Are You an Employer of Choice? Metrics for Assessing Your Progress

It has become common for firms to strive to become an “employer of choice” (EOC). Unfortunately, it’s easy to say that you have become an employer of choice, but in reality being an employer of choice is a difficult but measurable status to obtain. Here are some ways to assess how far you have come in the EOC sweepstakes. Note the numbers listed here are from my work with high-tech firms and they do vary in other industries. The EOC factors are listed here in descending order of importance.

  1. “Best lists” appearances. The firm currently appears on best places lists in Fortune or Working Mother, and on more than one industry or regional best places list.
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  3. Positive name recognition in target population. When asked in a survey or focus group, people in your target professional fields know the name of your firm 75% of the time and over half of those know at least one key positive selling point of your firm.
  4. In top three choices of top performers. When highly qualified professionals are asked the names of places they “would like to work someday,” over 50% list your firm in the top three most often mentioned.
  5. Where do your applications come from? At least 10% of your applicants come from the top five most profitable firms in your industry or region.
  6. Often cited in MVPs. Your firm’s HR and people practices are cited at least five times a year by name in the top three (most valuable publications) that are read by top professionals in their field or industry.
  7. Often cited. Your firm’s HR and people practices are cited by name in major industry, business, and HR publications over 50 times a year.
  8. Referral rate. Employee referrals make up over 50% of all hires.
  9. “Other offers.” Applicants with multiple offers also get a concurrent offer from one of the top ten rated firms in your industry, at least 50% of the time.
  10. Giveaway/takeaway ratio. Your firm hires away more people from your top five competitors than the competitor hires away from you (you win four out of five of these head-to-head battles).
  11. Talent competitors talk positively about you. When managers at direct talent competitors are asked in surveys or focus groups about your firm’s people practices they give a positive response 25% of the time.
  12. In top three choices of average performers. When professionals in your industry are asked the names of places they “would like to work someday” over 25% list your firm.
  13. Recruiters list you in top employers. When professional recruiters are asked in surveys or focus groups about your firm’s people practices they give a positive response 50% of the time. When asked to list the top ten EOCs in your region or industry, you appear 50% of the time.
  14. On admired list. You appear on Fortune’s most admired firm’s list.
  15. On diversity list. You appear on Fortune’s diversity list.
  16. Former employees do/would return. Over 10% of employees that voluntarily quit in the past three years have returned. Over 50% express an interest in returning when surveyed.
  17. Employees send the “same” message. When your employees are asked what they tell strangers about “why the firm is a great place to work” over 50% of their answers include your top selling point.
  18. Turnover rate of top performers. The turnover rate of your top 25% rated employees is below 5%.
  19. CEO mentions people practices. Your current CEO mentions specific HR or people practices by name in 25% of their external and 50% of their internal speeches.
  20. Sign up lists. Your “sign ups” at college information events exceed the average by 50%. Your lines at job fairs are 25% longer than your top direct talent competitor.
  21. Web hits. You get 50% more web “hits” on your jobs page than the industry average.
  22. Benchmarked. Fortune 500 firms from outside your industry benchmark you at least once a year.
  23. Listed first in conference brochures. When presenting firms are listed in commercial seminar brochures, your firms name appears in the first 25%.
  24. Book. There is a published book written about your firm or CEO within the last five years.
  25. CEO has wide name recognition. Your current CEO has a positive name recognition when professionals in your industry are asked in surveys or focus groups 75% of the time.
  26. You have an EOC manager. Your HR department has a designated EOC, best places list or employment branding manager.

Conclusion HR loses all credibility when it overuses phrases like “we are an employer of choice” and has no hard data to back up the assertion. Wise HR VPs will demand that EOC progress be measured with metrics and numbers, rather than wishful thinking! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website and on He lives in Pacifica, California.



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