What makes a company a great place to work? What kind of culture makes candidates line up to get in the door, and what makes a company’s seal of approval so desirable that candidates treat a job offer like a proud life accomplishment?

Every manager would love to elevate her company’s reputation to this level—After all, once candidates are desperate to work there, the company stands to save enormous costs on retention and turnover. And in the meantime, candidates won’t bargain very hard at the negotiating table, since they’ll feel honored and privileged just to be sitting there. So what does it take to reach this point? Here are a few common traits of companies that easily attract the best talent available.

1. They treat candidates with respect.

If you have ten applicants for one open position, then of course you’ll need to end nine of these ten contacts on a negative note. But you can still send these nine people out into the world with warm feelings for the company and plenty of positive word-of-mouth buzz to share. Candidates won’t harbor resentment over an honest, respectful rejection. But they will leave on bad terms (and rightly so) if your interviews are a hostile mess, your selection process seems unfair, or you simply let the line go silent and don’t offer a sense of closure.

2. They treat employees with respect.

This is a two way relationship, and if you want your employees to stay, invest, care, work hard and thrive, you can’t cut corners. Pay them what they’re worth. Give them the resources they need to do their jobs. And when they have an issue, listen and get the problem fixed. If you try to manipulate them, undermine them, or insult them, prepare to lose them. Plain and simple.

3. They treat their customers with respect.

Nobody wants to work for a company that abuses and takes advantage of its customers. It’s embarrassing to be associated with an organization like this. If your employees have to mumble and change the subject at parties when people ask who they work for, you’re doing something wrong.

4. They treat everyone else with respect, including the community, the environment, vendors, contractors, and stakeholders.

There’s nothing better than waking up each morning and working all day for a company that engages with the world in an honest and legitimate way. It doesn’t matter if the company sells health insurance, stamps out belt buckles, or makes labels for soup cans. If the work feels worthwhile and the working environment is safe, respectful, and fair, then the employers are on the right track. For more information on how to make your own company into an ideal place to work, reach out to the staffing and business management pros at Expert.

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