In preparation for an upcoming presentation on recruiting strategies that work, I came across some interesting research conducted by a sister association, Employers Resource Council (ERC), located in Cleveland. The biannual survey of the best employers in the Cleveland area is similar to Fortune’s study by the Great Places to Work Institute; however, the ERC process also surveys the top performers of the best organizations. The data from the last survey conducted in 2005 reveals there are seven characteristics top performers indicate are most important to them; as you read these characteristics, keep in mind how your organization would rate:
• Flexibility—top performers want the flexibility necessary to properly address concerns inside and outside the workplace. Examples include flexible work schedules, vacation time, holidays, bereavement leave, paid time off, and sick time.
• Opportunity—top performers want to advance within the organization and impact the organization and community. They want challenging, interesting work and the opportunity to be engaged in the success of the organization. They want to see promotions from within, succession planning, suggestion systems, employee surveys, and community service.
• Recognition—top performers want to be appreciated, to be compensated and rewarded for their efforts and accomplishments. This means pay for performance, bonus plans, incentive pay, internal and external equality, a well-aligned compensation philosophy, and public and peer recognition.
• Development—top performers want opportunities to further their professional and personal development and skills. They I want feedback about their performance and how they can improve: training programs, training needs assessments, performance appraisals, tuition reimbursement, and coaching.
• Security—top performers want to work in a healthy and safe environment free from accidents, violence, harassment, layoffs, and discrimination. They want emergency/safety training, wellness programs, workplace violence and harassment training and policies, cultural awareness training, and job security.
• Support—top performers want benefits that help support their physical and mental health and help them address other issues in their lives outside the workplace. Examples include medical, dental, vision insurance, short-term and long-term care, childcare, eldercare, and wellness programs.
• Talent Integrity—top performers want an environment where they can relate to, get along with, and be challenged by their coworkers. They want to be surrounded by others who are equally as motivated and competent. They want hiring assessments, behavioral interviewing, exit interviews, succession planning, recruiting methods, turnover, and performance appraisals.
Now that you’ve read the characteristics and examples, how did your organization fare? And why should you care about what top performers think about the organization they work for? Because great workplaces have jobs that attract, retain, and motivate top performers; top performers provide a competitive advantage; competitive organizations become more successful; successful organizations grow and create new jobs. Hence, top performers help to fuel the economy. IBI