7 Tips to Becoming a Dream Company

employee wellbeing month

If you're on the hunt for exceptional employees these days (and who isn't?) one fact is abundantly clear - it's tough out there for employers. But some companies have an edge - specifically those that are so high up on the Dream Company scale that employees come looking for them. That Dream Company edge also translates to retention, engagement, and top-notch work.

Is your organization an aspiring Dream Company? These 7 tips can help you get there.

  1. Be Healthy.  Good health equals good work. And people in Dream Companies are 14% more likely to have high satisfaction with their health. That means that giving people a chance to get going - lunch break yoga classes, a subsidized gym membership, bathrooms with showers - can have big payoffs for the company, too. Studies have shown that exercising decreases stress and may increase productivity, so why not give employees the chance to do so?
  1. Be Accommodating.  Life happens. And when it does, employees at Dream Companies say the flexibility to handle unexpected events and challenges avoids stress, and so makes them less than half as likely as employees at other companies to burn out.  Make sure you have open, honest lines of communication, and that managers are communicating down-the-line permission for things like working from home when a child is sick, leaving early for a doctor's appointment, or handling a more serious family situation.
  1. Let Employees Take Control.  Employees in Dream Companies are motivated to produce the best work, and much of that can be attributable to autonomy, control, and the power to do the job the way they feel it should be done. More employees in Dream Companies (versus those not) say they have that power. A bonus: the fact that high work demands paired with low work control has been shown to double an employee's risk of cardiovascular mortality makes putting the kibosh on micromanaging an additional win for everyone.
  1. Help Employees Grow.  Learning opportunities (often valued more than salary and staples at Dream Companies) are retention gold, with employees at Dream Companies substantially less likely than others to be on the job hunt. Feed the desire by giving employees managers who can act as mentors, and showing clear pathways that show opportunities for advancing skills.
  1. Communicate Impact.  Engagement goes hand-in-hand with inspiration. And more employees at Dream Companies (versus non-Dream Companies) say they're inspired by their work. Such warm, fuzzy feelings can come from a sense of purpose and the feeling of value in one's work. The message: make sure employees know why they're doing what they're doing, and that their efforts are making a difference.
  1. Encourage Transparency.  Career growth is essential, and in Dream Companies, 43% more employees say they have room to grow. But it's not enough to know growth is available - people need to see the path to get there. Transparency comes from open and ongoing communication between employees and managers regarding the employee's professional development, career goals, and what he or she needs to do to achieve those goals.
  1. Promote Work/Life Balance.  Employees crave benefits that support their families, needs, and lifestyle. Dream Companies provide them, with employees at these companies reporting access to nine non-core benefits including child care, elder care, and paid parental leave. Ask yourself about the contents of your benefits platform. Then consider conducting a survey of your current employees to see what they value most, as well as what challenges they face that new benefits might be able to help with.

Long story short: if you want the benefits of a Dream Company, you have to be one. Building an accommodating work environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle, gives employees control over their work, and helps employees grow provides benefits that support employees...and the company.

Written by: Jeannie Krill

About the Author

Jeannie Krill at Bright Horizons

As a former Bright Horizons preschool teacher, Jeannie has seen what child care means to clients firsthand. She also offers a view from the Millennials camp, cluing us into what’s challenging today’s largest demographic, and what they really want. She holds a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University.