How to Be an Attractive Employer

What does it mean to be an attractive employer? The job market remains tricky as we move through the year, and is still very much candidate-led. This can mean more competition for hiring managers, and businesses need to think more about strategies for creating a company people want to join.

How to make your business attractive to employees

In a competitive job market, what can you do to be an employer of choice and make your business stand out from the crowd? It’s important to note that being an employer of choice is great for candidate attraction, but also for retention. So even if you’re not currently recruiting, the principles still apply.

To make a company attractive to employees, think carefully about creating a workplace environment where employees feel their hard work is valued and recognised.

Below are our top five tips for being a 2024 choice employer.

1. Foster a positive work environment

A positive work environment is the key to a happy, productive workforce. This includes both the physical work environment and the cultural environment you foster. 

Make sure to make your employees’ workspaces as comfortable, functional and pleasant as possible, including for people who work remotely. 

For those remote employees, you might consider providing a budget to help with the cost of things like chairs, desks and office equipment to ensure they’re as comfortable at home as in the office. 

Natural light is important as there is a strong connection between natural light in the workplace and employees’ quality of sleep and energy. Sun lamps or SAD lights, while relatively inexpensive, have been found to increase serotonin (our natural feel-good chemical), which therefore creates happier employees who are more productive. 

Alongside furniture and lighting, consider having music in the office, as this has been proven to affect productivity and mood. 

Plants in the office space provide cleaner air and also have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in staff, alongside boosting energy levels.  

Open office layouts are a necessity in many cases, but you should consider providing a few areas where employees can retreat if they need quiet or solitude to concentrate on a difficult project. It can cut down on stress and interruptions, which improves mood and productivity.

How can an employer be more appealing?

When it comes to culture, it’s a bit less cut and dry, because a company’s culture is based on numerous moving parts. Giving staff an achievable amount of work to complete, and not overloading them, is key. 

An excessive workload, which translates to burnout, is one of the top reasons that people leave jobs. Research shows that productivity decreases fast when someone works more than 50 hours a week. 

Managers can work with their teams to look at how to create efficiencies in working practices, often embracing technology.

Another very important factor when it comes to culture is creating an environment of trust and open communication. Psychological safety allows employees to take risks which can enable an organisation to be more innovative.

Listen to your staff, create a feedback culture and focus on helping them solve problems rather than passing blame. 

How can I make my workplace attractive

Work perks for the office

Other cultural ideas include:

  • Introducing wellness initiatives like pedometers, fresh fruit, running clubs, etc.
  • Focus on your language, use inclusive language  and try not to dictate to staff, rather encourage open communication. 
  • Keep meetings limited and relevant – pointless meetings waste time and slow productivity.
  • Celebrate staff on their birthday, after an achievement or a personal best, as an Employee of the Month etc.
  • Create a social calendar to ensure regular fun office outings where people can create friendship bonds and strengthen relationships.
  • Allow flexibility on working hours so staff can be productive in their productive times as opposed to during a specific window.
  • Open communication of company values and goals to create employee buy-in and let them understand their role within this.
  • Recruit based on values alignment, so you know you have staff buy-in and a shared foundation.
  • Celebrate all staff backgrounds and identities to create a genuine sense of inclusion.

2. Training and development 

Neglecting to provide clear avenues for employees to enhance their skills and progress in their careers can result in them feeling stagnant and seeking opportunities elsewhere (within companies that will promote personal growth). 

Provide continuous training and development opportunities for staff. By investing in the professional growth of your team, you not only increase the likelihood of retaining them for longer periods but also cultivate a more proficient and seasoned workforce.

Furthermore, establishing a reputation as an organisation committed to nurturing employee development can significantly bolster your employer brand. 

Prospective hires will be attracted to your organisation knowing that you prioritise the growth and success of your employees, giving you a competitive advantage in attracting top talent. Training and development could be through internal avenues (mentoring, etc.) or using an external provider to focus on specific skills training.

Employee Benefits & Rewards

3. Keep your benefits relevant and up-to-date

Look at your benefits. According to our 2024 salary benchmarking document, benefits remain key to employees on importance but also the lack of benefits would be a big push to leave a company. This is even more pertinent for charities and organisations where traditionally, salaries are lower. While offering a higher salary remains the most ideal way to attract and retain employees – this isn’t viable for every business, as they are also battling increasingly high bills and tighter overheads.

In 2024, the landscape of company benefits has evolved to reflect the changing needs and priorities of today’s workforce. With a heightened emphasis on employee well-being, diversity, and flexibility, forward-thinking companies are reimagining their benefits packages to attract and retain top talent. 

From comprehensive healthcare coverage and wellness programs to robust mental health support and remote work options, companies are recognising the importance of offering a variety of benefits that cater to the diverse needs of their employees.

These enhanced benefits not only contribute to a healthier and more engaged workforce but also play a crucial role in shaping overall compensation packages. In an era where work-life balance and employee satisfaction are paramount, competitive benefits can often be the deciding factor for candidates when considering job opportunities. 

Benefits to attract the right employees

Considering the above, companies that prioritise innovative and inclusive benefits strategies are not only better positioned to attract top talent but also foster a culture of loyalty and long-term commitment among their employees. We asked candidates what employee benefits were most important to them, to allow you to make informed decisions over benefits packages.

In order, they started:

  1. Flexitime
  2. Hybrid working
  3. Pension over and above the legal minimum
  4. Opportunity to achieve a bonus or additional salary e.g overtime
  5. Shorter working week (we are hearing a lot about the 4-day week trial)
  6. Private healthcare
  7. Health insurance
  8. Enhanced maternity/paternity leave 

How you’re able to implement the above will differ across roles and industries, however putting together a comprehensive benefits package will make candidates more likely to accept roles with you, and once in more likely to stay.

It plays a large role in increasing the sense of value for employees, as you’re paying into their holistic health.

How can I make my business attractive?

4. Pay your employees fairly

This year, the Real Living Wage has risen to £12 per hour (£13.15 in London) which would equate to a salary of £23,400 per annum (based on a 37.5-hour week). 

As an organisation that cares about its staff, it is important to maintain the living wage and pay workers fairly for the work they do. 

With this being said, we appreciate that the recent increase to the living wage means meeting the Real Living Wage is not an option for all employers due to affordability.

Demonstrating you are paying as well as you can in the economy will go a long way. 

Also, if the possibility of an increase in salary is not an option, reviewing the benefits you can offer can help to balance this out as we run through below.

5. Create a strong employer brand in the market

Your company’s employer brand is pivotal in how both current and potential employees perceive you. Building a robust employer brand is crucial as it allows you to showcase your values and culture, establishing yourself as a top employer in the eyes of candidates and current employees. 

One effective strategy is to highlight employee success stories on your social media platforms and company blogs. This provides potential candidates with authentic insights into your workplace environment. 

Try and make sure this showcases your company’s diversity, as this is also something candidates will look out for.

Encouraging your employees to share their positive experiences on platforms like Glassdoor can also enhance your brand significantly. 

Even something as seemingly small as refining your job advertisements to reflect your organisation’s unique personality can profoundly impact how you are perceived by prospective applicants. Click here to read our blog and improve job ads from today. 

By investing in your employer brand, you can attract and retain top talent more effectively. 

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