I was talking the other day with a friend about what it means to be an employer of choice, and we started discussing the typical failure of organizational self-awareness. Neither of us could really think of an employer that didn't refer to itself as an employer of choice nor one who thought that they hired the best people and made them happy. (Remember, everyone's people are their #1 resource).
So, I put together a list of quick and simple tests that will help anyone determine if they're failing to really be an employer of choice.
1. Walk through the sales department at 9AM and then again through the R&D/IT department at 5:30 PM and count the people. Do this on three consecutive days (not near Christmas). Worry if you find less than 50% of people in attendance across all 3 days.
2. Announce an extremely well-rewarded referral program (or announce a significant bonus for one open but non-specialty position if you have a current referral program). Make the payment at least 30% higher than what you would consider an "outstanding bonus". Worry if you have less than a full pipeline of resumes after 2 weeks.
3. Google your company's name and make a sentence describing your company out of the first 10 adjectives that you find that weren't generated by your own PR and Marketing efforts.
4. Search for your company's name on MySpace. Note what people have to say on their MySpace pages about work.
5. Read your employee's personal blogs. Worry if you don't know where any of them are or if you think they don't have blogs.
Any one of these may not be indicative of a problem in and of itself. But if you find yourself not performing well on multiple of these tests, it's worth considering that perhaps you're not treating your employees as well as you should be.