How To Retain Top Talent

Last Updated Oct 23, 2007 1:34 PM EDT

How To Retain Top TalentGlobally, two thirds of companies report struggling to attract high caliber talent. Logically then, you'd assume they're doing everything in their power to retain the talented employees they do have. But a study by HR consultancies Watson Wyatt Worldwide and WorldatWork reported in Management Issues today has found that employers' efforts to retain employees are hampered by an incomplete understanding of employees' priorities.

The HR firms polled almost 1,000 companies and 13,000 employees, and found that employers often have little understanding of why staff leave. They found, for instance, that while,

Workers ranked stress as a top reason for leaving a company, it was not even among the top five reasons cited by employers. Employers often believed people left simply because they were not being paid enough or lacked career development or promotion opportunities.
If managers get the message that work-life balance is important, and help their employees manage stress, the study indicates they should expect good results.
When employees were satisfied with stress levels and their work-life balance, 86 per cent were more inclined to stay put, against 64 per cent of those that were dissatisfied. Nearly nine out of 10 in the same scenario would recommend their employer as a place to work.
Also useful in retaining top talent was simply making sure that employees see a clear link between good performance and rewards. Laura Sejen, global director of strategic rewards for Watson Wyatt, comments:
"When workers see that their performance has a real impact on rewards and that management follows through, employees become more committed and confident about the opportunities with their employer."
It sounds straightforward enough, but the survey found that only "half of the companies polled said their managers did a good job at performance management," particularly in the U.S. Managers here received the lowest ratings. Those in Asia-Pacific received the highest.

(Image of stress management tool by @aius, CC 2.0)

  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.