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attract and retain talent
3 Dec 2021

How to Attract and Retain Talent

The costs of employee turnover are catastrophic. Estimates are $600 billion in 2018 and nearly $680 billion in 2020 (Rogers, 2020). Moreover, ⅓ of that turnover was attributed to unsupportive management and few development opportunities. It seems somewhat counterintuitive to attract talent without retaining it.  

Amidst the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 38% of professionals felt their career had stalled since the start of 2020, jumping to 66% for workers between ages 18-24 (Half, 2020). This article seeks to outline some methods for attracting and retaining talent. 

Talent Acquisition 

We hear buzz words like “soft skills” and immediately think our recruits should already possess these attributes. Correct, they should demonstrate they have the necessary skills required for the position, but employers should promote and encourage ways of working that they want. 

Workers who keep up to date with changing demands, who are adaptable, have technological literacy and have good people management skills are in high demand. It was found that almost 33% of senior leaders regarded talent sourcing as their most significant managerial challenge (McKinsey, 2021). Furthermore, McKinsey also reports that a colossal 82% of companies don’t believe they hire highly talented people. If they do, only 7% think they can keep it. Attracting talent is important. It was proven that the top 1% are 3-12 times more productive depending on the level of complexity of the job role (Hunter et al., 1990).

Reasons for Employee Turnover

Before going into ways that you can help keep your employees happy, let’s look at key reasons for employees leaving their jobs (Half, 2020): 

1) Inadequate salary and benefits

2)Feeling overworked and/or unsupported

3)Limited opportunities for career advancement

4)A need for better work-life balance

5)Lack of recognition


7)Unhappiness with management

9)Concerns about the company’s direction or financial health

10)Dissatisfaction with the company culture

11)The desire to make a change

There is a huge threat to productivity when people leave and substantial costs associated with employee turnover. How can you keep hold of the people you want in your organisation? 

Talent Retention 

The key to a successful employee retention program is to design the strategy with the user (employee) in mind. There is no “one-size-fits-all” for engaging and retaining talent, therefore user-centric approaches should be adopted. 

Value Orientation 

You want to recruit individuals who share the same outlook as your organisation, align their values with your vision and mission (Florentine and Pratt, 2021). This begins in the recruitment process.  

Onboarding Program 

Teach the new hire about the job, but also the company culture and how they can contribute and thrive from the offset. One way to do this is with training and development. 

Training and development 

The key to successful retention programs is employee development. Offer training to employees, understand their needs and give them ideal learning opportunities. Identify growth areas for your employees. 

It was demonstrated that 80% of Millennials and GenZers would leave a company that doesn’t offer development opportunities (Florentine and Pratt, 2021). Employees regard commitment to training as an investment that the company is making in them. It represents a powerful incentive to stay at the company. 

Mentorship Program 

Not just for new hires, but a mentorship program could be of substantial benefit for employees, especially during remote working. It allows them to feel supported within their roles and contributes to on the job learning. 


Having clear expectations and goals is important during the feedback stage. Moreover, set 1:1 meetings with your team, allowing them the chance to have their voice heard. During the meeting, engage in active listening. Repeat or ask for clarification on what has been discussed to ensure a full, comprehensive understanding of what the employee is saying. 

Report back on what the employee has done well and opportunities for improvement. Discuss these improvement areas without judgement and create a plan. Set clear deadlines, think through issues and track personal metrics e.g., SMART goals to measure performance and growth. Talk about career advancement opportunities where appropriate, to align the company and employee future values so they can visualise their future within the company. 

Create opportunities 

Once you know what skills the team member wants to learn, identify opportunities to help them develop! For example, if an employee has said they want more responsibility, look at letting them lead certain tasks and build their management skills. In this way, they can work towards career progression and feel stimulated in their working environment. 

Learning experiences 

This might vary depending on the tenure and experience level of the employee. Encourage experienced professionals to go out of their comfort zones and take an appropriate level of risk when carrying out tasks. A newer employee may require more structure with their focus areas. Either way, push your employees to have dynamic and challenging learning experiences to enhance employee engagement. 


A competitive salary is essential. If you want your employees to put the time and effort into their work, they want to feel valued and acknowledged for their efforts. Review salaries regularly. If a salary review isn’t viable within your organisation, consider other means, such as employee benefits. 

Perks at Work 

Perks can make your organisation stand out. For example, offering flexible and remote working many professionals value. The COVID pandemic has demonstrated that remote full time working is possible. It was found that 1 in 3 professionals would look for a new job if they had to return to the office full time (Half, 2021). Furthermore, 33% of people asked considered paid parental leave a positive bonus. Perks at work are all about boosting employee morale. 

Wellness Offerings 

Similar to perks at work, but focused around employee wellbeing. Keep your organisation fit mentally, physically and financially. The pandemic has increased the need for employers to offer wellness products so their teams feel supported. Check out our Wellbeing Hub to navigate employee wellness areas.

Rewards and Recognition 

People want to feel appreciated. You could set up a formal reward system. Each Person provides the perfect tool to do just that! An employee reward scheme can incentivise great ideas and is available even if your company is a small team or has a budget! 

Work-Life Balance 

Ensure a healthy work-life balance is promoted. Employees need their holiday and time to unwind from work to ensure job satisfaction. Set the appropriate boundaries. If there is a challenging project coming up and late nights are required, maybe give half a day’s holiday, or reward the team with a meal as a gesture to compensate. 

Acknowledge Mile Stones 

Share achievements among your organisation. For example, maybe someone did good work, or finished ahead of a deadline or maybe give them a long service award! Whatever the occasion, share this! One way you can do that is with ecards to say ‘Thank you for your hard work’. 

These are just a select few ways your organisation can attract and retain talent. 

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