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A Few Tips to Help Your Organization Retain Top Talent

June 18, 2015

top-talentNo company ever sets out to hire a mediocre employee. Given the chance, every hiring manager with the company’s best interests at heart would choose a high performer versus a low performer. Despite the rigor with which some organizations hire, the seemingly endless assessments, interviews and work samples, a candidate is never guaranteed to be top talent. In an effort to find the best employees, many companies opt to just recruit as many people as they can and then whittle down the list as they go. While this strategy may work from time to time, it is expensive, cumbersome, and very time consuming. Instead, what the modern organization should practice when it comes to hiring high performers boils down to simple quality vs. quantity.

Recruitment vs. attraction

Recruitment can be a long and grueling process. Between advertising, sourcing, and staffing, the premise of having to put forth extra effort to gain the attention of the workforce can be rather off-putting. Very few organizations can attain the lofty goal of being able to hire without doing any recruitment whatsoever, but a more plausible effort would be to focus on transforming your organization into a place people want to work. This helps shift the process of bringing new employees in from a recruitment standpoint to one of attraction, where applicants are knocking your door down for a chance to work there. Implementing changes to your organization’s culture is the first step to becoming a workplace that people are actively excited to be a part of.

Organizational culture

While the atmosphere and environment in which their employees work is becoming a larger concern of organizations today, not as many seem to understand just how big of an impact it can have. Think about a company like Google. Stories about how satisfied and happy their employees make the news constantly, regaling us with tales of free food in their cafeterias, open office spaces, encouraging employees to bring their dogs to work, the list goes on and on. Obviously these types of benefits are not plausible for the majority of other organizations, but the message that they send can be mimicked by any other organization: Caring about your employees pays off.

Prioritize your employees

Making sure that your employees know that they are a priority is key to creating a culture that attracts top talent. This can be done in a variety of ways, from providing above and beyond benefits, offering growth opportunities or continuing education, to giving employees constant feedback and letting them know you appreciate their contributions. Whatever way an organization sees fit to show gratitude to their employees is a good first step. Creating an environment where employees are genuinely appreciated and looked after will have applicants flocking to hand you a resume. And once the top talent is in the door, continuing to improve the ways in which you keep your employees satisfied will lead to retention of those same high performers. Adjusting your organizational culture can seem like a daunting task, but taking steps to invest in your employees and realizing that they are your greatest asset is one of the best things you can do.  

Quality over quantity

Organizations often say they can’t afford to hire the best employees, but if you focus on hiring a few great employees, rather than a ton of mediocre ones, you’ll save money in the long term. Turnover is expensive. Plus, those great employees are going to be more productive than mediocre ones. If one great employee can do the work of two mediocre employees, you’ve saved your organization some money. If you’re really committed to hiring the best employees, ensure that your hiring process is consistent and able to identify high vs. low performers. One way to do this is to focus on hiring employees who "fit".


Those are just a few tips to help retain top talent (Here are a few more if you're interested). Make sure that your hiring process is focused on hiring quality employees. Once they’re hired, let all employees know that they’re a priority. This can be done by cultivating a great culture that promotes employee growth. Most importantly though, ensure that your organization is a place that people want to work, before hiring them.

What other tips do you have to retain top talent?

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Greg Kedenburg Greg Kedenburg was an I/O Psychologist with PSI living and working in Chicago, IL.