Prospective Employees Avoid the Sinking Ship
By Mary Jacoby Hastings
Savvy business executives in the private sector recognize that the population shift in prospective employees in the United States warrants revisiting company policies when it comes to flexibility in the workplace. There is a definite win-win when companies take the needs of employees and personal demands into account. When it comes to retaining the best employees—those who can claim they are satisfied with their worklife balance—companies will benefit by staying informed of social trends, something the best of the best do by listening to employees and keeping a pulse on what is happening within and outside their own industry.
Remember, prospective employees are also determining their company of choice, “employing an employer.” Taking time to learn all you can about the employer being targeted. Is it time to move on to a more satisfying role? Is the company in which you are interested a good match for your skills and interests?
Is a large or small firm a better fit for you? Large firms typically have access to more resources, a variety of training programs and opportunities for advancement, better benefits and often more advanced technology; however, this environment may only offer very specialized positions without much opportunity to try different roles. Additionally large firms have hard and fast rules and may be less flexible when it comes to things like time-off policies.
If a prospective employee is looking for a closer relationship with top management, more recognition for accomplishments, opportunities to step into different roles, more autonomy and empowerment, a small firm may be the answer. Smaller firms often don’t have the negotiating power found in large firms, which means benefits like health insurance plans may be a bit more expensive and less flexible.
Worklife balance decisions can be a personal choice if job seekers take their time to find the right fit. This is an exception to “one size fits all.”
As Lee Ann Obringer, with the Discovery Company writes in her article, How Employee Compensation Works, “In addition to regular benefits packages that include health insurance, vacation, and retirement plans, employees seem to be actively seeking companies who offer more of the things they value. Balancing their lives is becoming more important than ever. Because of this, other benefits like flexible schedules, relaxed atmospheres, childcare and other lifestyle benefits are becoming almost as important as salaries. In fact, according to data compiled by WorkLife Benefits, 90% of 1,000+ employees polled by the Gallup Organization in 1998 said that work/life balance is as important as health insurance.
More than one-fourth of surveyed workers said that balancing work and family is more important than a competitive salary, job security or support for an advanced degree. But these other perks, as well as other intrinsic rewards, can definitely have a strong effect on how employees feel about their employer and their work environment, and can help retain employees who might otherwise leave.”
California became the first state to institute a paid family leave insurance program in 2002. Secretary Solis, United States Department of Labor, recently commented, “Especially in these tough times, working families need support as they juggle work-family responsibilities.”
Referring to the data derived from a report on the California initiative, Solis says, “This new data helps demonstrate that innovative workplace flexibility policy is a win-win; good for working families and good for US employers.’"
So you don’t live in California, you live in Colorado and must still find ways to balance a work and personal life. This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road and workers must take the initiative to seek out those companies with policies in place that best fit individual lifestyles.
Among companies in the Denver area deemed to be top places to work because of attention to employee satisfaction are:
ReadyTalk (www.readytalk.com): Employing 110 people and expected to continue growing, ReadyTalk provides audio and Web conferencing services, and offers a variety of audio conferencing options, Web conferencing tools and recording and archiving services. The company had revenue of $19.2 million in 2009.
Founder and CEO King believes in looking to the future and that customer satisfaction comes from “highly engaged employees." Employees benefit from subsidized public transportation, kitchens stocked with snacks and beer, Nintendo Wii and an X-box 360, office bikes for running errands, a locker room area to accommodate lunchtime runs or bike rides and 20 hours of paid volunteer hours per year for each employee and a canine-friendly environment.
PCL Construction Enterprises Inc. (www.pcl.com) consistently makes the top companies lists. The 104-year-old Canadian-born company is a group of independent construction companies with offices in Canada and the United States employing more than 3,000 full-time workers and 6,000 trade people, including 245 in Denver. CEO Peter Beaupré believes that mentoring, training and education are integral parts of being successful as a business. The company offers health screenings for employees and their spouses.
Exclusive Resorts (www.exclusiveresorts.com), founded in 2002, employs 181 people in Colorado. Exclusive Resorts is a destination club. Members have access to hundreds of luxury residences in dozens of resort destinations. Among the company benefits is a job-sharing option providing the same benefits as other full-time employees receive. CEO Jeff Potter believes in recognizing hard-working employees by awarding them with complimentary stays in luxury resorts, complete with several thousand dollars in spending money and the services of a private chef.
America's Career Info Net at http://www.acinet.org/crl/library.aspx has links to career guidance associations and services for those trying to determine what the best occupation may be based on personal needs and preferences. One of the best places to start is the information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data on earnings by detailed occupation from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey are available from:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE., Room 2135, Washington, DC 20212-0001. Telephone: (202) 691-6569.
Data from the Bureau’s National Compensation Survey are available from:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Compensation Levels and Trends, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE., Room 4175, Washington, DC 20212-0001. Telephone: (202) 691-6199.
Career centers that are part of the U.S. Department of Labor One-Stop Career system can be found by calling toll free (877) 348-0502 or visiting their Web site at http://www.careeronestop.org.
Some directories with more detailed information on specific companies can be found in most public libraries either in print or as online databases. Among them are:
- Dun & Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Directory
- Standard and Poor’s Register of Corporations
- Mergent’s Industry Review (formerly Moody’s Industrial Manual)
- Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
- Ward’s Business Directory
Look under the company name in periodical or computerized indexes in libraries or by using one of the Internet’s search engines for up to the past three years for revelations about the company’s successes, failures, future plans and overall culture. Talk to everybody and anybody who knows somebody with an inside line on the company of interest. Prospective employees do not need to jump onto a sinking ship!