You can be the employer of choice

Abdulrahman Saleh Alotaibi

KNOWING the importance of attracting and retaining talent, employers like to think of themselves as the employer of choice, or at least they aspire to this status. Some organizations compete for best employer awards and some demonstrate their commitment by appointing Employee Happiness Specialists. “Our organization fosters your growth”; “We help you achieve work-life balance”’ “We care about your development” are some of the statements that organizations advertise as part of their employer branding to attract talent. However, staying true to such statements requires additional effort.

There is a simple relationship between the employer and the employee that can be understood in the economic sense of paying wages in exchange for service. The value of these wages should be determined by a number of factors concerning the complexity of the tasks and the impact on profitability and productivity. Other influencing factors include the level of education and expertise that the talent possesses as well as the industry pay level for similar occupations and the availability of job seekers with the same level of competency to carry out the required tasks.

Assuming that initial employment was fair in terms of pay and expectations, the career paths and enabling environment should lead to talent retention. For employers, labor is a major cost that they ought to offset by proper placement and incentivizing productivity to meet the organization’s objectives. For employees, their availability to work is a significant part of their lives and, for most of them, regular employment represents the main source of income. With this in mind, employment relations should be managed, and adequate measures should be taken to ensure talent retention.

You may or may not win “the employer of the year” prize, but, failure to provide and maintain a proper work environment will put the organization at legal risk as labor laws specify certain requirements for salaries, pensions, paid leave, medical insurance, safety and security as well as end of service compensations. Apart from the legal risk, a toxic, unprofessional workplace or unfair practices will lead to high turnover. Successful organizations recognize the cost of hiring and replacing highly skilled personnel and the fact that newcomers will need time to bring themselves up to speed anywhere from a month to a year; a loss of time and resources that could have been avoided.

Efforts to improve the workplace are felt by employees and will reflect on customers’ satisfaction. Even in challenging times, organizations are more likely to thrive with loyal employees who have a sense of ownership and personal responsibility to walk the extra mile. Thus, it is wise to rethink existing practices and seek better approaches to becoming an employer of choice in the mind of job seekers and current employees.

Reflecting on your organization, is there true professional growth? Do people move up career ladders based on merit? Is this “merit” commonly recognized? Do people lead by example? Are people being compensated fairly? Is there room for people to fulfill their professional aspirations? Are there clear and measurable expectations from talent? Do people want to have a lasting career or will they “jump ship” once they get another offer? These are some questions to begin with when critiquing the work environment. Genuine answers to these kinds of questions should lend clarity on what needs to be done for the betterment of the organization.

It is the expectation of the stakeholders that management will rationalize every decision with the interests of the business in mind. These interests will be taken care of by qualified personnel who plan to build careers with the organization in handling production aspects, customers and suppliers. Thus, another business decision should be to create human resources policies that are aligned with labor laws and industry standards to establish the framework for a healthy work environment. This also calls for assigning empowered and impartial HR professionals to help shape and enforce the desired results.

I am sure that the ability to establish functional organizations can easily cover an appropriate work environment. I am also sure that the management of these organizations has the best intentions to do whatever it takes to achieve the objectives and lead to a prosperous future.

Abdulrahman Saleh Alotaibi

The author can be reached via email: and Twitter account @otaibi3w