Keys to Becoming an Employer of Choice

Keys to Becoming an Employer of Choice

This DATIS Blog article was written from the presentation, Being an Employer of Choice, by Eileen Durkin, President & CEO, C4 and Cheryl Croll, VP of Human Resources, C4.  Please view the slides or watch the presentation at your convenience.

Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) is a nonprofit organization that leads the community in providing mental health services to low income adults, children, and families in the Chicagoland area.  C4 strives to promote ethnic and racial diversity in its local community in order to provide services that tackle social and mental health problems that currently exist.  In addition to its commitment to the community, C4 has a commitment to organizational excellence that has earned them the honor of being ranked as one of the Top Workplaces in both the region and the nation. In 2014, C4 has been acknowledged as one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in both the Chicago rankings and the National rankings.

Robert Levering, Co-Founder of Great Place to Work states “A great place to work is one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.”  Much of C4’s success can be accredited to its perpetual nourishment of both internal relationships between coworkers and external relationships with consumers and collaborators.  By focusing on internal relationships, they have created an open and collaborative environment that provides employees with support and guidance when faced with challenges while providing services to their clients.

C4 uses a strategy called, “Leading Through Relationship Levers” which includes the following:

Open Communication

  • Quarterly, annual, and departmental staff meetings are conducted to visually determine what is occurring in the organization.  Updates from the CEO are also provided at each office location.
  • Executives understand that every perspective is important and encourage honest communication provided in a respectful manner.  An online “think tank” is available to share thoughts, ideas, and concerns.  Everything that has been provided will then be filtered and addressed by the executive staff.

Showing Your Appreciation 

  • Public praise is consistently provided from executive and managers.  Incentive systems are in place for employees who meet and exceed performance expectations.
  • All birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated.  A card is sent personally from the CEO to employees.

External Surveys

  • Surveys conducted externally allow you to determine what employees think your organization is doing right and what they think should be improved upon while providing anonymity.
  • They provide the opportunity for external researchers to evaluate the results and determine performance benchmarks against the organization itself in past years and similar organizations throughout the region and the nation.

Improving Work-Life Balance

  • Employees are offered options such as telecommuting, technology tools, compressed work week and flexible hours.
  • Health and wellness programs are provided to promote the betterment of life.
  • Benefits, medical coverage, and incentive plans are provided to all employees.


Successful working relationships within your organization support growth and a positive internal culture.  Providing a supportive and caring environment for your employees helps them develop camaraderie and pride in their work. This creates a more productive workforce that is more proficient in nurturing external relationships with clients.


View the Slides Here and Watch the Presentation Here



Written by Italia Woodson

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