Saturday, September 16, 2006

How to Achieve Preferred Employer Status

A checklist from Jack and Suzy Welch:

1. Preferred employers demonstrate a real commitment to continuous learning. No lip service. These companies invest in the development of their people through classes, training programs, and off-site experiences, all sending the message that the organization is eager to facilitate a steady path to personal growth.

2. Preferred employers are meritocracies. Pay and promotions are tightly linked to performance, and rigorous appraisal systems consistently make people aware of where they stand. As at every company, the people you know and the school you went to might help get you in the door. But after that, it's all about results. Now, why does all this make a company a preferred employer? Very simply, because people with brains, self-confidence, and competitive spirit are always attracted to such environments.

3. Preferred employers not only allow people to take risks but also celebrate those who do. And they don't shoot those who try but fail. As with meritocracies, a culture of risk-taking attracts exactly the kind of creative, bold employees companies want and need in a global marketplace where innovation is the single best defense against unrelenting cost competition.

4. Preferred employers understand that what is good for society is also good for business. Gender, race, and nationality are never limitations; everyone's ideas matter. Preferred employers are diverse and global in their outlook and environmentally sensitive in their practices. They offer flexibility in work schedules to those who earn it with performance. In a word, preferred companies are enlightened.

5. Preferred employers keep their hiring standards tight. They make candidates work hard to join the ranks by meeting strict criteria that center around intelligence and previous experience and by undergoing an arduous interview process. Admittedly, this factor is somewhat of a catch-22 since it's difficult to be picky before you become an employer of choice. But it's worth the effort. Talent has an uncanny way of attracting other talent.

6. Preferred companies are profitable and growing. A rising stock price is a hiring and retention magnet. But beyond that, only thriving companies can promise you a future with career mobility and the potential of increased financial rewards. Indeed, one of the most intoxicating things a company can say to a potential employee is: "Join us for the ride of your life."

How does the company you work for measure up?

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