What is a “top” employer?

Every year, countless lists of the “best” and “top” employers are announced. Magazines, newspapers, websites, consulting firms, and other entities gather information on various companies, and proclaim some of them to be outstanding.

Some lists are specific to a region or an industry. Others separate companies based on their number of employees, or their years in operation. People with and without jobs love to look at these rankings to see just how well their employer is really treating them, and where they might enjoy working in the future.

trophy for the best employer

Best in class is best in class. Where’s your trophy? N. Apikhomboonwaroot

Many executives and managers wonder how to get on these lists, and if the lists reflect what job-hunters are looking for in an employer.

The Great Place to Work Institute, Fortune, Monster, and Glassdoor all recently released their own employer rankings. Their methodologies differ slightly, but each of these organizations weighs employee opinions heavily when creating their “best of” lists.

There are constant themes that surface among these top-rated employers. Their employees vote them onto the “best of” lists year after year because they are doing something right. What is it?

For employers, this means that employees’ perspectives matter more than some firms think when it comes to attracting top talent. The companies that consistently make the “best of” lists establish trust between employees and management; they recognize that the quality of a company’s culture and its reputation are driven by the quality and character of its leadership.

Top employers understand employee engagement, know how to cultivate it, and do so consistently. It’s not all about the money. Company culture has more impact on high rankings than competitive pay and benefits packages.

Each of the top employer lists notes open communication practices and high opinions of the chief executive as being important to job-seekers. Management’s credibility is consistently mentioned as an important factor in choosing the best companies for which to work.

According to feedback from the survey respondents responsible for the “top” employer lists, the best employers merge market presence with an incomparable workplace culture, which is nurtured and supported by trustworthy leaders.

Other factors include job satisfaction, camaraderie, pay and benefit programs, the hiring process, communication, and diversity.

The burning question is do these ever-popular lists actually represent what job-seekers want in an employer? According to Inc. magazine and other surveys, there’s a disconnect between what employers think employees want and what they actually want.

Job-seekers and current employees want to feel appreciated, and want to feel like they’re part of what’s going on in the organization. Of course, they also want job security, good wages, interesting work, promotion and growth opportunities, and good working conditions, but these factors actually are less important to many employees than appreciation and inclusion.

The trust that so many employees value is built upon a platform of mutual respect, where the employees feel that the company appreciates its staff and keeps them “in the loop.” If you want your company to be selected for one of these popular top employer lists, make sure you consistently communicate with and recognize your employees.


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