Why and how to attract & retain talent

18 November 2020


A company most valuable resources are its people, hiring the most productive and talented employees should therefore be your main goal as a business owner. Superior talent is 8 times more productive than the average performer. This means that your company’s complex development plan that would normally take 3 years, would be done in under one year, if done by the right, high performing talent. Although these high performers are generally more expensive, consider the other resources such as time and effort that they are going to save your by handling the job in a timely and effective manner.

Talent expense is however not the problem, it is finding them. Because talent is scarce. One out of three senior leaders experience finding talent as their most significant managerial challenge. HR managers find themselves putting a lot of time in creating vacancies, screening candidates, recruiting, and so on, without effectively hiring that needed talent.

You might think that if companies know that the search for talent is difficult, they would know how to cope with this problem. This is however not the case. 82 percent op Fortune 500 executives do not believe that their companies are hiring top talent people, 14 percent know who their high and low performers are, 7 percent retain high performers, and only 3 percent develop people quickly and effectively. In other words, most companies are not getting it right. Especially for retaining top talent the situation might even become worse, since the Baby Boomers, described as company loyal, are maturing from the workforce and being replaced by Millennials, who are known for their job-hopping.


Although these situations make finding and retaining talent a challenge, there are some ideas to cope with them. The first one is focusing on the employees that deliver the most value. Most of the time organizations do not know which employees should be valued most, you might think it is either title or salary based, and it can be, but do not forget about mid-teer managers who might be responsible for leading their team to operational success, or machine engineers vital to keep operations going.

Second is the need for talent to obtain more than tangible rewards for their effort. Only 76 percent of employees are satisfied when offered great rewards. However, 81 percent values a great job and company as more satisfying. The largest satisfactory factor are great leaders as cited by 89 percent of employees. As a company you want to tap into the inspirational, supportive, empowering leadership skills that employees value to retain their talent.

Last is the growing importance of technology in finding talent. HR Software systems using machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to scour databases, job boards, LinkedIn, and many more to find that talent. It takes away the easily automated processes in recruitment but cannot take away the whole process: “the world’s best chess players are neither computers nor humans, but human teams playing alongside computers.” Adding that technology factor and combining it with the human, recruiting talent will become a less resource draining activity.

Source: McKinsey