Becoming an “Employer of Choice”

Have a shortage of candidates? An “Employer of Choice” (EOC) like HP, for example may get as many as 1,000 resumes a day! Becoming an EOC isn’t easy but it certainly can help solve your shortage of applicants. An EOC is a conscious corporate-wide employment strategy designed to re-make a company image as “a great place to work.” EOC is a term used by recruiters to designate a company that, because of it’s status and reputation as a great place to work, is always the first choice (or at least on the short list) of world-class candidates. One obvious advantage to the company is that it can easily attract and retain the top talent it needs to produce a quality product. In addition, EOCs get name recognition, which helps build the firm’s brand, and it also usually improves sales. Many companies say “employees are our # 1 asset” but if you really believe that, then becoming the EOC needs to be the primary corporate goal… Because it is the only/best way to attract and retain those “most important assets.” There is no plaque awarded to for EOC status but there are many benefits that can accrue to a firm that reaches it. ADVANTAGES OF BEING AN EOC INCLUDE:

  • Ease in attracting quality talent.
  • Good PR and strengthening of the brand image when the firm is mentioned in articles and books citing the best companies.
  • Retention rates for current employees tend to be high.
  • Maintaining the corporate culture is relatively easy, as all employees and the public “assist in maintaining it.”
  • Customers and strategic partners are also attracted by its favorable image.
  • Employee motivation can be easy to maintain because of a shared pride/vision.
  • A positive image often results in a higher stock price.


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  • Their CEO is highly visible and has wide, positive, name recognition.
  • The company is ranked/highly-rated in leading books and publications (i.e., Best Places to Work in America, Working Woman Business Week, Fortune, etc.)
  • College students consistently rank it in the top 10 of desirable companies. They are also the first choice when signing up for interviews.
  • The corporate culture is widely known. It contains unique elements (i.e., strong ethics, values, management practices, well known buzzwords, etc.).
  • Newspaper job ads bring such a volume of responses that they are seldom used.
  • The volume of unsolicited resumes and job inquiries is so large it can even become a burden.
  • Its managers are often quoted in the business press in response to new business problems and trends.
  • It is the first to be benchmarked against when companies are looking for the “best in the world” best practices.
  • It is generally among the most profitable in its industry.
  • The firm’s name, product, and brand are among the most recognized by the public.
  • Owning/using the firm’s products or logo is considered a sign of status or class.
  • Employees speak highly of the firm and it is generally union free or seldom struck.
  • Academicians often select the firm to study for business practices.
  • It is generally a leading giver to universities and charities.
  • Frequently they strongly support employee and family-friendly programs such as domestic partner benefits, childcare benefits, support for volunteer work, etc.
  • It has strategic partnerships with similar EOC’s.
  • Owning/using the firm’s products or logo is considered a sign of status or class. Sales of mugs, t-shits is significant.
  • The firm is known for its product quality and customer service. (High JD Power ratings)
  • Employees speak highly of the firm and it is generally union free or seldom struck.
  • They often have WOW programs and best practices that are discussed in the press.
  • Product advertising is coordinated with HR so it also makes the firm seem like a great place to work.
  • They have a “killer app” product to talk about.
  • Great people management is measured and rewarded. It is a condition of employment for managers.
  • Other firm’s recruiters and headhunters target your firm’s managers and employees. Bus Week rankings of the best managers (soon to be CEO’s) includes mention of your firm.
  • You win national awards like Baldridge or industry specific awards for excellence.
  • Your web site is among the firms with the most hits.
  • The firm name is recognized around the globe.

COMPANIES OFTEN LISTED AS EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE: (EOC’s are often mentioned in the book “the Best Places To Work In America, Fortunes most admired companies and in Working Woman Magazine.)

  • Ben and Jerry’s
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Cisco
  • Patagonia
  • Levi
  • Microsoft
  • Southwest Airlines
  • SUN Microsystems

Next week Part II – Steps in becoming an EOC

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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