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4 Strategies for Retention in a Tight Talent Market

Retaining your best talent has always been a priority, and if it’s a pain point for you right now, you’re not alone. Last year, 20 million people left their jobs, and 48% of people say they’re actively job searching right now. Successful leaders must be proactive to ensure their most valuable employees will stick around through—and long after—the Great Resignation. Now’s the time to take action.

1. Listen, listen, listen—then act

To keep people, you have to understand what matters to them. Proactive, open, psychologically safe communication at all levels is imperative. You can facilitate that through:

Implementing team-level and company-wide pulse surveys
Creating clear pathways for all employees to communicate with leadership
Conducting one-on-one “stay interviews” to get their honest feedback about what will make them likely to remain at the company (and what could drive them away)

This is crucial: take substantive action based on employee input. Otherwise, your listening will come off as an empty gesture.

2. Invest in your talent

People stay at jobs where they feel appreciated and believe they can reach their highest potential. If you want employees to know they can bloom and grow where they’re planted:

Devote budget to professional development: trainings, conferences, and coaching
Provide generous benefits that help people thrive: PTO, parental leave, and health benefits that include mental health coverage
Make the path to career advancement clear for every role

3. Put flexibility first

If the last two years have shown us anything, it’s that there’s no going back to the “old normal.” The nature of the workplace has changed forever; powerful leaders embrace the new opportunities.

If you feel resistant to remote/hybrid work, examine your assumptions: are you simply clinging to a familiar mentality, or are there things that truly require face-to-face interaction?
Lean into the advantages of remote/hybrid models: access to a larger pool of talent, the ability to retain working parents and caregivers, and the reduced cost of office space
Remember that remote and hybrid models not only increase employee satisfaction, but they can also boost productivity and efficiency when properly implemented

4. Take a hard look at compensation

Certainly, money isn’t the only reason your top talent stays with you, but it’s foundational to retention. Afterall, people work to make a living—and right now your competition is luring them with enticing offers. Revisit your compensation structure and ask some probing questions:

  • Are your salaries competitive for your market?
  • Are your raises outpacing inflation?
  • Are your compensation practices designed to ensure equal pay and close the wage gaps faced by women, people of color, and other traditionally marginalized groups?
  • What does your total compensation—including wages, benefits, and bonuses—look like, and do employees understand it?

In this time of unprecedented upheaval, good leaders are the most important advocates for their employees. When you equip yourself with the right tools to retain talent, you’re ensuring long-term, values-driven success for your people and your company.

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