Best Australian Employers in 2012

by A Guest Author

BRW recently released its yearly issue on Australia’s top employers. The actual list is compiled by another organisation, Great Places To Work, which evaluates businesses all around the world. Before looking at the results, I think it’s important to note that in order to be considered eligible for the list, companies must apply and, presumably, pay a fee. They must also have at least 35 employees and have been in business for at least two years. They’re evaluated via a “rigorous” employee survey (though it takes just 15 minutes to complete), followed by a “culture audit,” which looks at employee demographics like turnover and tenure, perks and benefits like superannuation and holidays, and gives the employer a chance to share their philosophy on hiring, communications, etc.

What makes a good employer?

According to Zrinka Lovrencic of Great Places to Work, trust is the name of the game. The best employers work hard to build trust with their employees, not through dry company policies about teamwork and communication but through concrete action that shows they care for their employees, their community and their environment. Simple perks can reap huge rewards. Employees gush about free iPads and Krispy Kreme donuts. More significantly, perks like paid maternity and paternity leave score big. Small details like having your birthday off or working from home one day per week seem to increase loyalty from employees. Employers show trust by being accommodating with staff, flexible with hours, job-sharing and remote work agreements.

The highest ranked employers encourage innovation. Gooogle Australia, for example, allows employees 20% of their time to work on their own ideas and products. At Swabb Attorneys, managers and legal staff are provided with iPads to encourage innovation. E-Web Marketing employees enjoy 250-300 hours of paid training every year.

Who’s on the list?

Information Technology companies dominate, making up half of the top ten, with OBS taking the title. Eleven others also made the top fifty. It’s no surprise that the ratio of jobs to applications at these companies is very telling. Google receives more than 35,000 applications per year, though they have just 600 employees. OBS received 4100 applications and employees just over 200 people. Other IT companies report similar stats. Most are small-ish companies with as few as 35 employees (the cut-off rate, I might remind you) and almost all report office whimsy like company bowls tournaments, “lymphasizers,” and karaoke machines.

Who’s not on the list?

Five of the top ten employers have less than fifty employees. The biggest business to make the list was Ernst & Young, who at 4652 Australian employees are the only employer with more than 1000 employees to make the list. Perhaps it’s because the level of trust and personal attention simply isn’t possible when a business is juggling such a high number of employees? Big businesses are notoriously inflexible because they rely heavily on their internal policies to keep things running.

I’d like to know which qualities you appreciate in an employer. If you could change one thing about the way your employer does business, what might that be? Do smaller companies rule? If they do, imagine how this list might be blown wide open with a study that included employers with less than 35 employees.

About The Author:

Amy Knapp is a business blogger based in Sydney, AUS, writing regularly for InsideTrak. Educated in Law and the Fine Arts, her work champions the marriage of the creative and the corporate. Follow her on Twitter @JoyofWords.

This post was written by A Guest Author

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