Certified TOP Employer: What makes them so special?

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Certified TOP Employer: What makes them so special?

There are countless companies in the world that can be structured into different sizes and industries. Not all companies pursue the same goal. Yet they all have one aspect in common: they all depend on the performance of their employees. So there is real truth in the phrase “Our employees are our most valuable asset!”. From this, it can be concluded that companies are all interested in the well-being of their employees. Otherwise, employees will leave the company and look for another job. And although in theory all companies aim to be a good employer, some succeed better than others. In this context, Google is one example. Young people who have just graduated from high school and now want to start a successful career often say that they would like to work for Google one day. But the provider of the most widely used search engine in the world is only one of the examples and not the main subject of this article. Instead, it will focus on the factors that make a company an excellent employer, what prizes or awards are available for such an employer, what costs are incurred in the process, and why it is so important to be a particularly good employer in the first place. To work through this agenda, a closer look is necessary. To this end, the text follows a classic structure: In the sense of a deductive approach, the general aspects are examined first before the details are addressed.

What makes a TOP-Employer so special?

In total, there are around 15 factors that should be taken into account when assessing employer attractiveness. How heavily each individual aspect is weighted is a matter for each employee to decide personally, as it is a subjective attitude or perception as to what is important to us in an employer. The following section presents the 15 points in more detail:

training opportunities

Most people want to lead a successful life. For them, this also includes being successful in their professional lives. The prerequisite for this is to continue learning and thus to qualify for higher tasks. The training opportunities offered by the employer play a decisive role in this.

opportunities for advancement

Closely linked to the first factor is the aspect of promotion opportunities. Very few employees start out in the position they see themselves in for the rest of their lives. In order to reach the dream position, the employer should be investigated for future promotion opportunities.

job security

Especially as part of a family, employees need some job security. Not only to be able to feed your loved ones, but also to plan your own life. If the job is insecure or permanently threatened, this leads to worries and fears, which in turn affect the well-being of the employee.

working climate

A good working atmosphere means a pleasant atmosphere between colleagues (and superiors). This point is important because the average employee spends one third of his day at work. If you are surrounded by colleagues with whom you don’t connect at all, your job will be short-lived in most cases.


The location of the company also plays a role. In times of digitalization, when the offer of home offices is on the rise, it is decreasing, but it is not to be neglected. After all, surveys of employees regularly reveal that most employees would prefer to work sometimes from the office and sometimes from home. And in this case, travel to the workplace is an important factor. This also includes aspects such as public transport connections, the parking situation or the immediate surroundings.

corporate culture

An attractive corporate culture should not be confused with a positive working atmosphere. Corporate culture is more about the hierarchies (flat or steep) and the values that the company wants to embody. In this regard, the excellent employer and the applicant must ask themselves before the beginning or even during the employment relationship whether they are in agreement with each other. This point should not be underestimated, as an environmental activist, for example, is unlikely to want to work for a company that is completely indifferent to the climate and the waste produced.

self-fulfillment at work

For some it is more and for others less important: the much quoted self-realization at work. Some employees like to do duty by the book and don’t like to take on responsibility. Nevertheless, it makes excellent employers attractive if they give their employees opportunities for self-realization at work. This includes, for example, allowing employees who wish to do so to contribute their own ideas, or encouraging employees’ talents.

internal communication

In addition to communication among colleagues, internal communication also refers to communication between the manager and the employee. This relationship should be such that both can talk to each other without any problems and without much fear and, if necessary, quickly clear up any open questions.

goal setting

Goal setting is essential for an excellent employer, as the impact of most employees is made measurable through firmly defined goals. In this respect, employer attractiveness increases when the employee is involved in the goal-setting process. The employee should not be presented with a fait accompli by setting a goal for the next month that seems completely unrealistic in his or her eyes.


Regular feedback meetings are standard practice with excellent employers. This is the only way for the employee to know how satisfied his superior is with his performance. So you can already see that this aspect often goes hand in hand with intact internal communication.

remuneration, social benefits and number of vacation days

Of course, the monetary factor must not be neglected. This includes the level of remuneration, social benefits on the part of the employer and the number of vacation days. The structure of the compensation also plays a role. This refers to the percentage ratio between the fixed salary and a variable, performance-based component. At this point in particular, the author would like to emphasize that there is no “one” classification about the importance of this aspect. Everyone has to decide for themselves what role money should play in a person’s life. However, it is also clear that hardly anyone will choose the offer with the lower salary if all other factors are equal.

overtime compensation

All the money in the world isn’t worth anything if the person who has it doesn’t have time to do something with it. To prevent this drama, a fair regulation regarding overtime compensation is important for excellent employers.

Work-life balance

Related to this is the much discussed balance between job and private life. Only if this balance exists can an employee perform well in the long term. For companies, it is therefore important to pay attention to flexible working hours or, if necessary, to set up a company’s own childcare programhealth care

In addition to the classic work-life balance, there are other ways for excellent employers to provide comprehensive health care for their employees. For example, are there subsidized fitness or massage programs in the company? In addition, large corporations often have at least one company doctor who looks after the physical as well as mental well-being of employees.

Social commitment

Social commitment is an increasingly important aspect and can tip the scales. This is because a new generation is currently growing up in which social commitment is gradually increasing again. This also means that an employer’s social responsibility is becoming increasingly important.

What awards are there for excellent and attractive employers?

Top Employer (DIQP) the employer seal of approval

To delve deeper into the topic, this section discusses possible awards for particularly attractive employers. First and foremost, certification as a top employer by the DIQP is worth mentioning. The DIQP is the German Institute for Quality Standards and Testing (Deutsches Institut für Qualitätsstandards und -prüfung e. V.), which has set itself the task of developing various quality seals so that the end consumer has a reliable tool for assessing various everyday situations. As an independent, non-profit association, the focus is actually on the benefits for the consumer.

In order to obtain the seal of approval as a top employer from the DIQP and to ensure the highest quality as well as a comprehensive investigation, surveys are conducted by the DIQP in three steps: In addition to an anonymous employee survey, a survey of employer performance and a management survey are conducted. The last two components are summarized under the term HR interview.

the anonymous employee survey

In this part of the survey, the company’s employees are asked about their overall satisfaction. In addition, it is determined whether the employees would recommend their employer to others.

recording the employer’s performance

In the second step, the services provided by the employer are recorded. This includes, for example, the points already mentioned, such as compensation, social benefits, other material advantages or opportunities for professional development of employees. The data is collected with the aid of a questionnaire and classified on the basis of a firmly defined evaluation catalog.

the management survey

The management survey is about gaining an impression of the company’s mission statement, (sustainable) corporate governance and career opportunities. This step is of great importance, as it is the only way to establish a balance between the needs or demands of the employees and the offers, services and opportunities on the part of the employer.

In addition to the award as a top employer from the DIQP, the seal as an attractive employer from the SQC is also possible. This is another form of award and the methodology is based on another tool for measuring employer attractiveness: the Employer Attractiveness Index. This is made up of six categories, which together lead to a maximum value of 100%. The average value of employer attractiveness according to the Employer Attractiveness Index is about 50.0% and as soon as a company achieves 69.99% or a better result, it can proudly call itself an attractive employer. The categories addressed are as follows:

  • Leadership Style, Communication and Participation.
  • Company performance
  • Economic development
  • Employee appreciation
  • Training, communication & career
  • Working atmosphere and general conditions

What costs are incurred for an award as an excellent employer?

The costs incurred by a company as part of the award as an attractive employer also play a role. In the case of certification by DIQP, they range from 2490 to 4490 euros per company. However, this price can be limited in favor of the companies: if a company “only” achieves a good result in the overall result (or worse, in any case not a very good result), it only has to pay for the survey, which at 290 euros is only a fraction of the total price. This has the sense that the company can refuse the certification in that case and continue to work on itself to dare a new attempt in the future with the goal “very good”. You can find more info here https://www.diqp.eu/arbeitgebersiegel-top-arbeitgeber/ oder here https://www.sqc-cert.de/zertifizierung/top-arbeitgeber/.

Why would a company want to become an excellent employer?

This point has already been touched upon in the introduction: Employees are the most important component of a company’s success. It follows that the best possible performance by employees is needed to achieve the optimum company result. And in order to find the best employees in the first step and retain them in the long term in the second step, an award as an attractive employer is of great advantage. This is because this award sets a company apart from the masses, which do not deserve such a distinction.

Furthermore, such a certification shows a certain appreciation to the employees, if the honest opinion of the employees is obtained and taken into account in the survey. This gives employees a stake in the company’s development, because the certification process reveals certain potentials that a company’s management can tap into in order to increase its attractiveness as an employer. At the end of this causal chain is an increased loyalty of the individual employee to his employer, which in turn leads to a high level of employee satisfaction. And to close the circle, this satisfaction leads back to the best possible performance of the employee, so it is only beneficial for both sides if a company can be certified as an excellent employer!


There is a long list of factors that make a company an attractive employer. In addition to compensation and other monetary benefits, these include above all corporate culture, opportunities for advancement and a healthy work-life balance. The more of these aspects are fulfilled to the satisfaction of employees, the better. However, in order to be not only an attractive but also an excellent employer, a company does not have to overcome major hurdles. Detailed examinations of various areas of the company take place, the costs of which are really manageable for a company at a maximum of 4500 euros. The money spent on the certificate at this point pays for itself very quickly when it comes to recruiting or retaining staff, because we all want to work for a company that we are proud of.