from HR Insight, our HR newsletter, no. 4
Being an employer of choice
When an organisation is intent on becoming an employer of choice, it often does not have a specific idea in mind about what this really means. It knows it wants some degree of competitive advantage, to be more attractive than its peers either in its industry or in its geographical region, but in which ways or offering which benefits, is less clear.
Perhaps you know that other organisations in the same sector offer a range of flexible working options and that current trends highlight flexible working as desirable, but you are unsure what options are out there (and would suit your organisation), exactly what competitors offer, and what the benefits to your organisation might be.
We work with organisations to identify the flexible working options offered by similar organisations, both by industry and more broadly, and in terms of any beneficial outcomes that indicate these employers have become ‘employers of choice’ as a result. Typical indicators include reduced staff turnover, increased maternity leave returns, and greater numbers or better quality responses to recruitment campaigns. Where these benefits can be quantified financially, then so much the better.
Once we understand these outcomes, the issue becomes what would suit your organisation. Too often managers make assumptions about what types of flexibility are suitable for employees without thinking creatively, or involving employees in the decision. So it is important to work together to examine the various flexible working options that could be accommodated, in any or all your services and departments, to achieve a consensus. But be open minded and test your assumptions in practice. A pilot is a good way forward to address this, especially if you involve groups of employees or roles where flexible working looks like a challenge!
One of the main issues when implementing flexible working is that there are many policy decisions to be made for which there simply is no right or wrong answer, but which still need to be thought through properly. Eligibility for particular benefits or freedoms to apply, for example, to work from home must be addressed. Is this in terms of length of service or performance record? And what other services (such as canteens and security) need to be amended to meet non-standard hours, or longer opening or operating hours?
The questions may be deceptively simple, but by working with IES, you can gain a clearer understanding of what it means to be an employer of choice, both to enhance recruitment and optimise retention, and with a practical route to its achievement.
Contact Mary Mercer for more information on how IES can help you be an employer of choice.