Becoming a Destination Employer: A Success Story for Everyone

A destination employer is one that is viewed by past, current and potential employees as a place to establish and grow a career, one that may be difficult to get hired into, well-known in the community or industry as a desirable place to work, and a place where current employees feel almost as comfortable as they do at home. Becoming hired by a destination employer is an accomplishment and a source of pride in one’s career, and a major goal for the top talent in the industry. So, how can your company become a destination employer so you can attract and retain the best of the best?

The Competition for Talent

In most businesses, the competition is seen as a potential roadblock for sales or other financial successes for the company. However, your competitors can also stand in your way when trying to attract and retain talented individuals to work for your company. Destination employers are able to overcome such hurdles by establishing themselves as a leading place of job satisfaction and career growth.

All involved stand to gain when companies achieve destination status as the business is more successful, and employees are happy. Customers and clients are also more satisfied as they enjoy the continuity of service rather than continual turnover. The icing on top happens when employees are so excited in their positions that they recruit their friends and colleagues – an important event considering more than half of all organizations cite referrals as one of the top three recruitment channels.

Where to Begin?

The transformation into a destination employer begins with a close look at employee engagement. When your workforce is engaged, your team feels as if they are personally connected to your company’s mission; they are driven to bring the company success and find satisfaction not only in a job well done, but also in the accomplishments of everyone on the team.

Employee engagement must be more than just a metric that’s measured periodically; instead, engagement is a goal that must be pursued with tenacity. It must become part of the everyday fabric of operations and woven into the culture of your workplace. Leaders in your company – from the corner offices to team leads – must be invested in boosting engagement across the organization.

Boosting engagement starts with finding managers who understand that success relies on the achievement of every employee and genuinely care about not only their team’s success, but also their individual needs. Managers should be given the right tools and training to create an environment where employees can grow, where they feel heard and valued, and where everyone feels supported in their professional roles along with their personal development goals.

Create a Sense of Purpose

Organizations must have a purpose worth committing to. One of the key values held by younger generations in the workforce is having a strong sense of pride in the organization they work for. Multiple research studies have found that cultivating that pride through a higher organizational purpose is a motivator. Companies need to anchor a purpose that people will commit to – one that is socially responsible, inspiring and drives meaningful work. Organizations should consider how to humanize everyday work by bringing employees closer to the people their work directly and indirectly impacts.

Be Distinctive

If you aspire to be a destination employer, then take inspiring steps to become one. Differentiate yourself, do your due diligence to understand what is in your market that current and future employees really value. Don’t simply be a trend follower…be a trend setter! Be different, yet stay true to your brand, culture and values. Take the lead! Simply doing things the way others have always done them is a recipe for disaster, be more unique and take risks. In other words, be inspiring, not boring!

Develop the Right Culture

People want to work for companies whose values match their own. In fact, one survey found that 79 percent of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company. What “socially responsible” means specifically will differ from person to person and between industries. It’s up to each business to define for themselves what it means to be socially responsible, and then engage in activities that support such responsibilities.

Today’s workforce is also more concerned with their own health and well-being, and expect their employers to prioritize this as well. This goes beyond offering reimbursements for gym memberships and offering healthy snacks in the vending machines. Instead, employees want a healthy work-life balance; they need flexibility when it’s necessary and expect to be able to use their vacation and personal days in spite of the fact that more than half of all Americans report having unused vacation days every year.

Branding Matters

Sales and marketing departments are fluent in the ways branding contributes to growing and maintaining a client base, but Human Resources and the entire management team should also be aware of how branding impacts recruiting, engagement, and overall job satisfaction, too.

The hiring process can often be seen as searching for and choosing the best candidate for a position, but it’s also critical to include branding activities in the recruitment process so that top talent is inspired to apply in the first place. Almost 80 percent of workers rated job satisfaction as more important than salary as a primary motivator. When searching for talent, businesses must also be prepared to demonstrate that there’s more than just money on the table.

By developing a culture that prioritizes employee engagement and job satisfaction, and then forming an internal and external branding effort that’s meant for current employees and prospective candidates – not just clients – businesses can begin developing a reputation of being a destination employer.

Everybody Wins

Shifting the workplace culture to one of engagement, support and satisfaction may be a significant change for some businesses, or just a matter of fine-tuning the details for others. In every case, however, everyone involved stands to benefit from making such changes. From higher rates of production, sales, and overall income for the employer, overall happiness from employees, and increased satisfaction from customers and clients, there are no losers in this proposition. With the right internal changes and a solid branding strategy, becoming a destination employer that naturally attracts the best talent in your industry is within reach.

To find out if your company already has what it takes to be considered a destination employer, or if you’re not sure which steps you should take to realize success, please contact Michael Grubich at 262-786-9200 or via email at mgrubich@lak-group.com.