How to attract and retain top talent?

By: Mariam Khan

It’s no secret that finding and keeping top talent is crucial to a company’s success. After all, an organization’s strength is determined by the combined abilities of its workforce. So, how do you find and retain top talent? Together we have lived and worked through a uniquely challenging time in human history. The coronavirus pandemic has changed – and will continue to change – our behaviours, values, and the way we work. It is reported that 2.2 million adults are considering a career change in 2021 – almost a quarter of the workforce. This report underlines how critical excellent talent management is for businesses. If organisations wish to remain in step with evolving employee attitudes, they must get serious about how they attract and retain top talent.

Having purpose at work is something too often overlooked by management. Employees want to feel as if the work they do is making a positive contribution to society. The pursuit of purpose is especially true of millennial talent (more than half of the global workforce). 83% of millennials say that they would remain loyal to a company committed to corporate social responsibility. Understanding why a business exists and communicating this to employees is crucial. A clear and definitive value proposition means more than almost any employee perks you could offer.

A focus on purpose and value should extend to employee incentives. Staff parties, free coffee, and discounted gym memberships might have been tempting before the pandemic. But now, they just won’t cut it. Employees are increasingly seeking peace of mind over perks. Creating a positive company culture, investing in career transformation, and providing employees with learning opportunities to be competitive, and you’ll have empowered workforce.

More than half of employees told McKinsey & Company that they want more flexible working, with mental health being their top priority. Cary Cooper, the author of Flexible Work, adds that support with finances and personal development opportunities will be critical post-COVID. Companies should develop a suite of employee incentives that offer genuine value and address these concerns. Perks are no longer a quirky recruitment technique. They are an essential consideration for attracting new talent – and keeping current employees happy.

Three-quarters of candidates said that their perception of an organisation is affected by the recruitment process. Even if your business is attractive to new talent, an unsatisfactory interview or onboarding experience could mean they choose to work elsewhere. Organisations should ‘think like an employee’ when developing a recruitment pipeline. This means publishing definitive job descriptions and sharing how applications are assessed. It means offering flexible interview options and understanding that candidates have different access requirements. And, yes, it means sharing the salary for each role. Saying that compensation is ‘competitive’ is no longer enough for applicants. If a wage is genuinely competitive, it does not need to remain a secret.

Above all, employee retention means businesses must adapt to their current workforce and respond to the changing needs of new talent. In this new world of work, while employers scramble to innovate, research by Sideways6 revealed that 82% of workers already have ideas for how their company could improve. The solution to maintaining an attractive workplace culture is at your fingertips. The answers exist within your current workforce. Think like an employee and listen to your workers. Only then can you cultivate a purposeful, value-driven environment that benefits new hires and existing staff alike.

The writer is the Founder/CEO of MK Coaching and currently working with The Dayspring as Bureau Chief-Washington, DC. She can be reached at [email protected]