What Does an Authentic Employer Really Look Like in 2020?

“Employer authenticity” has become another buzzword, like “enterprise” and “organizational shift.” Nobody really knows what it means, not for sure, but it doesn’t mean the concept of authenticity isn’t an important one. Research shows that workplace authenticity — in other words, companies who are authentic in their values —makes an employer more attractive to employees. But how exactly does a company come across as authentic? What does an authentic employer actually look like in 2021, and beyond?

At Projections, Inc. we feel that it is essential to be as authentic as possible when it comes to your culture, values, and your employees. The key to becoming an employer of choice includes transparency and strong communication, among other things. We’ll cover the key qualities that make an authentic employer.

Authentic Employers Communicate

Communication is the most significant hallmark of authenticity. Employers who communicate openly with their employees come across as authentic. It proves they care. 

Authenticity through communication doesn’t mean sending out email newsletters to employees every couple of weeks or posting notes on the office noticeboard. Sure, that’s communication, but it’s not authentic engagement

True communication is about listening, as well as speaking. It’s a two-way thing, between the employer and the employee — a dialogue, not a monologue; a conversation, not a confrontation. 

Corporate communication is one of the best examples of authenticity in the workplace — and employees crave it more than any other quality. Still, it rarely happens: Fifty-seven percent of all employees say they do not receive clear directions from employers. In comparison, sixty-nine percent of managers don’t feel comfortable communicating with employees in general. 

“Communication in the workplace is one of the signs of a high-performance culture,” says HR Technologist. “However, effective communication occurs when a message is sent and received accurately. In every aspect of life (both professional and personal), effective communication is important to success and happiness. Effective communication in the workplace is central to all business goals.”

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Authentic Employers are Transparent

Transparency is another quality that employers look for in an employer. The problem is that “transparency” sounds very corporate, but it essentially means honesty — a very attractive quality that people look for in both their professional and personal lives. 

Transparency, or honesty, is the number one factor that determines happiness in the workplace, according to several studies. It makes employers appear more authentic — more genuine, more vulnerable, more “real.” Transparency proves that the company doesn’t just care about revenue or profit, but it has a strong culture. The company doesn’t hide from its true nature and upholds its mission and vision. 

“Building happiness and engagement through transparency means updating the entire company, regularly, on strategies and current events,” says Forbes magazine. “Sharing your vision for the future helps everybody feel like a more vital part of the team, with a deeper connection to the work.”

Again, this goes back to communication. Transparent employers communicate openly with their employees, even if it’s about something bad. They are honest, up-front, and keep employees in the loop, which always provides peace of mind. Communicating both positive and negative builds trust and showcases real authenticity. 

Authentic Employers Foster Teamwork

It’s critical that employers exemplify a strong sense of teamwork. It requires the employer to be open to hearing different opinions and points of view from employees. Employees who feel that their voices are heard and their questions are being heard, will not only be happier at work and more engaged, they’ll be less likely to go job hunting elsewhere.

In today’s business environment, teamwork is more important than ever. The only way to achieve company goals and reach new levels is to foster this sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Companies that promote collaborative work are five times more likely to be high-performing than those that don’t, according a 2017 study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity. It’s no secret that an authentic employer places a strong emphasis on teamwork.

Other Qualities That Showcase Authenticity

  • Integrity. Authenticity demonstrates strong moral principles based on integrity. Authentic employers have integrity in spades and aren’t willing to sell out employees for profit. 
  • Virtue. Similar to integrity. Authentic employers have high virtues and values, and this trickles down into their workplace culture. 
  • Natural. Authentic employers don’t “fake it.” When they communicate, it’s natural, not contrived. Conversation flows without being forced.
  • Expertise. Authenticity signifies a level of depth that not all employers have. This depth of knowledge often separates the authentic employer from the not-so-authentic employer.
  • Caring. Authentic employers care — about employees, vendors, charitable causes in the community. 
  • Confidence. Authentic employees make employees feel confident about the future of the company and their employment.
  • Uniqueness. Authentic employers are unique — different from the rest. They make their companies a desirable place to work. Employees benefit from this authentic culture.

Final Thoughts

Overall, an authentic employer is one that has strong values and cares about and respects their employees. They are transparent in their goals and vision. They place communication and teamwork at the forefront of their priorities, and have integrity, and care about their employees deeply. At Projections, we believe in being an employer with authenticity in everything we do. If your organization is in need of a custom solution, leadership training, or HR guidance, we’d love to help you become an employer of choice.

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About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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