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Employees are the most valuable asset of a company. Without talented and devoted workers, businesses may fail to achieve success. That is why to become the best employer is an important HR strategy of attracting and retaining best working talents. “Creating an attractive image of an organization as a distinct and desirable employer (…) becomes possible with employer branding” (Podnar & Balmer, 2010, p. 98). Thus, such factors as company’s prestige and image are extremely influential for becoming employer of choice. Organizing healthy function of groups within an organization can become a source of competition as proved by America’s Best Companies to Work for, such as Google, American Express, and Nationwide Mutual Insurance.
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Creating groups within a firm, it is important to distinguish personal traits of employees, determining what are their personal goals in joining the group, so these objectives would not contradict the companies’ ones. The business may offer to its personnel various tangible and intangible rewards and to receive considerable effort and commitment in return. The George Homans’ exchange theory in groups is very significant in its practical application. He emphasized, “minimal costs and maximum rewards make a group more attractive to recruits or even to current members”(Losh, 2011).
Google Inc. has taken the first place sixth year in a row and there is no surprise if to take a closer look at company’s best practices of attracting and motivating its employees. The image of the corporation is so strong that anyone would be proud to belong to its personnel. Google (2015) positions itself as the best place for entrepreneurs with “a healthy disregard for impossible” (n. p.). As for the intangible rewards it offers, there are such as to be a part of groups including people of all backgrounds like Women@Google or Googler-to-Googler community, where any employee can teach his/her colleagues anything from Python programming to parenting. Google allows its personnel to decide on where they want to obtain another degree and helps achieving it. Tangible rewards are generous, such as competitive pay, scheduling options for vacations and maternity leave, abundance of health plans, complimentary meals at cafés, gym membership and many others. The company emphasizes that benefits and perks are the open conversation, so employees can receive whatever they need in order to concentrate on their work tasks. For exchange, Google is looking for people with “googliness”, meaning entrepreneurs who are not afraid to think broad and make impossible things happen. Entrepreneurial diverse culture is fostered inside the organization, which empowers employees to build their careers and achieve their goals while aligning them with corporate ones.
American Express is another Best Company to Work that successfully applies Homan’s theory of exchange. Its brand is highly recognized and desired thanks to attractive rewards offered such as flexible working hours, competitive pay, onsite gym and cafe, public transportation and tuition reimbursement, health and life insurance, paid time for volunteering and other. It is valued by employees for organizing groups within its organization, which foster closeness and feeling of belonginess among its diverse staff, for example, Asian Network or Jewish Employee Network. The corporate culture supports all kinds of differences in people so “they can reach their full potential” (American Express, 2015).
Nationwide Mutual Insurance is a newcomer in the top 100 ranking as a company where “every voice is heard and valued” (Nationwide Mutual Insurance, 2015). Its goal is to become successful by building not just diverse but inclusive workforce, including experience, interest and thinking style. Employees associating themselves with Nationwide Mutual Insurance feel satisfied being a group member of a corporate citizen that takes an active part in social and green projects, introducing voluntarism into its culture. Participating in Nationwide Volunteer Network, workers receive paid time off and $100 grant for their organization. The company also develops program of recruiting veterans to adjust them to civilian life and get benefit from their military experience in return. Besides total rewards and wellness packages, Nationwide Mutual Insurance offers unique deals on insurance, free juridical consulting and, as a sponsor of many sport events, discounted tickets to its employees.
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Therefore, it is obvious that to become an employer of choice a company must adopt a strategy of obtaining best talents and building a competitive brand image, involving sufficient investment of business’s resources to attract recruits. As best firms’ practices show, these investments pay off many times when best talented people are proud to work for them devoting most of their time and energy for obtaining a common goal.
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