12 min read

What makes a good employer?

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Why is it so important to be a good employer?

Every year young people enter the workforce for the first time. They join an existing workforce and become the new kids on the block looking for the ideal workplace.

Every year people in the workforce also change jobs for various reasons. Some of these reasons are about feeling undervalued, going nowhere in the organisation, not seeing a future.

For every employee lost to an organisation there is a replacement cost. Replacements involve advertising, training, getting up to speed with organisational and product knowledge. Best not to lose them in the first instance.

The symptoms of a dissatisfied workforce

Higher than acceptable absenteeism, staff turnover, low productivity, poor punctuality, higher than expected sick days on a Monday and Friday.

The solution

The solution is not to lose staff in the first instance, to be a good employer where people like coming to work, like their job and feel part of the organisation.

What makes a good employer?

Firstly it’s not all about money. Most satisfied employees consider a fair salary as a standard expectation not a reason to work for an organisation. No one wants to be underpaid however being overpaid as an employee incentive has a short shelf life in the ‘happy employee’ stakes. It might be why a person takes a job, but it is seldom why they stay in the job.

A good employer provides an environment where people want to come to work and want to give their best.

Creating the right organisational culture is not easy, especially as a small company grows but it’s what works. Organisational culture is the linchpin to being a good employer.

How do you achieve ‘good employer’ status?

1. Shared business and personal direction

  • Good employers let their employees know what's going on with the business.

  • They regularly share updates about the organisation that makes employees feel inclusive.

  • Good employers ensure the business direction also provides personal direction and development opportunities for employees

2. Flexible workplaces

  • Create rules in a consultative way, giving employees a role in creating the protocols under which they will work.

  • Ensure flexibility is part of the organisations working model.

  • Show work life balance is important with arrangements for some working from home and other flexibilities from time to time as needs occur.

3. Team and community culture

  • Employees need to feel they are part of a team, be proud of the organisations community and be part of its social engagement. Internal community activities such as supporting charities, environmental projects etc demonstrate community culture.

  • A socially diverse workplace that openly engages and respects the cultures of the workforce is part of the social framework that engages a community culture.

4. Provide positive feedback

  • Younger employees, in particular, look to their employer for feedback so they can do their job better and grow professionally.

  • A good employer tells employees when they're doing a good job, but also regularly gives them advice on how they can improve, framed in a positive way, not as a criticism.

5. Employee thoughts and opinions

  • Good employers’ welcome ideas and insights. Give credit to employees where credit is due to any new ideas or initiatives. This gives empowerment.

  • Listen to employee suggestions and issues. Provide carefully considered genuine responses.

6. Make the working environment a fair and pleasant one

  • Keep the workplace clean, tidy and pleasant to work in.

  • You don’t have to spend a lot to offer good coffee, other treats and the odd lunch.

  • Show respect to employees who travel for work. Interstate air travel that commences at 5 am and finishes at 10 pm is not showing respect. Show some flexibility and make alternative arrangements or offer compensation.

Is it worth it?

Building a good employer culture takes time and effort, but it pays off in the form of higher morale, lower turnover and increased productivity. Instead of average employees, you'll have dedicated team players who go above and beyond to enable organisational goals to be achieved.