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How do the Best Companies Attract and Retain Top Talent?

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How do the Best Companies Attract and Retain Top Talent?

Even with the rise of technology and artificial intelligence, people remain a companies’ most important asset.

Employee turnover is disruptive and expensive. Research shows that, on average, it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to find a replacement. For an employee making €60,000 per year, it comes out to €30,000 – €45,000 in recruiting and training costs. High turnover rates can also impact company culture, productivity, and engagement of the team, in addition to the overhead cost.

So how do the world's leading companies attract and retain their top talent?

Foster a Culture of Innovation

As a company, it’s important to embrace technology, systems, and new ideas to evolve workflow. With so many brands competing for attention, it’s now more important than ever, that creativity and innovative thinking are critical to a company’s success. When employees feel their ideas are valued and they are supported to try new things, they will be more engaged and develop a passion for the brand. Keep in mind, innovation doesn’t happen in a confined box. Building diversity into your teams brings new perspectives that make way for a culture of innovation.

Research studies have shown that 50% of the workforce are not engaged and are simply turning up to go through the motions.

Create Career Paths

Building an organisational structure that allows for career growth takes time and strategy. Being able to show candidates where they can go and how they get there is critical to both attracting top talent as well as retaining them. Companies also need to provide and invest in the right resources. By investing in your employees, you create an environment of support and encouragement that helps employees move up the professional ladder and produce higher-quality work. Common opportunities for professional development include conferences, education classes and training for certifications, but should be tailored to the position and relevant to the individual’s goals.

Promote Your Mission

Younger generations of workers want to understand the “why” behind an organisation’s purpose. The mission and purpose must be promoted from the top of the company and felt in every department. Purpose is what drives us to do great work. Not only does your company need to maintain clearly identified values, no matter their age or seniority, but every employee must understand his or her role in supporting the mission to achieve the collective results.

Allow Career Growth & Opportunities to Thrive

Candidates want to see that there are opportunities for developing within a business, so companies need to prove that they can lay down the resources necessary for professional development, if they do not want to see high staff turnover.

It’s too easy for staff to be taken for granted. To keep people long-term, it’s crucial that employees are helped to play to their strengths.

If a business has a strategic thinker who is extremely creative but can’t write with confidence, it makes no sense for the business to use that person 90% of the time producing reports. If people are allowed to do what they are good at, then everyone gains.

Recognition & Reward

Recognition and rewards need to be both intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation involves doing something because you want to earn a reward like praise, bonuses, or public recognition – or even the desire to avoid punishment. Intrinsic motivation is much more important – it involves doing something because it’s personally rewarding to do. It enables employees to feel they are connected and are important cogs in the wheels, while having autonomy, freedom, and opportunities to grow personally.


Ambitious candidates are keen to know who they will be working for. This includes senior executives, line managers, or anyone with authority. The companies that come top of the list for being sought after places to work show great leadership and exhibit integrity.

In a recent survey held by LinkedIn, a recognisable CEO proved to be a key selling point. Admittedly, not every business leader is going to be comparable to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, but familiarity with a CEO and their thought processes, beliefs and personality traits are all key ingredient for transparency – this makes for a more informed decision by potential candidates.

Put Your People First

The best way to attract and keep top talent is to create a culture where your employees want to work. A culture in which people are motivated, supported and challenged every day. It’s been proven that happy employees work harder, improving personal productivity by 12%, while unhappy employees can be up to 10% less productive. If your employees are happy, it will radiate through the communications with your clients. Happy employees = happy clients, and that’s good for your bottom line.

An issue identified early in the recruitment process relates to the use of a points-scoring system. There will be candidates who can demonstrate their ability to successfully fulfil tasks, or show that they have a particular skill set, but this doesn’t address their behavioural or cultural fit within the business. After all, skills can be fine-tuned and learned if needed, whereas personality traits cannot.