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7 Habits of Highly Effective Employment Brands: How Leading Companies Recruit and Retain Great Employees

What makes an organization a “best place to work?” Check out these common practices of companies that are frequently recognized among job seekers, consumers, industry analysts and – not least of all – their own employees for being great places to work.

  1.  They’re not afraid to relinquish a little control. Despite reports that over half of employers still ban social networking at work, companies who’ve embraced it have found tremendous reward in enabling employees to use social media. Zappos was one of the first companies to embrace social media, giving employees the freedom to use Twitter.  The strategy has worked well for the online shoe retailer: By enabling employees to talk freely about their jobs, new products, or other interesting aspects of company life, they’ve effectively made their employees into brand advocates, and created buzz about being a great place to work. More recently, Whole Foods has taken a similar approach to social media, believing that letting individual employees’ personalities shine through is essential to for social media to work well and engage people.
  2. They embrace new media as a recruiting tool. Staffing firm Kelly Services, a 2008 Best Place to Work in Western Pa., created a virtual community in Second Life to provide job seekers with an interactive experience to see what it’s like to work for Kelly. It has also helped to create buzz about Kelly and differentiate the firm from its competitors. For much the same reason, staffing firm Spherion decided to leverage the current popularity of viral video when it created its Web series, “The Temp Life.”  Seems to be working: the 17-episode series is clearly resonating with audiences, with over 1 million views to date.
  3. They embrace new media as an engagement tool. IBM did it with Beehive. Best Buy did it with Blue Shirt Nation.  Now, companies of every size are utilizing online social communities for internal purposes - engaging employees and keeping them informed of important company news, events and projects. Over 50,000 companies worldwide, including Fox and Adobe use microblogging site Yammer, while companies like Starbucks and Pepsico have found success with cfactor’s “enterprise social networking” solution.  
  4. They think outside the Facebooks. Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of users on Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants? Think “niche.” That’s what Seattle-based Tableau Software did recently when it needed a Web developer with extensive knowledge of Drupal:  the company’s recruiters began surfing social networking sites that catered to Drupal enthusiasts, where they eventually found their new hire.
  5. They ask for employee feedback (and actually listen to it).  Feedback from Aetna’s employee surveys – administered regularly to enable employees to voice their thoughts about how the company is doing and where there is room for improvement – led to the establishment of Aetna’s current recognition program, The Aetna Way Excellence Awards, according to CEO Ronald Williams in an interview for our Leadership Series. Leadership recognized that employees wanted more company-wide recognition events, so they delivered. “That whole program came about as a result of employees’ suggestions that came through the survey,” Williams said.
  6. They work in partnership with Human Resources. “People decisions are some of the most important decisions I make, so I make those decisions in collaboration with my HR partners,” says Stryker CEO Steve MacMillan in a recent interview with CareerBuilder. “Responsibility for our people may be a human resources function, but we all manage it together.” It’s no accident that Stryker is a three-time winner of the “Gallup Great Place to Work Award,” in addition to other best place to work honors.  
  7. They actively encourage learning and development. Smart companies know the power of providing opportunities for professional development and personal growth in helping to retain top talent.  Spectrum Health does both: The company’s relationship with University of Michigan provides opportunities for leadership members to gain experience in project-based work. And its EXCEL Professional Development Model program recognizes and provides monetary awards for nursing staff for academic and professional accomplishments, as well as community service.

What about you? What particular practices make your organization a best place to work?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
27 comments
chris
chris

I agree with Gytahnna - reading and responding to this blog could be considered unproductive. I think employees should be encouraged to be resourceful if it improves their performance.. just google "A Message To Garcia". Attitude and ambition go a long way!

chris
chris

I agree with Gytahnna - reading and responding to this blog could be considered unproductive. I think employees should be encouraged to be resourceful if it improves their performance.. just google "A Message To Garcia". Attitude and ambition go a long way!

chris
chris

I agree with Gytahnna - reading and responding to this blog could be considered unproductive. I think employees should be encouraged to be resourceful if it improves their performance.. just google "A Message To Garcia". Attitude and ambition go a long way!

JeanAnn Puente
JeanAnn Puente

I have to say I agree with Barry on his opinion of some of the comments. If organizations expect to stay competitive they must be willing to adapt and at least consider the positive affects of new technology. Simply put, each new generation is more technologically oriented!

On the flip side of that I do agree that usage of these applications will have to have strict rules and for some will probably have to be closely monitored.

I am a recruiter and I know having access to these applications would make my work more effective because I could reach more applicants.

JeanAnn Puente
JeanAnn Puente

I have to say I agree with Barry on his opinion of some of the comments. If organizations expect to stay competitive they must be willing to adapt and at least consider the positive affects of new technology. Simply put, each new generation is more technologically oriented!

On the flip side of that I do agree that usage of these applications will have to have strict rules and for some will probably have to be closely monitored.

I am a recruiter and I know having access to these applications would make my work more effective because I could reach more applicants.

JeanAnn Puente
JeanAnn Puente

I have to say I agree with Barry on his opinion of some of the comments. If organizations expect to stay competitive they must be willing to adapt and at least consider the positive affects of new technology. Simply put, each new generation is more technologically oriented! On the flip side of that I do agree that usage of these applications will have to have strict rules and for some will probably have to be closely monitored. I am a recruiter and I know having access to these applications would make my work more effective because I could reach more applicants.

Fredrick
Fredrick

In State and Federal Government this type of media has it's limit. There is a place for technology use for communication but as a State or Federal Government employee.. home is the place to do what you want freely...

Fredrick
Fredrick

In State and Federal Government this type of media has it's limit. There is a place for technology use for communication but as a State or Federal Government employee.. home is the place to do what you want freely...

Barry
Barry

I have read everyone's comments and I would be willing to bet that the negative comments come from an older age group that the positive comments. I am 53 and remember when I first got out of the Marine Corps in 1978 my first employer was deathly afraid of computers, as you can guess he didn't stay in business very long. You can either learn to adapt to new technologies or allow your competitors to bury you. But, as with all of the comments I have read it is only an opinion and you know what people say about opinions.

Barry
Barry

I have read everyone's comments and I would be willing to bet that the negative comments come from an older age group that the positive comments. I am 53 and remember when I first got out of the Marine Corps in 1978 my first employer was deathly afraid of computers, as you can guess he didn't stay in business very long. You can either learn to adapt to new technologies or allow your competitors to bury you. But, as with all of the comments I have read it is only an opinion and you know what people say about opinions.

Gytahnna
Gytahnna

Wow, look at all the negativity stemming from technology based communication! Are we essentially not working because we are reading this article?

What if we use these tools to communicate with clients oversea's, or out of the area? People do business with people they feel are "real". This can showcase how your personal life is just as professional as your business life.

Email use to be taboo at work and now it is the most widely accepted form of communication! This article speaks for itself and the successes of the companies it showcases... ~ From a Millenial

Gytahnna
Gytahnna

Wow, look at all the negativity stemming from technology based communication! Are we essentially not working because we are reading this article? What if we use these tools to communicate with clients oversea's, or out of the area? People do business with people they feel are "real". This can showcase how your personal life is just as professional as your business life. Email use to be taboo at work and now it is the most widely accepted form of communication! This article speaks for itself and the successes of the companies it showcases... ~ From a Millenial

Janelle
Janelle

My friends who have jobs that allow them to use facebook and twitter are happier at work than my friends who have jobs that strictly monitor every second of their day. Freedom and trust from your employer that you will get done what needs to be done is huge in keeping employees, especially younger ones, happy.

Janelle
Janelle

My friends who have jobs that allow them to use facebook and twitter are happier at work than my friends who have jobs that strictly monitor every second of their day. Freedom and trust from your employer that you will get done what needs to be done is huge in keeping employees, especially younger ones, happy.

Janelle
Janelle

My friends who have jobs that allow them to use facebook and twitter are happier at work than my friends who have jobs that strictly monitor every second of their day. Freedom and trust from your employer that you will get done what needs to be done is huge in keeping employees, especially younger ones, happy.

Amner
Amner

I have to agree with Fredo!!
The work place is to be a productive individual and not to be on facebook and twiter.
If that is what you want to do, you should do it on your own time at breaks, lunch and at home.

Amner
Amner

I have to agree with Fredo!! The work place is to be a productive individual and not to be on facebook and twiter. If that is what you want to do, you should do it on your own time at breaks, lunch and at home.

Roger
Roger

I agree with Fredo completely. Whatever happened to doing work at work? It's no wonder america has gone in to such a decline as a global power in productivity. We have too many kids being raised where everyone's a "winner" and no one get's picked last. this is the real world, now all of you reading this, get your butts back to work!

Roger
Roger

I agree with Fredo completely. Whatever happened to doing work at work? It's no wonder america has gone in to such a decline as a global power in productivity. We have too many kids being raised where everyone's a "winner" and no one get's picked last. this is the real world, now all of you reading this, get your butts back to work!

Christina
Christina

Fredo, I totally disagree. If your employees are spending too much time on Facebook & Twitter and not completing their work, it sounds like there are other issues that are not being communicated. Maybe they are unhappy in their job? Why don't you look to management rather than quickly chalking it up to an employee's work ethic.

I'd rather have our employees be publicly excited to work for us and enjoying their freedom to communicate than silently stewing away in a cube.

Christina
Christina

Fredo, I totally disagree. If your employees are spending too much time on Facebook & Twitter and not completing their work, it sounds like there are other issues that are not being communicated. Maybe they are unhappy in their job? Why don't you look to management rather than quickly chalking it up to an employee's work ethic.

I'd rather have our employees be publicly excited to work for us and enjoying their freedom to communicate than silently stewing away in a cube.

Christina
Christina

Fredo, I totally disagree. If your employees are spending too much time on Facebook & Twitter and not completing their work, it sounds like there are other issues that are not being communicated. Maybe they are unhappy in their job? Why don't you look to management rather than quickly chalking it up to an employee's work ethic. I'd rather have our employees be publicly excited to work for us and enjoying their freedom to communicate than silently stewing away in a cube.

Fredo
Fredo

This is the most ridiculous article ever written. Of course workers are happy when they can use twitter and facebook at work...the problem is...wait for it....we require actual work to get done at our office. Get a clue.

Fredo
Fredo

This is the most ridiculous article ever written. Of course workers are happy when they can use twitter and facebook at work...the problem is...wait for it....we require actual work to get done at our office. Get a clue.

Fredo
Fredo

This is the most ridiculous article ever written. Of course workers are happy when they can use twitter and facebook at work...the problem is...wait for it....we require actual work to get done at our office. Get a clue.

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