The Millennium Group
International, LLC
46169 Westlake Drive
Suite 240
Sterling, VA 20165
ph: 703-260-6716
Copyright © 2009 The Millennium Group International, LLC. All rights reserved.


Transformation - Management Consulting - HR Consulting
Leadership Development - Professional Development Training


The Millennium Group International, LLC
46169 Westlake Drive
Suite 240
Sterling, VA 20165
ph: 703-260-6716
By: Barbara Mitchell, Senior Advisor, The Millennium Group

Becoming an Employer of Choice (EOC) is a key strategy to attracting and retaining the best
employees. An EOC program must be a conscious organization-wide strategy designed to position the
organization as a “great place to work.” The advantages to becoming an EOC include:

  • Ability to attract and retain quality talent
  • Enhanced reputation in the marketplace
  • Ability to impress customers, members, and clients
  • Increased employee morale

What makes a company a great place to work? It is usually a combination of monetary and non-
monetary rewards and or tangible and intangible benefits. It has to be the right mix for the employees
your organization wants to attract and retain. Robert Levering, co-author of The 100 Best Companies
to Work for in America, defines a great place to work as one where you “trust the people you work
for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.”

Many organizations have set out to become an EOC over the past ten years and few have succeeded.
This is not because they didn’t know what they needed to do to be recognized as an EOC, but
because the actions and policies necessary to being an Employer of Choice are not easy to carry out.
The authors and researchers of The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America outlined these actions
for becoming an employer of choice: differentiating the organization from other employers in the areas
of pay/benefits, opportunities, job security, pride in work/organization, openness/fairness, and

One of the keys to becoming an EOC is to be “talked about” as an organization. Employees want to
be able to take pride in where they work. This does not mean your organization has to be a
“household name”-many small organizations have succeeded at becoming an Employer of Choice.
Here are some best practices used by other organizations to become “talked about” and Employers of

  • Have a well-defined, strong organizational culture
  • Provide strong, visible leadership
  • Value your employees and their contributions
  • Hire and promote excellent people
  • Link employees to organizational strategies
  • Provide outstanding pay and benefits
  • Provide a work/life balance
  • Be an industry leader
  • Provide limitless opportunities for employees
  • Talk about the impact your organization has on people’s lives
  • Get your organization listed on one of the “best places to work” or “best managed” lists
  • Publicize awards and honors received by the organization
  • Sponsor an academic contest or scholarship and publicize
  • Start an alumni club for employees who leave you
  • Have your organization profiled in the media for having great benefits or for doing something
    special for your employees

The Society for Human Resources (SHRM) and American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)
developed a consortium benchmarking study to see how organizations use employee growth and
career development initiatives to attract and retain workers. The key findings of this study, released in
2000, are:

Each organization surveyed had a strong identity and culture, in which employees are
understood to be one of the main reasons for the success of the organization.
Recruiting the “right people” is integral to the recruitment and retention efforts of these
organizations. Because their cultures are so unique, and because they commit a great number
of expensive resources to employees, there organizations focus strongly on communicating
their identity, values, mission and vision to potential employees, and finding good people who
will be a match to the culture.
Each organization made employees responsible for their own development, while
simultaneously providing them with generous support (and accountability) from managers,
leaders, coaches, mentors, and teams. The organizations support employee development at the
highest levels, realizing implicitly and explicitly that building the knowledge capacity of
employees is a necessary strategy for business success.
Organizational infrastructures have been put in place to support human resource efforts to
attract and train employees. This is supported by the sophisticated use of technology.
Talent profiling (competencies) are extensively used in these organizations to provide a
framework for employees to understand the skills, knowledge, and abilities they must have or
acquire in order to move through these organizations.

To become an Employer of Choice, start by answering these questions:

  1. Who are we and what makes us unique?
  2. How does the work get done and by whom?
  3. What value do we place on our human capital?
  4. How do we attract, enhance, reward, and retain that value?
  5. How is this tied to our business strategy and measures of success?
  6. What kind of systems do we have in place to support our initiatives?
  7. How will we know when we have succeeded in becoming and EOC?
  8. How will we communicate this to our current employees, our members, and people we want to
    attract to the organization?

A 1997 survey of employees sponsored by the Saratoga Institute listed these items as the way to
make an organization a “good place to live and work:”

  • Employee job opportunities
  • Work/life balance
  • Family friendly place to work
  • Employee/employment principles such as self-esteem and responsibility
  • Competitive compensation and benefits
  • Strong leadership
  • Excellent communications
  • Flexible work environment
  • Organizational culture that values learning and caring
  • The success of the organization

While it is not easy to become an Employer of Choice, the benefits for making the effort will have an
impact on employee morale and retention as you make your way toward becoming an EOC!

Barbara Mitchell, Senior Advisor, has over 25 years experience in human resources management and is a
nationally known expert in employee recruitment and retention.

Best Practices for Becoming
an Employer of Choice

















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