5 Essentials to Attracting & Retaining Top Talent in Your Organization

Finding, attracting and retaining top talent is one of the biggest challenges facing business owners and leaders today.

Employees don’t leave the company, they leave their boss.

So how much top talent have you let “get away” or is at risk of leaving?  Gallup polls suggest that 75% of the reason people leave their job is attributed to their boss.   I keep hearing from business leaders that “It’s hard to find (keep) good talent.”  Maybe it’s time to look INSIDE your organization.

While employee turnover is a reality in business today, a few key steps can reduce “the churn” and create better stability within your organization.  Companies with the greatest success in attracting and retaining top talent rank particularly strong in the following five specific areas.

How Does YOUR Organization Measure Up?

  1. Culture is Their Strongest Retention Strategy

Top talent needs a positive, progressive culture.  You can literally ‘feel the energy in the air’ in some organizations as you walk in the door.  It is the unseen glue that binds your organization.   That said, culture has to be nurtured and developed with time and consistency – it has to be earned, not dictated.

“If you build it, they will come.”  – Field of Dreams

Positive culture begins with common purpose and inclusiveness.  Like brand or reputation, culture is built over time by dependable behavior and consistent action.  Its foundation is a safe, professional work environment, respectful conduct, and personal accountability.  It is fueled by clear direction, positive challenge, a winning attitude and gratitude.

Your culture inside, is your brand outside.  Build it and they will come.

2. They Have a Shared Vision and A Clear Path to Get There

Top talent needs to see and understand your vision and purpose – to embrace it, be passionate about it, and become an ambassador for it.   Top talent are typically ‘builders’ rather than ‘maintainers’, and need to see the path and be positively challenged.  Building your organization will require executing the vision and strategy with, and through others.  The more passionate your team, the more effective execution will be.

Every vision needs a path to get there, and often several.

A clear path instills confidence, provides direction, helps maintain focus and coordination and allows measurement of progress (milestones).  While paths will require periodic tweaks or even significant changes/pivots due to changing circumstances, the vision, provides the continuity of purpose.

3. They Set Their Employees Up for Individual Success

Top talent needs to be set up for success, which means arming your people with clear direction, business knowledge, and the right business tools and processes to work effectively.  Individual success culminates into organizational success.

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” – Chris Grosser

All organizations require a certain level of structure, regimen, and accountability in order to function effectively and create success.  This begins with clear, consistent direction and expectations, and understanding what each position and individual needs to succeed.  Most employees respond well to challenge or additional responsibility if they have the tools, training, resources and work processes to excel in the job.

Mentoring and recognition play key roles in empowering employees to apply the tools and resources available to be successful, and includes encouraging input, ideas and feedback.

4. Their Leadership is Deliberate and Authentic

Top talent responds well to positive, progressive leadership.  As owner or leader, YOU set direction for the organization; the pace, the priorities, the resources, the professional standards, the expectations and accountability.  Deliberate leadership creates the dynamic work environment, collaboration, and operating parameters to position both individuals and the organization for success.

Create the Culture; Dictate the Standard; Set the Pace

Top talent looks for authenticity, inclusivity, fairness, decisiveness, consistency, collaboration, mentorship and recognition.

5. In Hiring, They Don’t Settle for Mediocre

Every new hire is an opportunity to improve the skills and quality of your organization.  Yet for most, hiring is viewed as an arduous, time-consuming process that takes them away from the day-to-day business – something they have to “get through” to fill the position.   Because vacant positions (whether new or replacement) often place added strain on existing employees and business performance, there is often pressure to “settle” for someone, only to be disappointed and having to repeat the hiring process down the road.

Hold out for ‘wholly crap’ talent.

Anticipate your organizational needs as you grow, plan the lead time needed to find the ‘wholly crap’ talent, and start a deliberate search process early on.   Many managers scramble to fill positions because they didn’t think ahead, or plain just “didn’t get to it” – with predictable outcomes.

Explore each new hiring process as an opportunity to enhance the job requirements and/or hire ‘for future potential’.  Define the individual, skills and experience you need in a written job description.

A well thought out and disciplined search and hiring process will outperform a “gut feel” or “I know someone who knows someone” … approach every time.  Maintain your quest to build an organization of best talent, and don’t settle for mediocre just to “fill” the position.  Hold out for the “wholly crap” individual.

In Summary,

Every organization has either a positive or negative ‘momentum’ at any time.  Top talent always searches out and/or contributes to positive momentum.  As a business leader, it is clearly within your means (and mandate?) to ensure the momentum is kept positive by retaining your existing top talent and attracting new top talent. Build it and they will come.

Be Bold, Think Big, Be Curious, Keep Focused


Our Fall 2018 ½ Day Business Leader Round Table & Workshop:

Simplified Strategy & Business Execution, December 6th, Mississauga.  Register here.

 Links to Related Articles:

Are You Navigating Your Ship (Business) From The Engine Room Rather than the Fly Bridge? 

Business Culture Inside Equals Brand Outside (Why It’s Essential to Build from Within)

Work on Nurturing Your Greatest Business Asset


About Doug Osborne

Doug Osborne is creator of The Success Dashboard Execution Platform© - a simple, practical and visual subscription-based online execution platform that is proven to accelerate business execution and performance for business owners and leaders, literally within hours. With over 35 years business success, Doug is an experienced business coach, speaker, writer, and strategy facilitator working primarily with small and medium-sized family businesses on improved & sustained business execution for accelerated growth, improved performance, successful transition or higher-value sale.