We asked our team of TAB business owners what makes a good employer? Here are the five key areas they came up with.
1. Communication and Caring
Good employers must be good communicators, demonstrating an ability to listen, to ask probing questions and display empathy. They live by the WAIT rule – why am I talking?. They care about their people, believing they’re the most important part of their business.
These skills help the employer keep attuned to their workforce and identify the gaps between where their people are now and where they want to be.
Good employers are visionary, sharing their vision often and well.
They focus on their people first; building a formidable team and ensuring the right people are in the right seats on the bus. They then have an aspirational and compelling vision that is motivational and takes everyone on the journey.
They understand the principle of “people-led business growth” where the culture of the business is viewed as the key ingredient to effectively execute the strategy. When the vision is clearly defined and shared, people who share that vision will be attracted to you. When all our actions and behaviours are a reflection of our values, we will have a healthy culture and an organisation that people want to be a part of.
3. Empowerment and Engagement
Good employers create an environment that enables employees to thrive.
They are purposeful when recruiting staff, employing people who fit in with the business culture and the strong values that are practiced every day.
They engage with, empower, and develop their people, encouraging professional development and providing a pathway where employees are supported to grow.
Good employers treat their staff like family, understanding each individual’s needs and desires. They champion their people, providing them with the support, direction and encouragement they need, as a natural part of their work and they target feedback accordingly.
If a staff member starts to act up, to not achieve the goals set for them, or not contribute their skills or knowledge in the way required of their role, they tell them. They are transparent. They let them know there are consequences to this behaviour, or these outcomes. More, they let them know they need to change – and what this change looks like, so everyone is clear about what is needed to get back on track.
Equally, they are prepared to take feedback and say they are wrong.
Good employers appreciate their staff – and let them know this. They are generous with them (as we are with those we love), rewarding them fairly.
They are flexible, consistent, and always fair.
5. Be a Leader
Good employers are leaders. Their actions speak louder than words. They do not try to be the smartest person in the room. They don’t need to be technical experts, but if employers can’t (or won’t) inspire and lead others, they will struggle to be successful in the long term.
Good employers let staff come to them with innovative ideas. They don’t remove the employee’s ownership of the idea by modifying it with their input. Good employers let staff come up with solutions to foreseeable problems and then tell them to go for it. In the words of Ronald Reagan “surround yourself with great people, and then stay out of their way”.
Good employers build a vision driven, values-led organisation. Through developing a highly effective team, customers will naturally be looked after, the business will become productive and efficient, and profitability will follow.
Thank you to Wayne Baird, Steve Wilkinson, Peter Mayall, Russell Eastwood, Gordon Stuart, Karen Van Eden, Stephen James, Chris Wallace, Chris Deere, Mike Kelliher, and Daryl Narain for contributing to this article.
The Alternative Board provides peer to peer business advice and planning as well as business mentoring and coaching to support NZ Businesses.