5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job

2014-10-30 08:00

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You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. So in conversation with Old Mutual, recently rated the Top Employer in Financial Services and Insurance in South Africa, we have identified 5 of the most important things to help you develop a relationship with a potential employer.

A decision to take up a job is a life changing experience. Therefore it is one of the most important decisions any person can make in their lifetime. For most people it is about finding the right company, the right job, the right team and the opportunity to make a difference. So how do most people make this decision?  Here are the five crucial questions to help you in your decision to join a company.

1.    What matters most?

An attractive company culture is shaped by shared values - particularly integrity and accountability - and the top employers take active steps to ensure their values and their employees’ values are aligned. That starts when you’re sitting in a job interview.

A company that is serious about culture really listens to employees. Whether through surveys, forums or performance appraisals, an employer that cares keeps an eye out for areas that need to be improved and opens up opportunities for reflection and discussion. The point?  To drive positive culture shifts where they’re needed.

2.    What about leadership development?

Authentic, influential and courageous leaders make for motivated employees, as well as trust and belief in the brand.  Change – whether it is customers’ needs, or market shifts – can happen quickly. It is vital for leaders to understand and avoid the risks, and identify opportunities  with vision, agility and speed. That’s what builds a winning, future-fit business. Therefore top employers invest in building great leaders who are visionaries and can adapt and evolve through multiple changes. They keep their teams motivated to strive for excellence. Companies can facilitate this development through development programmes, coaching and mentorship.  Giving strong direction on excellence, role modelling it and also addressing weaknesses is crucial.

3.    Will my hard work be noticed?

Most companies have realised that reward is not just about money. It is about recognising people who demonstrate passion for excellence and make a difference for customers and communities. This can be done in various forms, through performance recognition awards, a training programme, a trip to learn something new, a thank you card or even just a free leave day. It is all about understanding employees’ needs and what motivates them.
4.    What’s my career path?

Companies define career paths in ways that suit both organisation requirements and individual needs. A company that you will want to work for will have a system devoted to mapping out individual career progression opportunities, which is something ambitious Millennials really appreciate. Opportunities for learning can include a wide range of management and leadership development courses and workshops. However, the true value is in learning from on the job assignments that provide the necessary stretch for operating at the next level. This is about encouraging lateral moves rather than focusing only on vertical moves.

5.    Are there opportunities for working in other countries?

If your potential career progress includes the opportunity for international and regional travel, all the better. A global business is a great place to work for, because career opportunities can include secondments and assignments in other countries, job rotations and job swaps. This may be part of fast- tracking the development of talent for future opportunities.

Secrets from a Top Employer

Anisha Archary, Human Resources Director: Old Mutual Emerging Markets, shares their secret sauce as an employer: “Old Mutual’s philosophy is about driving excellence in all we do. This guides our focus on customers, people and communities. Our success is due to the positive and collaborative efforts between our leaders and employees. In essence, our people strategy is directed at delivering on our brand promise to employees to be ‘a great place to work with people who do great things’.

A veteran of 169 years, Old Mutual achieved an impressive record in 2014:
•    Number 1 Top Employer in Financial Services and Insurance in SA (TEI)
•    Number 1 Best Company To Work for in SA (Large Company category by Deloitte)
•    Certified as a Top Employer in Africa (TEI)
•    And recognised as a Graduate Employer of Choice in Financial Services (SAGEA)

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