Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty. Your employees should know that if they do the job they were hired to do with a reasonable amount of competence and efficiency, you will support them.

Harvey Mackay, American businessman and author

A news portal article caught my eye yesterday. Gamuda Bhd is the sole Malaysian company listed in Forbes’ World’s Best Employer 2020 list.

According to the American business magazine, the company which has a wide range of activities, namely, construction, oil and gas operations, mining and chemicals, is ranked 44th in its list of 50 companies worldwide.

It’s indeed an honour for the country to have one of its best companies listed in Forbes.

Only eight other Asian companies made it to the list — Samsung Electronics (South Korea – ranked first), LG  (South Korea – fifth), Huawei (China – 14th), Honda Motor (Japan – 22nd), HCL Technologies (India – 30th), Naver (South Korea – 37th), Amorepacific (South Korea – 42nd) and Alibaba Group (China – 50th).

The majority that made it to the top 50 are American companies (22), followed by German (eight), Canadian (three), Swedish (two) and UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland one each.

A total of  160,000 workers from 58 countries who took part in a survey were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their companies to friends, and their satisfaction with talent development, social responsibility, gender equality and their employers’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

I don’t know what your description of a great employer is but I know what a great company or employer should be.

Here are the attributes of a great employer:

• A great company encourages not only suggestions and feedback — good or bad — but also complaints.

• It emphasises internal promotions, giving employees the chance to progress career wise.

• It encourages open communication and informs employees of new developments.

• It minimises distinctions of rank between top management and employees in entry-level positions.

• A great company nips office politics in the bud.

• It stresses employees’
welfare and health.

• It ensures those at the managerial level are well-trained and act as competent mentors to subordinates.

• It stresses quality and encourages employees to have pride in their work.

To me, good salary, annual increment, allowances and perks do not make an employer great. What makes a great employer is employee-engagement — career opportunities and recognition.

Many employees are particular about career opportunities — what the company can offer in terms of career progression. Recognition is very important as it will make or break an employee — in terms of how much it recognises the employees and their contributions.

Great employers are those who believe that their greatest asset is the employees and they are personally involved in developing talent and communicating with their employees, regardless of their rank, on a regular basis.

I have heard of some bosses who are not aware of the existence of some employees or bother to know who they are until something unfortunate

Some even do not bother to grant their employees an appointment, giving excuses that they are busy.

I am fortunate to be working for a company where the CEO talks to employees on a regular basis. He communicates clearly and frequently on the company’s direction, business goals and progress; he gives clear directions and defines the role of each employee.

More importantly, despite his extremely busy schedule, he takes the trouble to personally know each and every one of the employees.

My boss encourages openness and provides suggestions and is hands-on. This is what we call a great employer.

A great company articulates and maintains a unique organisational culture, ensuring that all new employees fit well in the organisation. It provides more opportunities for its employees to develop and grow
professionally and personally.

Talented employees are given the right training and development, and given frequent opportunities to meet the senior leadership.

A great employer is successful in conducting performance management that helps solidify the alignment between employees, company goals and performance expectations.

A strong sense of accountability is created by setting clear expectations. Holding employees accountable for results and recognising achievements instil a great sense of responsibility.

Another attribute of a great employer is his ability to be flexible, which doesn’t mean being caring and understanding when an employee calls in sick or has to leave early due to home commitments. It also means being accommodating and providing the option of working from home.

To conclude, I believe what is also important is a positive work environment. The atmosphere can either make us want to quit or encourage our friends to work for the same company. I am fortunate that all the companies that I have worked for — six in all — are all great companies. The bosses have been great too.