Optimising talent attraction and retention

17 June 2024
Successful organisations can gain a significant competitive edge by attracting and retaining top talent. Attracting top performers adds new skills and perspectives to your organisation, while retaining them often promotes productivity, morale, customer satisfaction and other advantages.

Unfortunately for multinational employers, finding and keeping good employees is more difficult than ever. The rise of remote and flexible working has created more options for employees, and many countries have aging populations and shrinking workforces.

This article provides strategies for attracting and retaining top-notch employees in this difficult environment.

Building a strong employer brand

Establishing a strong employer brand is pivotal to attracting talent in today’s competitive global job market. It involves promoting the organisation as an employer by showcasing its culture and values. Glassdoor reports that 77 percent of job seekers consider an organisation’s culture before applying, and 56 percent prioritise it over salary for job satisfaction.

To solidify its employer brand, an organisation can:

  • Use employee testimonials to share positive experiences.
  • Seek industry recognition to showcase achievements.
  • Promote diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Identifying talent needs

Understanding an organisation’s existing talent and its talent gaps in light of corporate goals is integral to effective talent management. An assessment typically involves defining core competencies for each existing role. HR should then perform a skills-gap analysis to identify differences between existing employee skills and role requirements.

Performing this kind of talent assessment, or gap analysis, allows HR teams to develop informed talent acquisition strategies. It can also help ensure the right people are in appropriate roles, which can facilitate ongoing growth, development and adaptability to changing business needs. 

Recruiting strategically

Most multinational organisations use applicant tracking system (ATS) software to help manage the recruitment process. With the continued developments in artificial intelligence, HR departments should continue to look for opportunities to create even more efficiencies when looking to find candidates and align them with the right roles.

It’s also imperative to prioritise a positive hiring experience for candidates. Some people believe that the hiring process reflects an organisation’s work environment. Therefore, presenting the best image of the organisation can improve recruitment efforts. This entails effective communication, prompt feedback and streamlined processes. When candidates feel valued, they’re more likely to commit to the organisation long-term.  

Another key aspect of strategic recruiting is writing clear job descriptions that reflect the organisation’s values and expectations. This will help the employer and the candidate assess whether the organisation and role are right for the candidate’s long-term aspirations.

Lastly, and most critically, employers must offer appealing and competitive compensation packages that appeal to new prospects and provide incentives to existing employees. Offering competitive pay, benefits and other compensation (such as employee stock plans) is particularly challenging for midsized and quickly growing multinational organisations. Each country — and each region within a single country — has different compensation norms and employee expectations. Competing with larger multinational corporations can also pose challenges, such as those related to resources and brand recognition.

Virtually all multinational employers seek third-party assistance when conducting compensation benchmarking in their countries of operation. Saul Howerton, head of global people advisory at Vistra, stresses the importance of understanding the full compensation picture of a jurisdiction, not just salaries. “Don’t overlook supplemental benefits benchmarks,” he says. “They are a critical part of the total reward strategy.” Employers should seek guidance when implementing stock plans and other forms of compensation to ensure compliance with tax and other local regulations.

Onboarding effectively

Effective onboarding is key to smoothly integrating new hires and laying the foundation for long-term success. Here are some important steps to take:

  • Define the culture and mission. Introduce new hires to the organisation’s culture, ensuring they understand the organisation’s fundamental principles, values and mission.
  • Set clear expectations. Clearly communicate expectations to new hires so they understand their tasks, goals and roles and how they support the company’s mission. This alignment helps new hires work towards company objectives from day one.
  • Provide training and resources. Supply new hires with job training, access to systems that are required to perform their roles, and any extra support needed for effective job performance and future learning and development.
  • Schedule regular check-ins. Schedule regular check-ins to create an open, supportive work environment that involves mutual feedback. These check-ins also help monitor progress, celebrate achievements and identify areas for improvement.
Promoting engagement through communication and reward

Improving employee engagement involves creating a positive work environment, encouraging open communication, recognising outstanding work and offering growth opportunities. Fostering a culture of respect and support keeps employees motivated and productive. Good communication builds trust between staff and managers, improving the work environment.

Rewarding employees for their efforts, whether with bonuses or public praise, keeps morale high. Research reveals that companies with employee recognition programs experienced a 31 percent lower turnover rate.

Supporting career development

Career development goes beyond job titles; it involves gaining new skills, taking on difficult projects and advancing professionally. Challenging employees, and offering clear career paths and growth opportunities, are essential for promoting job satisfaction, motivation and employee retention.

Employees who are challenged to assume new responsibilities may need help developing their skills. Employers may want to offer in-house trainings or credit for external classes to support this development. Employers can also implement mentoring programs to provide guidance as employees look to rise in the organisation.

Participating in cross-functional projects is another way to boost career development and employee retention. Working on multiple projects for different business units allows employees to broaden their perspectives, build networks and develop new skills. 

Finally, an employer should present clear promotion opportunities based on merit and performance, which supports a fair environment that motivates employees. Sharing employee success stories that involve promotions — either internally and/or on an organisation’s public-facing website — can effectively demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to nurturing employees.

Measuring success

It’s important to measure employee engagement on a regular basis. Anonymous surveys can be particularly useful, as they promote transparency and honesty and can clearly indicate employer strengths and weaknesses. Higher engagement scores often correlate with lower employee turnover, decreased administrative costs and increased productivity. Survey results should be tracked to monitor progress over short and long periods. 

Employers should also solicit employee feedback through regular discussions at various levels — from one-on-one meetings to town-hall style discussions. Gathering and documenting employee comments and recommendations is crucial for continuously improving employee-retention strategies.

Employers should also perform regular individual performance evaluations. These not only measure engagement, but also help identify employee strengths and areas for development. Individual exit interviews are also a good opportunity to gather and document information on employee engagement.

Ultimately, to attract and retain talented individuals, it is crucial to cultivate a culture where the employees and prospective employees feel valued, supported and encouraged to develop. The steps outlined in this article can help an organisation achieve that kind of culture, but the steps aren’t intended to be comprehensive. Depending on an organisation’s situation — including its employee retention rate, where it is in its growth cycle, and the jurisdictions where it operates — it will likely lower risks by partnering with a third-party provider that can provide advice on HR best practices, from compensation benchmarking to employee stock plan development to drafting employee handbooks.