For all companies, a key to success is finding the best talent in local markets. In many locations, it’s the local companies that are winning the battle for the best and brightest — even out-competing global corporations that are recognized as some of the world’s most attractive employers. While small businesses may not have any distinct advantages on the surface, other than the ability to utilize hometown pride to attract workers, they can win when it comes to employer branding — or the process of promoting a company as the preferred employer in a region.
Of course, offering great compensation, benefits and work-life flexibility is crucial to attracting top talent. Additionally, local-grown companies are gaining ground as attractive employers throughout the world thanks to their innate understanding of what local workers want. Oftentimes, it’s the unique perks that get the attention of top talent, and what those perks should be undoubtedly varies by location, with reasons including things like locally preferred hobbies, social habits and cuisine. The local employers that know what employees value have a better chance of snagging the best local workers. Hence, these local heroes — or preferred local-grown companies — are able to have a great influence on local labor markets and drive labor market demands. This is something bigger companies must not only realize but also analyze to create ways to compete.
Employer branding requires more than just getting talent into the office; it requires engaging employees every single day. Workers want more than a big salary. They want to see that what they are doing is creating real change and/or contributing to their skills and career growth. A whopping 63 percent of millennial employees, for instance, want to see that their employer is contributing to a social or ethical cause, and 64 percent would rather work at a job they love for $40,000 per year than a boring job for $100,000 per year. Again, local companies and hero employers simply have a better idea of the needs and interests of local top talent, and that makes it easier for top management to lead in a way that stimulates the minds and unleashes the skills of local employees.
Companies like Huawei, a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications company, debuted on the WMAE list at number 57, thanks to the company’s ability to attract top engineering and IT talent, which is showing positive results in innovation at Huawei (the company leads in international patent filings). Other multinational corporations, like Apple, Google and Disney, continue to be a preferred employer because of their ability to engage employees and drive innovation, as well as their image as companies that care about the greater good. Hence, in order to attract, engage and retain employees, you not only have to be seen as a center for growth and innovation but also carry a positive reputation in the world.
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