For some companies, attracting and retaining talent can seem almost impossible. Top talent leaves once they’ve reached a certain level (if employers can get them in the first place), and high turnover drains resources.

For other companies, attracting the very best employees and keeping them appears nearly effortless.

What do they have that other companies don’t?

Talent acquisition and employee retention are two sides of the same coin

Our own observations, and innumerable surveys, have shown that people want to work for companies – and keep working for them – for nearly all of the same reasons.

Employees stay where:

  • They feel their work is meaningful
  • They believe in what their organization is doing
  • They feel appreciated, and compensated fairly
  • They have opportunities to grow

In other words: They have every reason to be engaged.

On the acquisition side, top talent is, similarly, attracted to work that is meaningful and positive for companies whose goals are bigger than just making a profit. Top talent wants to be aligned with their organization’s larger purpose (one of the reasons why our first step with a new client is to define their ‘Engaged Purpose’).

Purpose is more powerful than money to decrease employee turnover

Of course, part of the deciding factor of switching jobs is how the compensation compares with other offers, but studies show that money often isn’t the primary motivation behind taking a new job or leaving an old one.

The IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Talent Management Solutions collaborated on a 2017 white paper, “Should I stay or should I go? Global insights into employees’ decisions to leave their jobs,” for which they surveyed more than 22,000 employees to find out why people leave their jobs, and what they’re looking for when they do.

The best employees, those who significantly outperform their peers, are more likely to be attracted to new jobs for opportunities to:

In the LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends Report, they asked “What swayed you to accept your current company’s job offer?” The responses:

Compensation and benefits are neck and neck with opportunities for growth.

The best candidates have to be able to grow, or you won’t keep them

This is especially true for Millennials – 74% of Millennials interviewed cited better career development opportunities as a top attractor. Flexibility was also high on everyone’s wish list, regardless of generation.

The Smarter Workforce Institute researchers came to a few conclusions based on the survey results for how to attract and retain talent.

They concluded that happy employees “who are willing to advocate for the organization can be highly effective recruitment ambassadors.” And that, of course, requires employees who are engaged enough to actively advocate.

They also found that “positive experiences and high engagement can minimize talent loss.”

Their definition of “positive experiences” is, essentially, the must-haves for an engaged workforce, what they call “the five dimensions of the Employee Experience Index:

  • Belonging – feeling part of a team, group, or organization
  • Purpose – understanding why one’s work matters
  • Achievement – a sense of accomplishment in the work that is done
  • Happiness – the pleasant feeling arising in and around work
  • Vigor – the presence of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement at work”

One of their other recommendations is to “Listen regularly to the voice of employees” to retain talent.

No kidding.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these actions and outcomes are exactly what we’ve built the Engagement Multiplier survey and platform to facilitate.

It sounds simple, right? But if it were simple, you wouldn’t have stats like these:

The New Talent Landscape – Recruiting Difficulty and Skills Shortages

The fact is, many companies are focusing on the wrong things when trying to attract talent.

There’s a disconnect between what recruiters, and CEOs, think employees want – and what they actually want. That disconnect is so easy to solve. All you have to do is ask – and listen – and act.

Of course, when you’re in charge of a growing company, it becomes harder and harder to ask, listen and act, which is why you need a system that can scale and grow with you. A system that connects your people (and applicants) with your purpose, aligns everyone behind your cause, asks them what they need to do their best work, holds you accountable for making those positive changes – and measures engagement levels across your business.

When you have that, you become one of those companies that makes attracting top talent and retaining them look easy.

To learn more about recruiting and retention, tune into our latest webinar with our CEO & Founder, Stefan Wissenbach, and Sean McCleary of Insight IT & Engineering Recruitment.