A Simple Formula For Becoming An Enviable Place To Work

Eventually, all leadership teams come to a realization that if they “win” in attracting higher caliber people than their competitors to their company then they will also “win” in their marketplace. Having a better team of people in place than your competitors is a sure-fire way to create a sustainable competitive advantage. But doing so is tricky.


Look no further than Google as a means of proving my point. Google “enviable work place” or, better yet, “best place to work,” and you’ll be bombarded with endless frameworks, strategies, processes and “how-to” tips for building a better workplace for your current and future employees. So who do executive teams typically turn to for guidance and counsel? Who do they ask to lead them to the Promised Land? Yep, enter the CHRO and their HR team. Most HR teams today are charged to lead a strategy that transforms their run-of-the-mill workplace into one that will attract and retain a better and more capable talent mix. Such a charge typically comes in the form of improving employment brand, increasing employee engagement, and improving staff attrition rates—or all of the above.

But the formulas for achieving this are mind-numbing. So, I’m here to offer a more basic way to think about this challenge, and frame your solutions:

1. First, make sure you offer competitive total rewards for the contributions your employees make.By competitive I don’t mean top quartile, or even 50th percentile. It simply means you’ve got to be in the ballpark. Pay competitively enough that compensation comes off the table as a reason people won’t come to work for you. If you don’t offer competitive pay and benefits, then being unique and different won’t matter. Other strategies won’t matter either. Pay strategies (mix of base/variable, and benefits offerings) vary dramatically based on position, level and role. But do your homework on what your competitors are paying for similar roles, and make sure you are in the same zip code.

2. Second, create opportunities for growth and professional development. Again, not just promotion or paying for someone’s MBA. I’m talking about professional development in-role, access to working in new areas or functions, job shadowing or stretch assignments. Sure, tuition reimbursement policies, promotions, and rotation programs are great ways to show you’re committed to each employee’s professional development. But what if I don’t want to climb the career ladder? What if I’m unwilling to trade the additional time for the incremental pay associated with the next rung on the ladder? Making sure each employee in your company has the opportunity to grow and develop professionally is critical to becoming an enviable place to work.

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First published on Fistful of Talent by Ed Baldwin

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