How to be­come an em­ployer of choice

Iden­tify tal­ent in your em­ploy­ees and have devel­op­ment dis­cus­sions with them to un­der­stand their needs and goals, writes Michelle Moss

CityPress - - Careers -

O 1ffer­ing your staff op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow and giv­ing them room to ex­press them­selves is key to em­ployee devel­op­ment. There is a range of ways to de­velop staff – from em­ployee-fo­cused pro­grammes to en­cour­ag­ing so­cial con­nec­tions. Here are five ways in which busi­ness own­ers can meet their em­ploy­ees’ needs and foster em­ployee sat­is­fac­tion:


Staff devel­op­ment can be done through work­shops, con­fer­ence at­ten­dance, and for­mal train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion. It can be done through pro­vid­ing coach­ing and men­tor­ing, and it must also be done through on-the-job train­ing.

For ex­am­ple: As­sign­ments in which staff are given a project or task that “throws them into the deep end”. When work­ing on things that are a bit be­yond them, their ca­pac­ity is stretched and they learn far more in this prac­ti­cal way than read­ing a text­book alone.

Spend time iden­ti­fy­ing tal­ent in your em­ploy­ees. Make sure you have ca­reer or devel­op­ment dis­cus­sions with each one to un­der­stand their needs and their goals. It is a com­mon mis­take to fast-track your best per­form­ers into lead­er­ship roles.

Per­haps th­ese em­ploy­ees want to be deep spe­cial­ists and have no am­bi­tion to be­come lead­ers. Per­haps the quiet grad­u­ate in the cor­ner has a burn­ing am­bi­tion to be a team leader, but does not know how to pro­mote their vis­i­bil­ity or does not know the dif­fer­ent tech­niques to per­suade and in­flu­ence oth­ers.


Peo­ple like to know how they are do­ing. It costs noth­ing to give some­body use­ful feedback, and it is a great way to help em­ploy­ees de­velop and hone their skills on the job. Don’t wait for for­mal an­nual per­for­mance re­views to dis­cuss this. By then it’s too late. Keep the dis­cus­sion go­ing through­out the year. An in­for­mal but mean­ing­ful re­view over a cup of cof­fee can some­times mo­ti­vate, en­cour­age and in­spire an em­ployee far more than ticking a list of key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors dur­ing the an­nual per­for­mance ap­praisal – an ex­er­cise usu­ally dreaded by both em­ploy­ees and bosses.


Give em­ploy­ees per­mis­sion to dream up new ideas and dif­fer­ent ways of do­ing things. Give them re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and give them the free­dom to make mis­takes that can be turned into learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Ev­ery­one in the com­pany is re­spon­si­ble for grow­ing the busi­ness and serv­ing clients, not just the CEO and sales team.

Be open to their ideas on how to do this bet­ter. Trust­ing your em­ploy­ees with this does not mean that the man­ager ab­di­cates re­spon­si­bil­ity and the em­ployee is given free rein. That would be fool­ish and in­vite all sorts of trou­ble. The boss still needs to keep a bird’s-eye view of what is go­ing on, and pro­vide ad­vice and guid­ance when­ever nec­es­sary to en­sure ul­ti­mate suc­cess.


Most em­ploy­ees want to iden­tify with the vi­sion, the mis­sion and the goals of the com­pany they work for. As an em­ployer, make sure th­ese are com­mu­ni­cated of­ten.

Make sure they are vis­i­ble and on your web­site, dis­cussed dur­ing re­cruit­ment pro­cesses, eval­u­ated dur­ing per­for­mance man­age­ment – in fact, per­me­at­ing all cy­cles of the em­ployee’s life in the com­pany.

Once their val­ues are aligned with those of the em­ployer, and the em­ployee finds mean­ing and value in the work they do, the em­ployer will have some­one who is en­gaged, pas­sion­ate, proud of their com­pany and want­ing to go the ex­tra mile for the com­pany and its clients.


Re­ward and recog­ni­tion are still crit­i­cally im­por­tant in the work­place. The way in which em­ploy­ers re­ward and recog­nise em­ploy­ees comes in many dif­fer­ent shapes and forms.

Some­times it can be a sim­ple thank you or a writ­ten ac­knowl­edg­ment for ev­ery­one in the com­pany to see. At other times it can be in­creas­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity, a pro­mo­tion, ex­tra time off, small fi­nan­cial re­wards like a book voucher or big fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives like an over­seas trip with a sig­nif­i­cant other.

A fair trade is im­por­tant to most peo­ple, how­ever, and com­pen­sat­ing em­ploy­ees fairly and ap­pro­pri­ately is sim­ply the en­try ticket to ob­tain­ing their ser­vices.

Whether com­pen­sa­tion can be used to guar­an­tee tal­ent at­trac­tion, mo­ti­va­tion, job sat­is­fac­tion or re­ten­tion is an­other de­bate en­tirely. Moss is di­rec­tor of as­sess­ments at Tal­ent Africa


NEW IDEAS Michelle Moss be­lieves in giv­ing em­ploy­ees op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow

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