Blue-chip players: Is your company worthy enough to attract the A-list?

Published August 24th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT
A healthy and positive corporate culture, with opportunities for career development are musts to attract A-players. (Shutterstock)
A healthy and positive corporate culture, with opportunities for career development are musts to attract A-players. (Shutterstock)

We often stumble upon magazine features, TV shows, radio interviews and virtual lectures about “what employers are looking for in new hires.” As an employer aiming to hire A-players, regardless of the size or activity of your company, you already know what sound hiring entails, in all its dimensions, including the thorough screening of a candidate’s technical skills, education, background, and professional experience and personality traits.

You are aware of exactly what you’re looking for in a prospective A-player but you are still not entirely assured of finding him/her. Why is it so? Are you the A-employer they are looking for? Does your company have what it takes for an A-player to want to join its ranks?

The answer to this quandary is quite simple: Put yourself in an A-player’s shoes! What could an A-player be looking for in a job / a prospective employer today? The career experts at, the Middle East’s #1 jobsite, share some thoughts below:

1. A company with a vision: Gone are the days of corporate visions revolving around enormous unachievable dreams – it’s all about visions with an attainable focus today, an inspiring (but eventually realistic) and concise vision that gives corporate direction to a company’s founders, executive team, staff and prospective A-players For example, is your company into transportation services? Look at GM’s vision statement for some inspiration: “GM’s vision is to become the world leader in transportation products and related services. We will earn our customers’ enthusiasm through continuous improvement driven by the integrity, teamwork, and innovation of GM people" (notice their emphasis on “GM people’’). Involving your community and staff in your plans will definitely put you ahead of other employers on the shortlist of an A-player.

2. A company with a healthy & positive corporate culture: Employees spend most of their time in the office. No prospective employee would want to spend his day suffering from the repercussions of negative office politics, an unreasonable hierarchy scheme or colleagues he/she does not relate to in any possible manner. A sense of belonging to the corporate culture- as per 31% of Middle Eastern professionals who have taken part in a survey- is a key motivation and driver for employees to commit to one specific job or company. A-players naturally favor an organization with a set of lucid corporate norms and sound values that they can personally respect and relate to.

3. A company that provides Job and Financial Security: It’s not only about the money although money does play a fundamental role when comparing offers from potential employers. A-players are invariably first and foremost seeking some degree of medium to long term job security, a vital commodity that has escaped many professionals in the workplace of late, especially in times of economic turbulence and insecurity. A-players are rarely interested in companies that demonstrate a high degree of volatility in staff turnover and look for companies that provide a healthy degree of career longevity and sustainability for their staff. Fair compensation and benefits also fall under this bracket including a compelling salary, performance-based bonuses, personal (and family) health insurance, retirement schemes and children’s education support.

4. A company that conducts Performance Reviews: A-players are not keen on companies that do not value regular employee job performance appraisals for these are often their principal means to gauge how well they are faring vis-à-vis their daily responsibilities and to discuss and set bigger and better job objectives while simultaneously receiving assistance with directions to achieve them. Regular employee job performance appraisals also offers the opportunity to voice any issues or concerns they are faced with or suggest any additional job tasks they would like to undertake. A-players look for an employer who listens and does not shy away from providing regular constructive feedback, then beefing it up with necessary support!

5. A company that offers opportunities for career development: Does your company foster regular in-house trainings? Fund external training programs for current employees? Organize internal job rotation programs? A-players today, more than ever before, are looking for an employer who is willing to invest in them and support them to advance both personally and professionally: 32% of professionals surveyed in a recent employee motivation survey have agreed that professional growth opportunities are a prime motivator when it comes to committing to a certain job or company. Need to reconsider those career development schemes of yours? Now might be the perfect time for you to call on your HR team!

6. A company that does not shun employee recognition: A company that acknowledges a job well done is a keeper. A-players are often overachieving, innovating, succeeding, exceeding their company’s expectations and maximizing its ROI, and with such a work ethos “over-worked, under-valued” is not a valid or sustainable long-term proposition. A-players instead are drawn to meritocratic companies that have clear reward and recognition schemes and that would provide their employees with a clear public and private boost for their efforts and instill in them a further sense of job loyalty and satisfaction.

7. A company that can show flexibility where needed: Employee ‘’work-life balance” strategies, now more than ever, are hungered for by employees worldwide. A recent survey shows that 91% of working professionals in the Middle East consider work-life balance very important to their personal and professional well-being. A-players are naturally not strangers to this concept. “Overworked, overstressed” is also not an equation they favor. A company aiming to attract A-players is a company that demonstrates a genuine concern for the wellbeing of its staff and an intention to show flexibility where and when needed. Work- life balance does not necessarily have to be illustrated via an extravagant food court, a fully equipped company gym or a quarterly business class ticket/ 5 star hotel company retreat. A company (regardless of its size) that is aware of the importance of work-life balance and its major effects on the morale and productivity of employees can start by implementing basic and clear cut work- life balance strategies which can be illustrated in various ways including flexible timings, occasional telecommuting, 8 hour office workdays, daycare facilities for working mothers, a modest company cafeteria and perhaps even discount rates at a local gym or spa.

8. A company that provides/ believes in mentor/apprentice relationships: A company aiming to hire A-players is a company that invests the extra effort in turning its managers into mentors and then urging them to pass on the power and essence of their mentorship to their apprentices (or subordinates). A healthy, positive and mutually beneficial relationship between an employee and his line manager was deemed a key motivational factor by 32% of Middle Eastern professionals surveyed in’s recent motivation survey. A-players are knowledge seekers, positivity enthusiasts and mentorship aficionados and thus they function best in a company that fosters those practices.

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