Employee Retention: Why Keeping Good Talent is as Important as Finding Good Talent


In business, success is winning over clients and retaining them. In human resources, the same can be said when it comes to hiring talent and retaining talent.

A good hire brings needed bandwidth along with new energy to a business. A new hire can also positively impact the organization’s workload via their engagement. It’s one of the most tangible ways that human resource professionals add value to their organization.

Unlike equipment and supplies, management of a new hire’s engagement makes a big difference in whether your new hire will make effective contributions. Without the right engagement strategy, all your efforts spent on recruitment may be lost if your star talent walks out the door.

Some organizations manage to run their businesses despite constant attrition of talent. Even in those cases, leaders realize they have to spend time and money in development to continually cultivate the next generation of talent.

If your leaders are unconvinced by the merits of establishing engagement and employee retention strategies, read on. Constant hiring and training doesn’t have to be your only path to HR success and there’s a great return to be had if HR takes the lead in designing processes to retain the best talent.


Think back to the last time you brought a new hire into your organization. Company provided training programs and materials may have kept that person fully occupied for days or weeks. After that program, your next step would be to train that person in their department’s procedures, policies and methods.

In complex companies and jobs, this process may take weeks to complete from beginning to end. During that time, productivity suffers as HR professionals, managers and peers help the new person get up to speed. If you have a well-designed onboarding program and a good hire, those investments are worth the effort. However, there is a limit to how much employee time you can redirect to training new hires. If you exceed that limit, your ability to perform successfully will take a hit.

To help evaluate your current onboarding and subsequent employee retention, consider the following questions. Is your company losing productivity due to excessive training of new hires? Can you name more than two people who resigned after less than twelve months on the job? Are your co-workers complaining about having to put in longer hours because their work responsibilities are being neglected due to constantly training new staff? For additional context, consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics for trends on job openings and turnover. You’ll note that some industries like retail tend to have relatively high turnover rates.

employee retention 

employee retention

Enhance Your Recruiting Power With Highly Engaged Employees

Recruiting and retaining good talent is never easy –  especially in high demand areas like management, sales and technology. That’s why more and more organizations rely on current employees to provide referrals. However, Gallup research has found that a large percentage of employees are disengaged at work. This means they’re unlikely to “go the extra mile” to “sell” or proactively suggest that their friends apply for jobs. So what can you do to enhance your employee power? Fortunately, you can go a long way by following a few simple best practices.

Remove Employee Irritations

Provide a reliable way to take in employee feedback and remove irritations from the work environment. For example, if employees raise an issue about the cleanliness of their working environment, you will win greater engagement if the organization responds in a meaningful way.

Collaborate on Employee Goal Setting

To increase employee retention and results, provide employees autonomy in how they define and achieve their goals. For the best results, appeal to the individual’s long term career interests – e.g. assign them a new employee to mentor if the person has a long-term interest in management. 

Provide Managers With A Variety of Recognition Tools

Tangible recognition programs add value but it is important to use a variety of methods. As HR professionals, design a “menu” of options for your managers to use such as employee of the month programs, annual rewards, gift certificates and bonuses.


Read Dan Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, for additional detail on how to create a highly engaging work environment. If you are short on time, watching Pink’s brief TED talk is also helpful.

Next Steps

All committed professionals invest in their continuing education to identify new opportunities, reinforce value and remain competitive. This responsibility is even more important in support of HR leaders who often advocate for training dollars and programs inside their companies.

To continue your professional development on the topics of finding great talent and retaining it, head over to SHRM Atlanta which is offering several courses including the following three:

1. Recruiting as a Partnership

Finding the best candidates is a tough challenge. You owe it to yourself to win every advantage. In this educational session, Gerald Stover explains how to creatively use job postings, onboarding, orientations and other strategies to improve recruitment.

2. The Catastrophic Cost of Quitting

Ben Fanning presents the three hidden costs of quitting and a new way to approach the “leave or stay” decision. Leaving a job behind is a major decision – Fanning will give you a model to walk you through the process.

3. ROI by Design

Presented by Dr. Laura Paramoure, this session outlines alternative designs to measure return on investment of training initiatives and allows mid-level and senior HR professionals to capitalize on current best practices. If you’ve ever wondered if you are collecting the right data about your training, consider this session.

While employee retention is the most tangible way to measure HR management performance, you can quickly check to see how your workforce is ranking overallwith the nextSource workforce optimization calculator. If you are attending SHRM-Atlanta 2017, also be sure to see us at Booth #217!

More Articles