HR trends & challenges part 4: how to become a workplace of choice

HR trends & challenges part 4: How to become a workplace of choice

January 10, 2020

This is article four in a 5-part series on recruiting trends and industry insights. Each article will focus on key areas affecting HR professionals and senior executives. Data referenced in each article comes from a recent GRN survey of C-Level and HR executives and is meant to help readers benchmark their own company with other AD members and position themselves for success. To go back to the third article, click here

How do you become the workplace of choice? How can your company check all the boxes that today’s candidates desire?

Let’s face it, our industry is very competitive and top talent can dramatically impact bottom line results. Being known in your marketplace as the workplace of choice is essential. To attract top talent and vendor support, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you taking extra steps to market your company within the communities you serve?
  • Are you and your company actively and visibly supporting key initiatives in your community?
  • What are people’s first impression of your facility?
  • What do people think when they drive by your building?
  • Have you ever brainstormed these simple questions with your management team?

Company image and reputation in your marketplace are important and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a pleasant experience for your employees and potential recruits. It starts the minute they walk into your building.

How are recruits greeted? Where do they go first? Do they ever go beyond the conference room? Do they get to meet some current employees? Do you give them a tour and show them the inner workings of one of your branches? Do you share with them what a typical week might be like? Do they see the company video or walk out with a color portfolio highlighting your company, its partners, services and benefits? Do you have a recruitment video or sell sheet (a why you want to work for us booklet)? Do you do little things like offering the candidate a soft drink, water or coffee upon their arrival? Do you give them a company hat or some swag upon departure?

A recent survey we conducted with hundreds of former candidates at all levels of their organizations revealed that the two top reasons a candidate will leave their current role is a salary increase and company culture. Candidates are typically looking for a 10% raise and a great work environment/company culture. We see a lot more companies taking social responsibility and giving back to their communities very seriously. The culture that you create internally and externally is the bedrock for your future.

Recruitment is a two-way street. As much as a candidate needs to sell you on their abilities, you need to sell them on your company. In today’s competitive recruitment landscape, it is essential to “recruit” top talent. Make them feel wanted. You are recruiting! Have crisp follow up and communication.

The sweet taste of a great financial offer is not the clincher anymore, it is just a part of the decision-making process for candidates. Top talent wants to visualize themselves working in your facility, being on your team and having a place to grow. You need to show them the difference between your organization and theirs as well as your competition. You need to do your homework and sell top talent on the virtues of your organization and help them see how they would fit into your culture and be successful.

One of the recommended best practices before extending an offer is to set the candidate up with a coffee meeting or a lunch with a few people that would be their teammates. This allows them to build relationships early on and lets them ask questions in a more casual setting, giving the candidate a feel for the company and its people. This method helps garner internal buy-in and effectively gives currently employees a chance to share their experiences and portray their company as a destination of choice.

That said, I have heard many candidates say that the interview process is one-sided. It was cold, the team was unprepared, they didn’t learn anything more about the role. Sales people want to understand what their support system is going to look like, your approach to serving your customers and they want to see inventory. Operations people want to see the tools they will have at their fingertips, what technologies you use to streamline processes and make your company more efficient and productive. Executives want to understand the company culture and decision-making process. All of these items, if addressed, will make your organization the workplace of choice in your marketplace. Your people can help in this selling process.

In our survey, we asked executives if they felt that their company would be rated as “a workplace of choice” by their employees within their local community and amongst their industry peers. While companies tout their culture and service, it is interesting to note that scores were relatively low except for supplier / customer recognition of a company’s culture. In that survey, about 35% of respondents thought their company’s image could be better. 30% of management thought their company was the best in the market and only 17% of companies responded that they had won any awards or recognition in their marketplace.

Image drives impressions, and a quality impression will help drive better recruiting efforts.

The final article of this series will focus on the Interview process.

About the author: John Salvadore is the founder and managing partner of GRN Coastal, a full-service recruitment company. You can reach John at or visit their website at