How Being a “Great Company to Work For” Helps Attract the Right Applicants

eve-1071356_640Attracting the “right” applicants can be costly. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the time it takes to fill a position can be burdensome.  From the time the position becomes open to the day your new hire accepts the job, the money clock is ticking. RecruiterBox states that posting on job boards can cost companies from $37 to more than $400 per applicant … and that’s before any screening and interviewing time is taken into account.

No so for companies that attain Best Employer designations. Companies that land on lists such as Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For or Staffing Industry Analysts’ Best Staffing Firms to Work For have discovered a benefit they may not have anticipated. Because their employees were the ones responsible for voting them onto those lists, applicants take note and flock to apply.


People entering the workforce today are seeking to get into employee-friendly companies. Take Southwest Airlines, for example. When I was there, we attained the No. 1 spot on Fortune’s coveted list.  We soon had more than 100,000 applicants vying for 2,500 positions. Today, that number has soared to more than 300,000 applicants for 6,500 positions.  Companies like David Weekley Homes and Holtze Health and Wellness Center, both of which attained the Houston Chronicle’s “Top Workplaces” list multiple times, have also seen their applicant-to-hire ratios soar. In every case, each company has experienced lower cost-per-hire numbers.

To attract the right applicants to your organization, you need to be known as an “Employee Friendly” organization. Here are five tips that the successful companies like those listed above use:

  1. Make your new hires feel special. Welcome them with balloons, banners, team celebrations, emails, phone calls and a workspace that’s got all resources they will need.  No one is typically more excited than a new hire on his or her first day. By making them feel special you will be validating the choice they made to come to work for you.
  2. Communicate often and consistently. Keep employees in the loop. Let them know what the company is up to and how their job fits into the big picture.  Employees want to be connected and in the loop.  This makes people feel trusted, keeps the troops moving in the same direction and minimizes gossip.
  3. Recognize them for a job well done. Don’t wait until the ceremony awards. Catch them in the act of doing something well and give them a pat on the back, or send a quick email or card.  People need to know that someone notices what they are doing and they will repeat what gets recognized.
  4. Forgive Mistakes. If a person’s intent was to help the company, coworker or a customer and things did not go as planned, review the mistake, forgive it and move on. In this way, your employees will continue to take risks.
  5. Give people opportunities to learn. New employees want career paths and, while their new learning may not cause them to “move up”, they will relish the opportunity to acquire new skills.  Instead of creating a “career ladder” this will help you create a “career lattice.” Many companies think, “What happens if I train them and they leave”? I challenge you to think, “What happens if I don’t train them and they stay”?

By implementing these five proven strategies, your company will position itself to be more “employee-friendly.” Your employees will be more apt to vote for your company as a “Best Company to Work For” and applicants will show up … in droves. The best part? Your bottom line will reflect it.

MORE: The missing driver of employee engagement and recruiting: Fun

Lorraine Grubbs

Lorraine Grubbs
Lorraine Grubbs is president of the consulting firm Lessons in Loyalty. She recently co-authored  Beyond the Executive Comfort Zone: Outrageous Tactics to Ignite Individual Performance.

Lorraine Grubbs

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