5 ways to check whether you are working for a top employer

On Friday the 1st February, businesses from across the south came together at The News’ Business Excellence Awards. Astute was lucky enough to be shortlisted in three categories; Team of the Year, Large Business of the Year and Employer of the Year. We are thrilled to have been a finalist for every award but especially the Employer of the Year category. Over the past year, we’ve invested time asking our staff what they would like to see from us, and we’ve implemented many new benefits in response. But what does it take to be a truly great employer? We look at the top reasons that would make a business an employer of choice.

They employ great leaders

Any top employer will know that the quality of their leadership will be one of the top factors that differentiate them from other businesses. So, what makes a leader great? The answer is simple: Empowering people to give their very best. The greatest asset in a company is the people who work there. When employees are happy and feel taken care of, they produce greater results for the company. How can a leader ensure that they are getting the best from you? Learning and Development Consultant Sam Bradshaw explains how it works at Astute:

As part of our induction process, we ask our new starters to tell us about their best and worse bosses from their career history. We then use this to identify what emotional intelligence means to them and how, with self-reflection, this can make them a successful future leader of the business even when they’ve only been with the business for 2 weeks! By creating this mindset early on in your career, we can create a culture which is built on self- awareness and motivations.

They make your career a priority

Great employers have good hindsight in identifying your talents and then ensuring that these are utilised with further training and development. Clearly demonstrating career development paths from the very beginning of your employment ensures that you don’t feel as if your career will be stuck in first gear. Employers should be meeting with their staff on a regular basis to ensure that their career goals and expectations are being met. Sam Bradshaw agrees:

At Astute we have moved away from the yearly appraisal process in favour of monthly one to one reviews with employees and their line managers. By doing this, our employees feel they are given regular feedback and can feedback any ideas, concerns or opinions routinely. With these conversations being had continuously, we can review potential promotions or CPD throughout the year rather than this being an annual discussion. 

They seek feedback from you

A good employer will ask all their employees for feedback and listen to suggestions. In a new report, it was noted that there was a lack of open and honest communication between UK organisations and their employees, creating a sense of ‘them and us’. Only 15% of employees believed the success generated by their organisation is shared fairly compared to 70% of employers. Building trust in employees by having open communication channels will allow for a happier and more stable workforce. “Staff buy-in is essential when it comes to office morale” Sam explains. “For example, last year, we made sure we had the input from all staff when it came to our Charity of the Year. It was important that all staff felt engaged with what we were trying to achieve with the charity and inspired to be a part of it.”

They foster a great company culture

A great employer should be able to set a culture that is suitable for the workplace. This includes hiring people with similar attitudes who work to the same values of those already in the business. Flexible working has been gaining traction over the last couple of years, and it’s important that an employer is able to consider this option for its employees. Despite what many businesses think, it has plenty of pros to its perceived cons. In Aon’s Benefits & Trends Survey, it found that 98% of employees now expect more flexible working hours whilst 89% expect agile/homeworking to be available. The report also highlights the increase in organisations focussing on wellbeing programmes. Employers' investment in proactive initiatives to tackle mental health and stress increased to 42% from 36% in the previous year. “We are very aware of the differing needs of our staff,” Sam said. “Having flexible working hours and days as well as the option to take extended lunch breaks between 11am and 3pm has been a real plus for our staff who are able to take advantage of nearby gym classes, take pets for lunchtime walks or take that much needed time for personal errands. The opportunity to start a little later or leave earlier especially for working parents has also meant our staff feel a better balance between work and life commitments."  

They provide a decent salary and benefits package

It’s great to love your job and have a passion for what you do, but everyone has bills to pay, so it’s important that your employer recognises the need to pay a salary that shows an appreciation for your work at that company. It’s equally important to address other benefits within the company that will not only help improve general well-being but will provide the employer with staff that are motivated and happy in their job. In the Barnett Waddingham papers, it was noted that there is a distinct difference between the perception of well-being between employers and employees. The research found that, whilst employers believe staff wellbeing is high (61%), only 19% of employees believed this was the case.

The Aon Benefits & Trends Survey found that almost 90% of employers believe they will need to change their benefit offering to meet the needs of future generations. With a clear focus on the emerging trends with different employee demographics, the report highlights how 41.5% of businesses are already changing as they expect to compete for future talent across different market sectors. 

Does your employer meet the requirements listed above? At Astute, we’ve already implemented changes after receiving feedback from our people and are always looking at new ways to ensure that we are the best place to work. If you’d like to hear more about our opportunities, benefits and plans, please get in touch with Mark Davis for a confidential chat.