How to Compete With the World’s Most Attractive Employers

We’ve all seen lists like World’s Most Attractive Employers and Top 50 Most Attractive Employers, but few recruiters and employers understand how to attract, retain, and engage the world’s best talent. Here are a few employer branding best practices that will help smaller companies and less exciting brands to compete with the world’s best.

Utilize Your Values to Define Targeted Talent

An employer or recruiter can’t start posting positions, sifting through applicants, or headhunting for the very best without first defining the qualities and prerequisites necessary to work for the organization. Utilizing your values, outline a talent profile that will help you to quickly discern great cultural and job fits from those who are merely experienced or skilled in their role.

Once a talent profile has been created, it can be catered slightly to each role and department, as long as it maintains and supports the company culture. From the profile, recruiters should be able to target potential employees who have the desired traits and qualities through a carefully-written job post and behavioral questions during interviews.


Carefully selecting for the right cultural and job fit ensures that employees will be well suited for their new careers. By stressing company values from the onset, a company can guide new hires to become exemplary team members and avoid hiring people who would be unhappy within the organization.

Creating a Great First Impression

While we like to feel too evolved to make snap judgments, everyone is guilty of it. Start your new hires off on the right foot by anticipating their nerves and critical eye on day one. Here are a few ideas to make it a memorable occasion:

  • Ensure a workspace is designated, setup, and ready
  • Have a nice arrangement of branded work supplies waiting
  • Invite departmental team members to sign a welcome card
  • Send an announcement to the department with the new hire’s headshot asking the team to greet the new person in the hallway
  • Have a prerecorded welcome on the voicemail for the new hire from the CEO
  • Organize thoughtful training that involves many team members
  • Provide a clear agenda for day one as well as for ongoing training
  • Ask one peer team member to be a guide for the new employee
  • Ask one management team member to mentor for the new hire
  • Take the new person to lunch with their closest colleagues
  • Provide adequate breaks
  • Indoctrinate the new hire with the company’s culture and history rather than rules, paperwork, and regulations
  • Ask the new hire for feedback about the process

If your new hire is shown a few courtesies on day one, he or she will go home with a great first impression that will outshine any moments of doubt or stress.


People frequently talk about their first day on a new job, so taking the opportunity to shine as the best new job in a person’s career can earn a lot of word-of-mouth publicity. Additionally, the person will feel valued and welcomed, which will improve his or her transition into the organization.

Do a Few Upgrades

Our surroundings at work play a big part in our lives. We see, touch, smell, hear, and even taste them on a regular basis. If you want to have happy employees, ensure that their chairs are comfortable, the lighting is good, the air smells fresh, and the coffeemaker brews good java. Invest in the creature comforts that put people at ease so that they feel more comfortable and productive. While a cheaper chair might save you $100 per employee, it could cost you thousands in lost productivity per person each year. This infographic shared by Forbes magazine shows many of the areas to consider when upgrading the design of your workspace.

To get inspiration for appearance upgrades, review a few leading organizations to see what their surroundings look like. However, keep in mind that you don’t need a ping pong table or state-of-the-art boardroom to impress clients and applicants; all you need is some style and thoughtful touches. You could include charging stations and cables for phones, paint the walls with an invigorating color that’s on brand, and provide healthy refreshments to keep your people mentally alert and satiated. Take note of impressive features at restaurants and competitors’ offices for the next round of upgrades, or survey the team about their wish list.


Conveniences, comfort, and a bit of style go a long way in keeping teams engaged and proud of their environment. Employees who are proud of their workspaces are more likely to take good care of them, too, which means fewer repairs and updates in the long run.

Money Talks, but Consideration Counts

While your organization might not have the money to pay out huge bonuses, stock, and product samples, you can certainly develop values-based recognition programs that offer some compensation or consideration. If your company can’t afford to do cash awards, then consider these alternatives:

  • Additional personal time
  • Designated parking space
  • Time allotment for selected professional projects
  • Time allotment for learning and development
  • Control of the company’s quarterly charitable budget
  • Control of the company’s next party location or food type

With a little creativity and the support of company values, you can reward and recognize your most valuable team members without splurging.


As Monroe sang, “A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but …” people sometimes want more than a spoken thank you or a hand-written note. Recognizing employees for upholding the company culture is also a great way to reinforce it. It’s important to also keep in mind that these perks of employment – or lack of them – are all too often the deciding factors when employees make reviews on Glassdoor or post reviews on other social platforms. These Glassdoor reviews are important because they give you needed insight about what people really think. Implementing a strong recognition program is one more way to make sure that the stories people are telling about your culture are good ones – give them good stories to tell!

People who are looking for long-term careers will consider more than the fancy conference rooms and pool tables of Google and Facebook. Stand out by offering a strong culture that supports engagement and fulfillment, a memorable first impression that will outshine first-day stress, comfortable surroundings to allow focus, and recognition for hard work. This is the recipe for an employer relationship that will survive hard times and overcome obstacles.

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