The phrase “employer of choice” might be one of the most overused in all of our industry. You and your team want to be an employer of choice. I am an employer of choice. Everyone is claiming to be an employer of choice because of the benefit it provides. That benefit is top talent that is attracted to the business and stays there. But if everyone is claiming to be an employer of choice, it means that many are making a false assertion. Not every company can be a top choice.

So, what does it mean to be an employer of choice? Let’s define it from an employee’s point of view.

First, if you’re an employer of choice it means employees look forward to coming to work. Though a typical work day at your company is never going to be like a Saturday spent with the family, Mondays should not be feared or loathed.

Business is on the Move

If employees enjoy coming to work it means that the workplace is special. The business is on the move, and there are plenty of opportunities for employees to advance in their careers. The key to high employee morale (a big part of being an employer of choice), is that employees have to feel that tomorrow will be better than today. There should be a feeling of optimism throughout the business. The minute a single team member believes the opportunity for growth is over, you are no longer an employer of choice.

Clear, Fair Expectations, Consistently Applied

Employees want to know exactly what is expected of them, and they want to know how they can meet and exceed those expectations. This way they can get job satisfaction by doing the job right.

Clear job expectations. Fair but high expectations for everyone, including the owner and any family in the business…especially any family in the business. No one gets a pass here. All are treated the same with high expectations for all involved.


Being appreciated. Being heard and understood. This ranks at the top of the list for a true employer of choice. Almost all turnover and discontent can be traced back in some way to a lack of appreciation. You can’t give enough of it, and if you only tolerate high performers it’s easy to give, too!

Compensation and Benefits

You can’t be an employer of choice and have “competitive wages.” Your pay plans have to be at the top of the market. Again, this is not hard to do if you only tolerate high performers. No one can afford to pay top dollar for average performers. Employers of choice don’t even try.

Healthy Relationships

Being an employer of choice means that your workplace is enjoyable. It’s enjoyable because of top pay, consistent recognition, clear and fair expectations, and opportunities for growth. It is also a place where people truly enjoy spending time together. There is trust from the top of the organization down to the newest employee. True employers of choice realize that healthy relationships won’t just magically develop without intentional action on the part of senior leaders. It’s hard work, and it will undoubtedly take a lot of time. The work here is never done.

Becoming an employer of choice isn’t an overnight initiative. It’s not something that is done and checked off the list. It is an identity that a company decides to take on by actively choosing to pursue to the characteristics listed above.

Are you ready to begin taking the first steps toward becoming an employer of choice?