Five innovative ways to be the best employer possible
Employees’ expectations of their employer have changed in the face of the pandemic. Here’s how you can stand out and be the company everyone wants to work for. We’ve seen how drastically the labour market, the workplace, and work culture have changed. We noted how the pandemic shaped our boundaries at work and resulted in ‘The Great Resignation’, ‘Workplace Ghosting’ – and even laws giving rights to employees to disconnect.
In the face of all of this, how can a company successfully attract and retain talent?Employees’ expectations of their employers have gone beyond the typical benefits. Competitive salaries, trendy office spaces, and cupcake Fridays – while nice – don’t hold the same value as they did before. As employees enjoy a flourishing “candidates’ market”, coupled with increased anxiety in a pandemic era, it seems that – after decades of sub-par working conditions – they’re able to communicate (read: demand) their needs and wants better, making them ever-selective when choosing who to work for.Every company wants to be the best employer but knowing how to be is not always easy.
Below, we detail some innovative ways to be the best employer possible – that benefit not only your team but you as well!
1. The Importance of Being Flexible
Covid-19 forced us to stay home and working from home became the ‘new normal’. Remote working is not going away anytime soon, so companies who are open to remote/hybrid working models are going to get favoured. #WFH also saw employees’ routines blur, as other non-work-related responsibilities became increasingly demanding. A great employer recognizes this and is empathetic to their employee’s need for more flexibility. Gone are the days of the traditional 9 – 5. By trusting your employees to carry out their tasks from anywhere and giving them the freedom to manage their own time so they can do the school run or get in an hour of exercise, for example, is the way forward.This is, of course, industry-dependant – and won’t work for everyone – but the more flexible and adaptable you can be, the better. Your team will thank you for it with their excellent work.
2. Mental Well-being is Not a Weakness
Mental health is not a new phenomenon, but the pandemic has increased the number of people who are suffering from anxiety, burnout, and fatigue. Great employers cultivate a culture of care by prioritizing mental health support and advocating for employee wellbeing.Whether it’s access to therapists, team wellness days, or additional paid days off to recharge – mental well-being is not a weakness, and employers need to provide tangible efforts that prove they understand that.
3. Sow the Seed and Let Them Grow
SHIFT explains that as a company, it’s important to "promote a clear definition of success". Employees want to know how they can succeed and grow at your company – and that it is, actually, achievable. A great employer will provide benchmarks for success, regular KPI reviews, and encouragement. Upskilling and training opportunities in the form of a ‘Professional Development Allowance’ is another great way of ensuring your employees have access to the tools they need to succeed at your company.People who feel motivated – and encouraged – to grow, will often choose to grow at your company if the opportunity is there.
4. Benefits That Go Beyond
Compensation and medical benefits are – most times – standard practice at any company, but employees are seeking out more meaningful, holistic rewards that go above and beyond. They want to feel valued, and while salaries are important, it’s not the only thing employees are looking for in this climate. Does your company offer paid maternity and paternity leave? Do you give out performance bonuses when possible? What does your vacation/paid days off offering look like? Even smaller gestures like employee recognition and team activity days can make a huge difference in the attitudes of your employees.Some companies offer nationwide shutdowns for everyone to switch off, others offer ‘work from anywhere’ months for the whole team… some companies reward their teams with smaller quarterly gifts when a goal is achieved. Whatever it may be, employees want to know that they are valued outside of the workplace too – and there’s more to it than the number of 0’s at the end of a paycheck.
5. Be Intentional About Your Core Values
Corporate responsibility has been a big talking point in recent years; particularly, conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and environmental sustainability have become top priority at almost every company. What are the core values at your company, and what are you doing to ensure that these are being emulated? A great employer will provide regular DEI training to ensure a bias-free and tolerant workplace, or implement strategies (reduce waste, use sustainable products etc.) to improve the company’s carbon footprint, for example. Others have a diverse supplier list or commit to regular donations for NGOs that align with their core values. A great employer recognizes the importance of having a positive impact on the world outside of them, but it’s not enough to just talk the talk – you must be able to walk the walk.
Forbes explains that employees are seeking out companies and brands that are authentic and "provide wellness, social innovation, and growth opportunities" – so it is important to communicate openly about what benefits your company offers. And remember, all the above-mentioned ways might be great in theory, but will only be effective if you lead by example. If your employee doesn’t see you making use of said benefits, they will feel pressured not to as well. Ultimately, employees want to be heard… if you aren’t able to implement all of these benefits, try make time to listen to your employee’s needs and feelings and collaboratively work to find a solution that works best for your company and team.