Recruitment Simplified - Part VI

This is Part VI in a new series launched through Morrison's People Solutions Monthly, a regular email providing valuable insight into human resources and other related topics. Click here if you'd like to sign up to receive Morrison's People Solutions Monthly email.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

In this, the sixth article in the Recruitment Simplified series, we will begin looking at what it takes to make your organization a place where people want to work. In terms of recruiting, this is often referred to as Internal Branding, and it is a vital element in any people strategy. Internal branding involves the discipline of retaining talent by becoming an organization people are attracted to and want to stay with.  

Attracting and retaining employees is as much a challenge today as it has been in recent memory. As the economy continues to strengthen, companies that refrained from filling open positions last year due to the pandemic are catching up, thus creating a great deal of demand for people. Right now, more than ever, it is important for organizations to focus on being a place that people want to work. 

There are two primary considerations when attracting and retaining talent. In this article we will be discussing the first consideration: why people want to be part of an organization. 

There are three factors that drive an individual’s employment motivation.

Contractual / Psychological / Emotional

Contractual factors are related to what a person receives from the employment relationship. These are the compensation related issues such as salary, bonus, benefits, retirement, stock options, etc. Compensation is very important but it has been demonstrated to be the weakest of the three factors. This is because a competitive salary and benefits package is a baseline to be attained, not an attraction and retention strategy. To use a sports analogy, compensation is the invitation to participate in the tournament, not the competition itself. To compete in the game of employment, organizations cannot rely on the invitation to play, they must employ tactics to win each game in the tournament. 

Psychological factors are concerned with what an employee experiences through their job and are generally considered more significant than compensation. People want to feel good about where they work and want their affiliation with the organization to carry a certain amount of status and clout. Companies with a good reputation will attract quality people. The work itself is also an important psychological factor. Quality employees desire work that is challenging and interesting. Though not every task can be exciting, employees that see those tasks as supporting a larger company strategy will feel a part of something larger than themselves, which can even make mundane tasks more meaningful. This is especially true if an employee understands that their efforts in helping an organization achieve its goals can also lead to opportunities of personal growth and development, including eventual career advancement. 

Emotional factors are concerned with the way an employee feels and are the most important factors in attracting and retaining good people. This includes the emotional experience of making a positive contribution to the greater good. We often think of non-profits in this context, but a for-profit company making a product or providing a service can capitalize on the emotional factors as well. Products and services by their very nature meet a need in the marketplace. Companies that understand and highlight the benefits of their products and services, especially if they work to meet that need in an exceptional manner, can provide employees with the same work related satisfaction as an employee working at a soup kitchen or an environmental lab.

The most powerful emotional connection point is relational. This includes both the relationship an employee has with their co-workers and their manager. Organizations that emphasize healthy co-working relationships and effective teamwork foster an environment where employees experience a positive and productive connection with their co-workers.   

The relationship an employee has with their manager is the most important factor. A 2015 Gallup study demonstrated that half of the people who resigned from their position did so because they worked for a bad manager. A 2010 study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership demonstrated employees are 94 percent more likely to stay working for a manager they feel cares for them. Good leadership and healthy relationships are the most important factor in retaining employees.  

Organizations with a focus on these retention factors will gradually build a better reputation as an employer of choice and therefore improve their Internal Brand. A company that retains is a company that attracts.

In the next and final article in this Recruitment Simplified series, we will be looking at the next primary consideration when attracting and retaining talent: strategies to become the employer everyone wants to work for. 

About the Author

Shawn Miller is a principal at Morrison working primarily in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Shawn, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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