Key Factors in Talent Attraction and Retention


image_06Attracting and retaining the best employees is no easy feat, even for the most experienced HR manager. While the specific details of a contract vary among firms and industries, there are some common denominators in talent attraction and retention.

Get the Compensation Right

Financial compensation is the biggest factor that employees consider when accepting an offer or choosing to stay with a company. Before an interview, research what a competitive salary might be. Once talent is hired, don’t wait to be asked for a raise; increase salary commensurate with skill and dedication so that your employees won’t be lured elsewhere. According to Inc., you should “pay market, or above, as soon as you can. It’s a sign of respect. And most of the best ones won’t ask [for a raise]. They’ll just eventually get frustrated and leave. [1]

Establish Your Role as a Coach, Not a Manager

Forbes writes that HR managers should “try to balance giving…team members the authority, the tools and the space they need to do their jobs – empowering them – and staying checked-in as they execute their responsibilities [2].” The best talent in any industry needs to have the freedom to do well, and good employees shouldn’t feel micromanaged at every turn. Those that have independence in their jobs tend to do well and have the desire to stay with the same employer.

Provide and Advertise Perks of the Job

Small incentives and perks are often not specified along with the more important aspects of an offer like salary or flexible work hours. However, many employees appreciate and notice the smaller touches like free breakfasts on Fridays or complimentary dry cleaning once a week.

Create and Showcase Clear Paths to Advancement

Without a doubt, the potential for promotion is a significant factor in both attracting and retaining top talent. During the hiring process, emphasize the potential for advancement within the company. Then, says the Wall Street Journal, “promote from within whenever possible [3].” This shows employees that there is room to grow, which might discourage them from switching to a new company in order to advance their careers.






Using Technology in Workplace Mentoring Programs


image_22Companies that develop successful mentoring programs link these programs to specific business goals:

  • Integrating new talent quickly into the organizational and company culture
  • Ensuring high performers adapt quickly to increasingly responsible roles
  • Developing company leaders by honing skills to inspire others
  • Creating a diverse workforce at all levels through the development of interpersonal and networking skills

Each of these areas can increase their effectiveness via technology. Whether a particular mentoring program’s interaction model is one-on-one, self-directed or a combination of these, technology has a role to play.

Role of Technology in Mentoring Programs

There are three areas in which mentoring programs are aided by technology. First, mentoring management software assists in finding matches between mentors and mentorees based on job or organizational knowledge, experience and past performance.

Second, social networking software provides high-touch interaction regardless of location and time, which imparts real-time relevance to questions and answers.

Finally, E-Mentoring programs are effective at building a base of knowledge among a large group of new employees or within specific departments. These tools are used to teach best mentoring practices and clarify the roles and responsibilities of participants.

Technology in Reciprocal Mentoring

Technology has a special role to play for cross-generational mentoring situations where the conversation is a two-way street. Younger employees have a natural affinity for social networking and software tools, which they pass on to older employees. The mature employee benefits in return from acquiring new technology skills. He or she then utilizes these skills when providing the younger employee with organizational knowledge and career guidance.

Balancing Technology and the Personal Touch

The use of technology to create potent mentoring programs must not overshadow the underlying purpose: to build meaningful relationships between experienced and less experienced employees. Always ask if a particular technology or the way in which it is deployed expands or hinders that relationship to be sure it is appropriate.

Getting Past Generational Issues in Meetings


image_09With the way that technology has leapt forward in the past few decades, generational issues are growing more and more pronounced. Not only do you have cultural differences to deal with when you have a diverse workforce, but you also have to think about technological barriers. If you really want to make sure that everyone, from baby boomers to millennials, can work together, keep these things in mind.

Try to Involve Everyone

A big part of the reason why people feel alienated is simply because they are part of a group that is not being given equal consideration. Older workers may rely on experience and knowledge, while younger workers focus on being innovative and coming up with new ways to do things, seeing as how they lack that experience. Successful companies need to balance both of these aspects, and neither group should get preference over the other. Clearly indicate that input from both sides is valued equally so that all members of the team feel that they can contribute.

The Simplest Solution is Often the Best

Much of the time, keeping things simple is the best plan for a meeting that everyone enjoys. Do not depend too much on older or newer technologies. For example, having a meeting on Skype so that no one has to leave the office may sound easy, but it can grow complicated for older workers in a hurry. Why not just stick with older tactics of having everyone meet in a central meeting room when possible? This breeds a sense of company community, and it eliminates a lot of the hurdles that you could otherwise face.

Focus on Understanding

To some degree, you must simply realize that older and younger generations are never going to see eye-to-eye on everything. They are always going to have different viewpoints. You need to focus on bridging that gap instead of pretending it does not exist. If you can get each side to understand where the other is coming from and create an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation, cultural differences and age differences are going to mean a lot less. Focus on strengths and how people can work together. Do not focus on differences and things that are holding you back.

Best Practices for Retaining Experienced Employees


image_12Hiring and retaining top talent is crucial to the success of any achievement-oriented organization. Corporate leaders, including HR managers and professionals, understand the staggering cost of employee turnover. Many companies are forced to endure turnover rates in excess of 60 percent every four years. Needless to say, the loss of talented executives, managers and rising stars can make it nearly impossible for a business to accomplish strategic objectives.

Career Development

Employee retention should begin even before the hiring process begins. It’s important to identify the employee characteristics that best fit the organization and position in question. Extensive discussions with executives and managers, exit interviews and regular conversations with current employees can help establish a strategy for making successful hires.

Although it’s true that talented employees are typically interested in furthering their career goals, it should not be assumed that compensation is the only reward they have in mind. Many talented employees move on simply because they’re frustrated with management or they perceive that the company doesn’t offer a realistic path for career advancement. Every HR recruiter should be aware of the career opportunities that may be available to prospective employees.

Achievement and Advancement

Talented employees are more likely to stay with a company that demonstrates an interest in their career goals. Constant communication at every level of an organization is the only way to avoid unexpected resignations. Every level of leadership should emphasize the implementation of a professional development program that includes the career objectives of future leaders. The importance of related training and development for managers and executives cannot be overemphasized.

The career goals of one talented employee may be quite different from that of another high achiever. It’s vital that the leadership of a company create the conditions necessary to prompt an employee to strive for success. While one employee has a desire to occupy the office of a high-level executive, another high achiever may only be interested in high-stakes commission checks. Ambitious employees can’t stand failure. It’s only natural that they keep their future prospects in mind. A professional HR department does everything possible to allow talented employees to reach their highest potential.

How to Hire Motivated Employees



image_18Talented, skilled, dedicated and motivated employees generate an incalculable return on investment for your business. Motivating current employees is hard enough, but it is far easier when your HR department recruits candidates who already show passion and pride in their current work.

Key Traits of Motivated Candidates

Search for recruits who will become engaged with your company by looking for the following characteristics:

  • The correct candidate has a record of initiative and seeing assignments through to the desired result.
  • Their resume displays a tendency to lead, whether through projects, teams, products or industry initiatives. These leadership positions may be technical or managerial.
  • The best candidates intrinsically view problems as invitations to work harder rather than impediments to progress.
  • Even the best employees make mistakes or encounter insurmountable obstacles. In the face of these, motivated employees maintain an irrepressible enthusiasm. Furthermore, they draw useful, positive lessons from such situations.

Are They Looking for Change for the Right Reasons?

Employees can become discouraged with little or no effort on the part of management. Ignoring their efforts, leaving them out of decision-making, using fear to motivate or failing to challenge their creativity are well-known ways to sap employee vigor.

Employees engaged in the company’s business are constantly looking to do more, to take on new projects, learn new skills or find ways to do their current tasks more efficiently. They become dissatisfied when these desires are thwarted or they are not allowed flexibility in how and when results are delivered.

Keep in mind such circumstances when discussing their reasons for considering a change of employers. These provide clues to whether the person feels they cannot spread their wings or that they are simply bored or looking for a larger paycheck.

Start Off on the Right Footing

Once you have identified your motivated recruit and have discussed pay, benefits and working conditions, be sure to uphold your end of the deal. If the employee does not feel that he or she is receiving what was promised, performance may be negatively impacted from day one.


Workforce Planning for Staff Retention



The purpose of workforce planning is to align a company’s workforce objectives with the strategic objectives and priorities of the organization as a whole. It identifies current and future workforce capabilities and provides solutions to meet any deficiencies. An essential component in the workforce plan must be retention policies that target turnover.

Retention Should Be a Higher Priority than Recruitment

Critical turnover refers to the loss of employees that demonstrate the highest potential value to the company. Typical turnover costs are more than twice an employee’s salary, but far higher when the organization loses its most motivated and productive contributors. This is why retention of high value employees should take priority over policies and programs to recruit new talent.

Discuss Misconceptions about Turnover and Retention

During a discussion of retention policies, it is helpful to clear up preconceived notions about turnover and its causes:

  • An employee’s pay level is not usually the primary reason for them leaving. People more often quit because they have problems with their manager or the organization as a whole.
  • Examining the reasons people leave is necessary, but it is equally important to evaluate why employees, especially the most valued among them, choose to stay.
  • Most exit interviews provide scant insight into turnover causes. Departing employees are worried about job references or burning bridges back to the company. Thus, they supply interviewers with non-confrontational half truths about why they are leaving.
  • There must be a distinction made between turnover in general and critical turnover. Retaining the highest performers is far more productive to the bottom line than trying to make everyone happy. Turnover of less productive workers is not always undesirable.

Retention Is a Team Effort

To be successful, it must be pointed out that retention strategies are not the sole burden of the HR department. They must be developed and practiced with the close involvement of management. Managers should be provided opportunities to sharpen their communication and coaching skills and trained to detect signs that good employees are thinking of moving on.

Define Roles and Responsibilities to Deliver Program Requirements


image_25The Importance of Clear Expectations

It is a fundamental function of management to communicate clear and achievable objectives to each member of a team. In fact, the very concept of management is rooted in the idea of overseeing the achievement of those clearly defined tasks in the most efficient manner possible.

The human resources role in developing and defining those requirements is essential. The process of developing a staffing plan and identifying the right personnel for each position involves breaking the overall goals of a company into basic job descriptions. This includes defining the specific skills and experience necessary to fulfill each role.

It is easy to understand the necessity of such role definitions from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective. From the management level, having the right staffing and resources on hand is the first step to achieving any desired task. From the employee’s viewpoint, it is vital to understand exactly what is expected as part of day-to-day performance standards. Any difficulties encountered are often traceable to a failure of these two views to properly coincide.

More Than the Task at Hand

There are several issues related to the clear definition of roles and responsibilities beyond the specific task at hand. Quality and motivated employees appreciate the opportunity to excel and exceed expectations. Without a clear performance baseline, these key players will become discouraged and frustrated. Likewise, it is difficult to hold employees accountable for substandard performance if the expected levels of accomplishment are not clearly spelled out. In fact, the courts make it clear that precise job descriptions are necessary to provide accurate evaluations.

Perhaps the greatest benefits of clear roles and responsibilities are overall morale and productivity. Good team members have a built-in need to understand exactly what is expected of them, and they gain a sense of satisfaction in meeting those expectations. Likewise, management is able to set more realistic objectives and deadlines with the elements of each task supported by the right people on the team.

These steps of defining roles and responsibilities ensure the right level of staffing to get the job done as well as the right environment for each individual involved in the effort.


Developing and Implementing an Effective Leadership Succession Plan


image_29Successful organizations always keep the future in mind. As every good human resource professional knows, a leadership succession plan involves more than maintaining a list of potential replacements in the event that a vacancy should occur. Instead, a comprehensive talent development plan begins at the top. Although there are times when an external candidate is preferred, the commitment of an organization to develop future leaders is a vital part of accomplishing a strategic vision.

Strategic Leadership Development

It’s the responsibility of a human resources manager to educate the leadership of an organization concerning the importance of implementing a leadership succession plan. Moreover, the internal effort to develop management talent should always keep the long-term strategic goals of the organization in view. In this regard, a robust HR department and leadership succession plan can be a CEO’s best friend.

The active involvement of top executives and managers in a succession development plan is vital. Working in concert with HR personnel, existing company leaders are in the best possible position to recognize, develop and review the performance and potential of future talent. Therefore, organizational leaders and HR professionals are actually internal talent scouts.

Moving Up the Corporate Ladder

There’s nothing more frustrating than working for a corporation that fails to recognize the accomplishments of high-performance employees. Losing good people because they couldn’t move up the ladder is a costly mistake. A good executive or manager will work with the HR department to retain talented employees, even if it means transferring the employee to another department.

An HR department should be prepared to respond in the event that a key leader suddenly resigns or suffers a medical emergency. Every company leader should have their eye on someone that could do their job in the event that some unforeseen circumstance should occur. Outstanding executives and managers understand that preparing future leaders is an important part of their job description.

There are countless threads and ripples that work their way through the organization chart of a dynamic company. It is the responsibility of a human resources manager to design a living leadership succession plan that will enable their company to thrive well into the future.

Never Avoid Conflict…HR Conflict Resolution Best Methods



image_20In businesses of every size, conflict is an unavoidable result of close working conditions, stress, deadlines and personality clashes. Just because conflict is routine, however, does not mean that it should be ignored. Doing so can erupt in further tension with dramatically negative results. Instead, follow these tips for identifying and resolving conflict head on.

Recognize and Identify the Signs of Workplace Conflict

Among HR managers, one of the most challenging aspects of resolving conflict is actually recognizing it before it’s too late. Leaders and managers should be able to recognize the signs of ongoing conflict without being confronted with it directly. According to Beth Rifkin, writing for the Houston Chronicle, the keys are regular communication, looking for common or consistent complaints, and holding regular meetings with the entire team or staff[1].

Don’t Address Conflict in the Heat of the Moment

While there are plenty of good times to address conflict, the absolute worst time is when one or both parties are visibly upset. This allows emotions to be pushed to the side and logical discussion to come into play. David Ballard, of the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, believes that, “It’s difficult to have a productive discussion if you and your coworker are angry or upset. Wait until you are both clear-headed[2].”

Understand the WIIFM Factor

WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me, is an important aspect of conflict management that HR managers should be aware of. Conflict arises, generally, because one or more parties feel that they are not getting what they deserve, whether that is fair treatment, recognition or respect. Writing for Forbes, Mike Myatt suggests that, “It is absolutely essential to understand other’s motivations prior to weighing in[3].”

Listen More Than Talk

Leaders and managers are often eager to solve the problem, but listening may produce better results. UC San Diego encourages their faculty to listen, avoid interruptions and rephrase what the other person is saying in order to ensure that their needs are fully understood[4].

Where there is human interaction, there will be conflict. However, these methods can be effective in reducing tension and resolving conflict in the workplace.




Staying Competitive While Retaining the Best Staff


image_12In order to focus on retaining your best workers and staying competitive in the industry, you first need to look at why these employees tend to leave. When you understand what types of issues are forcing them out the door, you can concentrate on countering these concerns, so that employees stay with your company for the foreseeable future. While the myth is employees usually leave for more money, the truth is typically more complex.

To begin with, many employees switch companies simply because they are not receiving the treatment they desire. This might come down to supervisors with poor people skills. If employees feel like their supervisors are always bossing them around, being short and angry with their instructions, and generally adding to their level of stress, they may want to leave that environment even if it means taking a pay cut. In fact, Susan M. Heathfield reported on that “a bad boss is also the number one reason why employees quit their job.[1]” In a case like this, your retention rates could go up simply by replacing that supervisor or instituting new policies that create a more positive working environment.

Similarly, employees sometimes leave because of conflict with other employees. Heathfield also pointed out that “second only to an employee’s manager, the coworkers with whom he sits, interacts, and serves with on teams are critical components of an employee’s work environment[2].” If other employees are aggressive and consistently mean to them, they could leave a job that they actually love because they cannot stand working with that person. The best way to put an end to this is to address it upfront. Look for small conflicts and have management and the HR department work to defuse them before they get serious.

Finally, some employees leave because of a lack of advancement opportunities. This can be tied to money, but it’s not always connected. An employee may take a lower-paying job somewhere else if they feel the job they currently have is just a dead end. People grow bored and frustrated when they do not feel like they are working toward a goal, and Heathfield advises employers, saying that “if you have an employee who acts as if they are [bored], you need to help her find her passion[3].” Make sure that employees always have room to grow and move up in the organization.

Of course, money always has to be considered. If your pay levels are not competitive in the market, you are going to lose workers. However, concentrating on the three keys above can help you retain many employees in the years to come.