How can companies retain talent?

Now you’re probably wondering why I would offer advice on how to retain talent. Surely this is not in my interest. I need talented employees to leave or want to leave, so I can present them to my clients who are trying to fill a position.

Now you’re probably wondering why I would offer advice on how to retain talent. Surely this is not in my interest. I need talented employees to leave or want to leave, so I can present them to my clients who are trying to fill a position.


The truth is I also need these clients to retain those candidates after they have hired them. If a new employee leaves within a year, it's hugely embarrassing for me. Moreover, I find it much easier to place a candidate in a company where employee retention is high.


If you think about this it makes sense. Employee retention speaks volumes about how happy employees are at that company. That means the candidates I placed there are likely to stay. It also makes it easier for me to place candidates there in the first place.


Employee retention has become a major competitive advantage


Retaining talent has always been important, but it has become particularly relevant today. Apart from being good for my business which I’ve explained, it can also give a company a major competitive advantage.


If companies can hold onto their talent in this extremely tight hiring market, they can smoothly operate without the disruption caused by employee churn. If their competitors are unable to do this, then they have the advantage.


Certain parts of the business need more defending


These are areas where employee churn is greater and where a company’s fortunes can hang in the balance. If we take a quick glance at the pandemic, one area that stands out is IT.


There’s been an acceleration in digitalisation because businesses had to quickly adapt and invest in their IT infrastructure. They needed to support employees from home, but also take advantage of the technological trends that have impacted their businesses.


IT job growth has therefore, outpaced the number of candidates looking for new positions. The best defence a business can have in this environment, is to hold onto the talent that they already have.


As recruiting talent becomes more difficult and competition is fiercer than ever, the best strategy is to defend and grow. This means holding onto your existing talent, while fighting to bring new talent in.


The employer brand lies at the heart of talent retention


Fighting on both fronts is not easy, but when it comes to managing talent the priority should always be to retain what you have before going out to get more. Many of these can be dealt with simultaneously.


For instance, if a company builds a fantastic employer brand, it will both retain its talent and attract new candidates to the firm. Putting theory into practice is of course challenging. But, there are quick ways an employer can quickly gain the advantage.


For instance, readily embracing flexible working is an easy win for talent retention. I've seen so many candidates looking for new roles because their employer has been overly rigid in their flexible work policy post-pandemic. Ironically, most of these candidates are not lured by the prospect of a greater salary, but rather the flexibility to have a better quality-of-life.


This is where employer brand really matters.


Upgrading employee benefits


The other area which every company should address post-pandemic are benefits. The best HR teams have already completely overhauled their benefits packages to make them more suitable for the post-pandemic world. The reality is that what we want today is not the same as what we had yesterday. We have been liberated from our desks from what was once a 9-to-5 office culture.


Many of us still want to work in the office, but we also want to know that we have the flexibility to work when we want and where we want.


Create convincing career development plans


Showing employees how they can advance within a company is also important. It can distil a sense of hope and optimism about their future. If they can see themselves progressing, developing or even being promoted, this creates a powerful pull factor. This should be the impression given during the interview process, but also to existing employees while they work. To do this successfully, it needs to be supported directly from the leadership of a company.


Workers typically stay longer in a company when they share the company's outlook for the future. If they are aligned with the company's values, vision and mission, they are likely to stick around. The best way to achieve this is to communicate constantly with employees in a personal and authentic way. This means not spoon-feeding visions and values, but rather showing these attributes clearly through strong leadership within the firm.


Ultimately, the best way to keep loyal employees is to make sure you take care of them. This can only be done through strong leadership.