Spokane Journal of Business

Publisher’s Notebook: How does your company rank among recruits, employees?


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In case you haven’t noticed, even with a somewhat slower economy and some noteworthy layoffs by big technology companies, the labor market continues to be tight. 

Some say that’s not likely to change in the near term, due to demographic and societal trends.

Which of course reminds us of the fundamental truth that we always instinctively understood, that to be competitive in the talent market—or more specifically to be able to attract and retain the best employees—we must focus, perhaps with greater diligence and with a longer time horizon, on employee engagement.

Eight years ago, the Journal of Business, along with some outstanding partners, launched a program that helps employers understand how their employees feel and where their organizations stack up in the competition for talent acquisition. 

It’s called Best Places to Work Inland Northwest. Since then, we have recognized many employers here who chose to engage in a research-based survey process of their employees and emerged ranked as Best Places to Work.

Beyond the recognition element—which involves a special supplement in the newspaper and a celebratory event—we have heard from participating organizations that going through the program helps them identify what they are doing well and what they need to improve to be top-quality employers. 

Only good can come from that kind of introspection.

To conduct the research, we hire a national research firm that gathers comprehensive information about the employers themselves and then polls their employees, anonymously and through a collection of metrics, about how they feel about their employer. 

Participation is free, though employers have the option to buy a detailed report about their employees’ aggregate responses.

Based on those surveys, the firm provides us with a ranking of participating organizations, and we publish that list in a supplement to our Oct. 12 issue. We also plan to celebrate those employers at a live event on Oct. 11.

This is a great opportunity for employers, especially those without big budgets that can be invested in employee engagement. Participating employers are eligible to make the Journal’s list of Best Places to Work, and if they do, to also use the Best Places logos on their websites and other promotional and recruiting materials.

They also could choose to buy the optional report from Workforce Research Group, which will detail, in aggregate, employee response data, as well as how the organization stacks up against others in the region.

The deadline for participating is June 2. Signing up is easy, and the research firm will then walk you through the steps, which will take place later in June and into July. 

You can sign up at the program’s website, www.bestplacestoworkinlandnw.com. You also can contact me directly if you have questions, at publisher@spokanejournal.com.

None of this would be possible without the strong support of our event sponsors, which include Providence Health Care, the Inland Northwest Society for Human Resource Management, Bank of America, and Greater Spokane Incorporated.

I strongly encourage you to consider participating in this program. Attracting and retaining talent will always be a focus.

  • Paul Read

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