Yes, You can Have Dream Employees: Here's How

HR leaders discussinig employee benefits; Dream Employees

What's the definition of Dream Employees? There are several things we know from our research of more than 4000 full-time employees from across industries.

Here's what might not surprise you about these star employees:

  • They self-rate high on job satisfaction
  • They self-rate high on quality of work
  • They enjoy and are inspired by work
  • They find meaning in their organization and their job
  • They have great relationships with colleagues
  • They're more likely to be at upper levels and ready to advance
  • They report better health
  • They report about a third more energy for both work and personal responsibilities

Here's what you might not have guessed:

  • They can be young or old
  • They're not just upper salary levels
  • They don't work more or fewer hours
  • They're not a specific length of tenure
In other words, they could be anyone.

What Sets Dream Employees Apart?

So what's the take away for employers? What is it that sets Dream Employees apart? In short...it's a lot about the company.

What we know from research is that a very small subset of employees (8%) fit the top "Dream" profile; but nearly all (96%) of them say they working at what they consider to be Dream Companies. That tells you a lot. And it's further emphasized by what they say about their workplaces.

High functioning Dream Employees rate their supervisors consistently higher than others. They're more likely to say they feel comfortable bringing up personal or family issues with their supervisor, and that their supervisor truly cares about the effect of work on personal lives. Additionally, they say supervisors open regular conversations about career goals; they recognize accomplishments, and give fair appraisals of work.

They're also seen as ethical, supportive, and committed to an atmosphere of trust in which employees feel comfortable being honest about things like missing work for personal reasons. And company-wide, Dream Employees give high marks to their employers for things like effective communication, productive meetings, and receptiveness to employee input on procedures and job performance.

In short, Dream Employees are blessed with organizations they feel truly care about employee well-being, and supervisors who support them both at work and as whole people with priorities outside the office.

Want Dream Employees? You Have More Control Than You Think

This all matters because it indicates a wide swath of territory employers can affect. If money were the sole condition for creating top employees, your only response would be across-the-board raises. But data show that's not the case. So while you can't affect an entry-level employee's need to come in at entry level responsibility and salary, you can create the conditions for that employee to thrive in the experience at that level and want to advance. The rewards are employees who see a future with their employer, as evidenced by the fact that 95% of Dream Employees told us they expect to be able to achieve long-term goals with their company.

The short story is that people told us what ignites employee passion for a company. And the rewards for becoming a Dream Company are more Dream Employees, and an overall workforce that's more engaged, committed, and likely to build careers with you.

The message to employers then is pretty clear. While the data about Dream Employees may not be surprising, what might surprise you is the power you have to create them.
three happy employees working together

How to Become a Dream Company

Find out why becoming a Dream Company is important and how to become one.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

Bright Horizons logo on yellow background

The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.