It’s Not Just the ‘‘Big Boys’’ You’re Competing With

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When Tom Creal started his own company—First Biomedical—he had

already given seventeen years of his life to a large company before he was

let go in the fifth of five rounds of layoffs. The big-company environment

had transmogrified into one where employees were no longer loyal to the

company. It was a culture Creal didn’t like. So he decided that someday he

would operate his own company in a totally different way.

He didn’t want to become a father figure, but Creal did want to develop

company loyalty among his workers. He decided he would provide:

Full medical, dental, life and health insurance for the whole family

15 vacation/sick days, with carry-over of unused days

IRAs with 3 percent match and first-day vesting

A seven-hour workday

Free cell phones for employees on call

Free snacks and Costco cards paid for by the company

A new onsite gym

A new incentive-driven wellness program

Open sharing of the company’s financial situation

2 percent of employees’ annual salaries paid any month the company

has a record gross-profit

A year-end bonus of 4 to 5 percent of annual salary

No job descriptions, with the freedom to move on to different positions

Since opening its doors in 1998, this employer of fifteen people has

lost only four, a record that Creal believes has significantly increased productivity

and revenues. ‘‘We started at zero and we’ll be a $3.5 million

company this year.’’21

Whether benefits-driven, culture-driven, or great-manager-driven,

employers of choice choose the right employment branding strategy for

their business objectives. The branding goal they choose is to be known

for having cultures that are both high-performance and high-caring (see

Figure 9-2). High-caring cultures never forget that employees are people,

with basic human needs and widely varying family situations. They know

Figure 9-2.

Your culture equals your employment brand.

High Performance

Low Caring

High Performance

High Caring

Low Performance

Low Caring

Low Performance

High Caring

that their employees want to have time to live rich lives beyond the bounds

of work.

Employers of choice also seem to have the following engagement practices

in common: