Attracting talent: What differentiates your company from others?

AonTo attract the best talent, employers need to stand out from the rest—not only to exceed the basic expectations of employees, but to create a unique and compelling experience. The key to creating a differentiated employment experience is understanding what really matters to employees.

Findings from Aon’s Inside the Employee Mindset study, a survey with more than 2,500 respondents in companies across the U.S., tell us that employees view a workplace that is fun, flexible, and full of opportunity to be a differentiator when compared to their experiences with current employers.

Employees also have clear expectations when it comes to the work experience—and those expectations aren’t being met. In fact, 80% of employees see complete and honest communication as an expectation (not a differentiator) in the work experience, yet one-quarter of employees want to see improvements in this area. And 77% of employees view recognition as an expectation, yet it’s the second-most desired improvement area (behind pay and benefits).

Companies have an opportunity to create a differentiated work experience by focusing on three key areas.


Employees are looking for more balance. In fact, 37% view a flexible work environment as a differentiator at their current employer—second only to fun. Flexibility is also ranked as a top improvement area—especially among women. In many cases, employers simply aren’t communicating or educating managers and employees about work/life programs. In other cases, employers may need to take a fresh look at their approach to ensure its meeting the needs of a multi-generational workforce.

Career Development Opportunities

Career and/or development programs are among the areas employees view as important from all perspectives: influential in first attracting employees to employers, a differentiator, and an improvement area. The payoff for greater focus on well-designed, well-delivered, and well-communicated career development is significant: Employees who view career development/training programs as competitive are 2.7 times more engaged than those who don’t. This requires a focus on formal programs, on-the-job opportunities, and manager/leader skill-building.

Open Communication

Employees have diverse needs and preferences for communication, so it’s important to leverage multimedia communication methods and contemporary marketing techniques (e.g., content marketing, social media, and user-generated content) while addressing the needs of difficult-to-reach segments of your population, such as production, remote/virtual, or mobile employees. Finally, building communication competence among leaders and managers so that they can engage in meaningful dialogue with employees will ensure that your work experience truly stands out from the rest.

This article from Aon was reprinted with their permission. Aon is a sponsor of the IABC World Conference. Download the full Inside the Employee Mindset report here.

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