Overcome Talent Attraction and Retention Challenges

by: Courtney Van De Burg

One topic brought up in our Mastermind groups this week centered on the difficulty of small to mid-sized businesses having to compete with large corporations in attracting talent. This is a topic for us all as labor shortages are happening across nearly every industry. If you have more to share on the topic, please send us your comments and keep the conversation going.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management over 40% of employees are or intend to look for a new job this year. That’s on top of the current shortages that are expected to continue throughout the year. Mid-sized firms used to be able to offer more flexibility, but with remote and hybrid work becoming the new norm it no longer offers the same ability for them to differentiate themselves.

We are seeing increased salaries being offered to new talent and while pay and compensation are still an important factor for candidates, it is not the only factor to consider. We are going to explore alternative solutions for attracting and retaining talent in today’s market.

Attracting Talent

In the wake of being hit with the pandemic, we are seeing changing employee expectations and increased interest in other aspects of workplace settings that are affecting what employees are looking for in a job. Following the last two years, many employees are re-evaluating their careers and shifting toward opportunities that allow for better work-life balance. They want to feel valued in their positions and find jobs that offer more meaningful work. It’s time to assess your employer value proposition. Here are some solutions to consider:

  • Offer benefits more tailored to the current needs of the workforce focused on work-life balance
    • Health insurance is still critical, but consider mental health and wellness benefits as well
    • Look into “extras” that appeal to employee wants and needs, such as benefits that help with childcare or eldercare, remote work, flexible schedules, PTO, bonuses, etc.
  • Identify opportunities for employee growth, career advancement, and personal development
    • Provide growth paths with robust training and leadership programs
    • Offer educational benefits, including certification programs or tuition reimbursement
    • Consider access to career coaching, counseling, and mentoring programs
  • Create job postings that are more transparent, highlighting the “extras” and the culture
  • Expand the talent pool and increase inclusivity when seeking candidates.
    • Remote work opportunities and flexible schedules allow for wider reach
    • In positions where it makes sense, consider limiting degree requirements, focusing more on experience, ability and fit
  • Modify your screening process for candidates to improve recruitment efforts
  • Focus on corporate responsibility and demonstrating your social interests that allow candidates to seek meaningful work that is more in line with their own interests and values

Retaining Talent

One employee leaving can have a costly effect in your business from company morale to a loss in productivity. Remaining employees may find it difficult to perform at their best, especially if taking on extra work to overcome the staff loss. It is estimated that having to replace an employee can cost six to nine months of that position’s pay in recruiting, training, and production loss. That makes retaining your talent just as critical as attracting new talent.

Company culture plays a major role in retention as studies indicate that nearly one-third of employees that voluntarily leave their job to do so because of the culture. Employees want to not just enjoy the work they do, but also the people that they work with and the setting they work in. A greater emphasis needs to be placed on creating a culture better aligned with employees’ needs.

  • Create a welcoming, inclusive environment
    • Examine your onboarding process and training protocols
    • Consider not just race and gender, but identity and orientation as well
  • Encourage team building that fosters trust and camaraderie
  • Get your employees involved in creating the ideal workplace setting
    • Don’t assume you know what employees want, ask them, and offer opportunities for their feedback and involvement (beyond an annual employee survey)
    • Develop open lines of communication that allow for dialogue, interaction, and feedback
    • You must follow through on their feedback though, which in turn can increase employee engagement and job satisfaction
  • Consider upskilling or reskilling your current employees to help meet your changing business needs, while presenting employees with interesting new challenges that develop their talents
  • If an employee does leave, conduct an exit interview to identify gaps between employee needs and the culture provided
Keep in mind that engaged employees are not only more loyal but experience a higher level of job satisfaction that leads to increased productivity and less turnover. They find more meaning in their work and provide better customer service, helping to create satisfied, loyal customers.


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