Being an Employer of Choice is like marriage

Being an Employer of Choice is like marriage

Six tenets crucial to any healthy professional or personal relationship

This is the second article in a series themed “Employer of Choice.”

The ultimate goal for most organizations is to be an Employer of Choice (EOC): A great place to work; a place where people consistently choose to show up as their best selves and do their best work. Research shows that high employee engagement and strong organizational culture have significant positive impacts on employee retention, customer outcomes, and profitability.

With so much on the line and with employee engagement on the rise in workplaces across the US, EOC status is more important – and arguably more daunting – than it’s ever been. But at the end of the day, being an EOC is all about getting back to basics because it’s all about culture, and culture is all about relationships.

Six foundational tenets to help you become an Employer of Choice

Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. When an organizational culture is strong, it results in employee and shareholder happiness, workplace engagement, employee and customer retention, and increased productivity and profitability, to name a few benefits.

While all business leaders want these results, many feel at a loss for how to strengthen their culture to achieve them. Such leaders view company culture as a mystical unicorn that only big companies with deep pockets can capture. This view couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you break culture down to the same fundamentals vital to healthy relationships. The most relatable way to think about and understand culture is to think of it like marriage. For a marriage or any long-term relationship (personal or professional) to work, grow, and flourish, there are six key tenets that must be in place:

1 – Trust. Trust is first on our list because it is the most important part of a healthy culture or relationship. Without trust, you have nothing. Just as you trust your spouse or significant other, trust your managers and employees. Trust them to do the jobs you hired them to do.

2 – Devotion. Employees – just like spouses – want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They need to feel appreciated and cared for. As leaders, you must be devoted to your employees’ well-being both in and out of the workplace.

3 – Time. Invest time and resources into your employees. Train them, coach them, and listen to them. Offer them the time they need to feel valued and to grow. If you don’t invest time in your partner, your marriage will fail – same with employee culture.

4 – Attention. Few things are worse in a relationship than feeling unappreciated. When your husband cooks an outstanding meal or your wife successfully finishes a home project, it’s important to show appreciation and recognition. On the same note, recognize your employees for the contributions they make to your organization.

5 – Commitment. When a couple gets married, they promise to stay committed to each other through good times and bad, in sickness and in health. In the same way, commit to the development of your organization and employees, through the good times and the bad.

6 – Communication. Lastly, no marriage – and no organizational culture – can be successful without constant and transparent communication. Employees want to be heard and they want feedback. They want to be “in the know,” especially since most employees spend more waking hours at work than they do with their families.

This month’s Employer of Choice challenge

Here’s our Employer of Choice challenge to you this month: Ask your employees what each of the six tenets mentioned here mean to them. How would they define them? What does each look like in action, from their perspective? What ideas do they have for how you, managers, and employees can improve how these tenets come alive in your culture? Once you ask these questions, listen. After you listen, act.

Like a marriage or any long-term relationship, organizational culture is a living entity that needs constant attention and reevaluation to ensure everyone is moving in the right direction together. Your efforts to treat your organizational culture like you would treat a marriage might make all the difference between achieving EOC status and falling short.

Ready to get married? Want to understand how your business measures up to EOC status? Take our survey today and reach out to us for more information once you see your results!