked to rate the companies on aspects such as economic impact and image, talent development, gender equality and social responsibility. The 800 companies that received the highest total scores made the final list.”

Far from rating an organisation on how much money they – or their employees – made, the survey wanted to know whether people would recommend their employer to outsiders. The survey also attributed other aspects with more weighting than money – such as access to learning and development prospects, the likelihood of being promoted on merit and the diversity of the workplace, and the corporate social responsibility performance of the world’s most recognisable multinational corporations.

How do you know if you’re a good employer?

The first step is to ask yourself, Do I treat my employees well? If you can honestly answer ‘yes’ to this questions – and if your company culture demonstrates that your words are back up by actions – then you’re on the right track. Having great employee relations makes for happy workers who know they matter to the company.

It’s also important to ask yourself how your organisation stacks up when compared to other employers in your industry:

  • Are you hiring the right people? Good employers take the time to find people with the values and cultural fit for the organisation.
  • Are you invested in the success of your employees? A good employer offers opportunities for professional development so their people can develop new skills or brush up on ones that may be lacking.
  • Do you provide a healthy work environment where people can thrive? A good employer recognises that it takes more than just a competitive salary to attract top talent. Benefits that fuel a healthy work/life balance including flexible hours, paid time off, access to mental health support and, in some cases, even gym memberships or yoga classes to help with fitness goals outside of work.
  • Do you pay attention to your staff feedback? Can you honestly say that you make it easy for employees to come to you with ideas or suggestions? Good employers regularly ask for feedback from employees and act on that feedback when it’s likely to improve the workplace and its culture.
  • Do you encourage autonomy? The best employers support their staff in being creative and innovative in their job and how they tackle making their workplace a better environment. Encouraging people to go beyond their comfort zone is one of the most effective ways to drive personal and professional growth for your employees.

In conclusion

Good employers place great importance on providing a workplace culture that respects employees as individuals, and one that gives them room to grow and develop. Creating an effective working environment is critical for a prosperous business. Fostering a culture that genuinely addresses the needs of your employees can go a long way towards boosting morale and productivity and improving retention.

Employees who are content with their working environment are more likely to work better, while those who aren’t content will be more likely to seek employment opportunities elsewhere. In today’s climate, it pays to ask the question: Am I a good employer?

Ask SG Fleet about how salary packaging and flexible mobility policies can play a part in your employee benefits.

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