How to become a dream employer

Written by: Endouble Endouble

Svante Randlert, Business & People Advisor at Academic Work, and is Sweden's most sought-after leadership adviser and speaker.

Last week, Svante Randlert shared his story at the Employer Branding Summit in Haarlem. His proposition is that organisations need to be people first, results second. By attracting the right people in the market to your organisation and focusing on developing them, this will ensure you are successful. Employees are the biggest factor to success, says Svante. But what exactly is your role in a successful candidate experience?

Business plan or people plan? The answer is both

Svante started with a simple but valid question: “do you have a people plan for 2020”? It turns out that not many companies have one. He stated that your people plan is the who and the how your organisation will achieve the why and the what of your business plan. You shouldn’t have one without the other.

As a company you need to know what competencies your staff need to achieve your business plan. Do you have the right people, in the right roles? Do they know what to do? And perhaps most importantly, do they love what they do?

The business chain

Out of the entire EU workforce, only 7% feel engaged in their role, or engaged in their company’s mission and values. While most companies focus on loyal customers and results as a measure of success, Svante said organisations should focus on engagement. The reason behind this he states is that “loyal customers and business results are a consequence of engaged employees doing their best work.”

So what influences engagement? Leadership does. Managers are the ones who can influence  the level of engagement amongst their teams. Knowing this, managers should focus on engaged people instead of business results.

So what’s the difference between being motivated and engaged? Aren’t they the same? No, says Svante:

  • Engagement is an employee's emotional connection to their organization’s goals, vision and outcomes.
  • Motivation comes from within and creates an inner force that drives individuals to carry out their work and achieve objectives

As a leader you can inspire and create conditions that allow for motivation, but you cannot create it. However as a manager you can foster engagement.

The engagement recipe

Engaged people are the ones who know what to do and love doing it. Satisfied people are neutral - they may like their job, or their team, or the company, but they won’t necessarily be advocates. Svante wants us to stop focusing on trying to keep employees satisfied.

The two most important ingredients for an engaged workforce are energy and clarity. Engaged people have energetic managers who are clear about what they expect. But who are then the right employees for your company? Hire for attitude, train for skills. Skills can be taught, and the skills we need are rapidly changing. Hire people with the right attitude, believe in your vision and who are able to adapt.

Currently, 80% of all the decisions are emotional when we choose an employer. Our decision is very much influenced by the company’s values and purpose. But at the same time many career pages still focus on the rational side, explaining what the company does.

Think about your competitive advantage in the job market. What can you say that no-one else can say as employer? What does the employee not take for granted? It is this that will sell your company like no company mission page ever can.

Tips to attract, engage and develop the right people:

  • Focus on culture, trust and development instead of structure, risk minimisation  and control.
  • You will have a strong culture if you work with the 3C’s: collaboration, contribution and credit (acknowledgement and appreciation)
  • Are you understood by your employees and do you understand them? You need to understand them before you can be understood. So ask them more often questions.  
  • Explain where you are going to tomorrow, start doing employee previews, stop with performance reviews. Stay interviews over exit interviews. Why ask the people who are leaving why the left if you aren’t going to find out why your engaged people are staying.
  • Result is a consequence of performance. Stop measuring result, start measuring performance. Be there, give them credit and the rest will follow.


Svante ends with an interesting analogy: “Relationship development is like making popcorn in the microwave: 20-70-10”. If you want to get the last 10% of your popcorn to pop, it's very likely the rest of it will burn. His point is that we shouldn’t put effort on the last 10%. Take care of those 90% who love you. If you will do that you will attract and retain the right talent.