This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 28, 2004

Employers Competing for Market Positioning

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Employers are awakening to the need to position themselves more strongly in the employment marketplace. Alert leaders realize that competition for top talent is intensifying. Human resource professionals partner with marketing colleagues to brand the organization.

Employers are moving more aggressively to make themselves more attractive to top talent in increasingly turbulent employment market. While many US companies still lag in this effort, employers elsewhere are very active, seeking recognition that will garner the attention of workers.

As Canadian employers increase salaries and benefits, there is a clear move away from cost-cutting measures. In the annual Watson Wyatt Canadian Strategic Awards Survey, it was obvious that the direction of corporate policy is changing. Liz Wright, Toronto practice director of Strategic Rewards at Watson Wyatt, observed that [employers] seek "to strike a balance between holding the line on costs and holding on to their people."

The survey shows that critical-skill employees---those with skills needed for organizations to remain competitive---are in demand, while non-critical-skill employees are most vulnerable to workforce reductions. More than one-third of organizations surveyed (34 percent) plan to significantly increase their hiring of critical-skill employees this year, while only 3 percent plan to make reductions. Thirty-four percent of employers indicate they experience moderate or great difficulty in attracting critical-skill employees, while 20 percent indicate the same for retaining those employees.

"These results highlight the importance of striving to become an 'employer of choice,'" said Graham Dodd, practice director of Watson Wyatt's Human Capital Group. "The best employees are naturally drawn to the most successful organizations."

England's "Trinity Mirror newspaper reported that "An 'exceptional understanding' of its workforce's needs helped earn Johnson's Coach Travel, Henley-in-Arden, a special achievement award from Warwickshire County Council. The Employer of Choice Award was made in recognition of the firm's work in helping employees balance their lives inside and outside work."

Similar activities and recognition are underway in other countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Oman. In the United States, Employer of Choice, Inc. owns the Registered Trademark for Employer of Choice® and recognizes qualifying employers with the coveted Employer of Choice® Award.

Some communities are waking up. Local leaders are taking action to build bridges between employers and educators---at the community colleges and in the public schools. Those communities that take action now will be in a much better competitive position to attract employers, draw skilled workers, and strengthen their economies. Those communities that do not will find their jobs going elsewhere---domestically and overseas.

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