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The Most Important Factor When Choosing A New Employer

Posted by on 5/06/2018


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I often speak with candidates who harbor ambitions to work for a particular company based on their brand. Largely due to generalising project portfolios or the “I just like the look of them” thought process.

I always ask why and I do respect these reasons. But, something that keeps me up at night is that i've found that it's not usually down to the team or the people that work there as to why jobseekers single out certain companies. I absolutely understand the lure of a powerful brand and it helps to sell products and build confidence, but buying from a "respected" brand and working for one are two totally different situations requiring different mindsets.

I am a huge believer that the brand is not what defines the experience of an employee and it never will be. In fact, it is largely irrelevant. Enjoying your job and your environment is all about the people. A famous saying is that people don't leave businesses; they leave managers, and I couldn't agree more.

I say this because I take stock of why people leave their current position and I can’t remember the last time they cited the state of the brand as the reason for leaving. So why would this be a reason for joining?!

Reasons for leaving generally stem from not being valued and recognised for hard work and having general bad relationships with managers and colleagues.

Recognition could be in the form of promotions, pay rises or simply receiving praise and feeling great by being told they are doing a good job. Frequent reviews and positive, constructive feedback is often overlooked by many organisations yet is one of the most powerful and important ways to retain staff. But, that’s another article for another day.

What is clear is that the role of the Manager is critical.

I love this extract from Jim Clifton CEO of Gallup who wrote in the summary of “State of the American Workplace” employee engagement study.

"Here’s something they’ll probably never teach you in business school, the single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the rest—is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits—nothing.”

The values of the wider team and colleagues has a real impact on culture and attrition. That is why I often advocate clients introducing hires to some of their future colleagues BEFORE a candidate has made their decision. I practice this here at Harper Harrison and LHi Group and it can be a very powerful hiring tool when you have good people within the business.

Therefore, the one thing to prioritise when considering your options is to put yourself in a business where you will be working with great people who genuinely want to develop others, support your growth and ultimately look after your career, taking time to understand you and make you feel a bit special.

Finding those shared values and being like-minded will more than likely give you the environment where you are likely to perform better, enjoy your work and prosper.

The name on the wall may then be a factor if this box is already comprehensively ticked, but, I believe it stands for little if it isn't. Choose wisely!!