Four Ways to Retain Great Talent

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For the last two years, the market has changed to a buyer’s marketing -employees have more employment options. This is great news for employees, but a challenging outlook for employers trying to hang onto a steady workforce.

In the past two years, we have experienced a decline in unemployment, but more than 31% of employees quit their job before the mid-year.

Here are a few things to evaluate to determine if you are competitive in a buyer’s market:

Salary and Benefits

A recent Glassdoor survey of HR professionals, recruiters and hiring managers found that for 45% of employees who quit, the top reason is salary. Exit survey results showed the other reasons included career advancement opportunities, better benefits, and location.

Hire the Right Candidate

As a recruiter, it is deflating to do the work to present the right candidate, and the hiring manager decides to go with a referral from a “friend-of-a-friend. The person stays for a few weeks, decides to leave and the requisition ends of with you to fill again. Are you honest about what you expect of the new hire?

Retention starts with being objective about the position, skills required to perform the work, and doing an assessment of a set of traits that are needed to be successful. Often, when we hire referrals, we don’t assess for a right fit, but rather to do a soft interview and then make the job offer. Are we surprise when the employee leaves?

Build Rapport

Building rapport and excellent communication skills are imperative. When the manager appears to be aloof or indifferent, the impact is employee disengagement. If an employee feels disconnected, it is easier to continue a job search to find an employer who is a better fit for them.

Be A Leader Not a Boss

Most people in management are a boss, but most employees want a leader. Seldom does a boss have these five qualities Jack W. Wiley mentioned in his article on employee retention and five characteristics of a leader:

  1. Clear direction towards the future. Good leaders let employees know where the company is headed. Bosses don’t share information and leave employees wondering if there’s good or bad coming down the pipe and if they should be concerned.
  2. Able to handle challenges. Leaders handle the many challenges that come their way instead of intentionally or unintentionally offloading the stress onto the employees.
  3. Genuine desire to offer high quality. For both customers and employees, good leaders offer the best products, services, and experience possible. Bosses are almost behind the curve, scrambling to meet the minimums.
  4. A belief in the importance of people. Good leaders consider employees their most important asset. Bosses are focused on numbers.
  5. Inspires confidence. Good leaders make employees feel confident about their ability to lead them to a good place. Bosses tend to inspire passive-aggressive frustration as employees question the decisions that have been made that have affected them negatively.


Employees want to belong. When they are passionate and care about the impact their work has on their immediate community and the world, they become a positive messenger for thebrand.

While every employer has to evaluate what they can pay in wages and benefits, being honest and upfront with the employee helps to have a conversation that is more about money.

Finally, when competing in a highly competitive job market, it’s important to, instead of getting in an unwinnable wage bidding war, remember employees want more than a paycheck.

Renzie RichardsonFour Ways to Retain Great Talent
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