Retaining Top Talent

By Katrina Park


Hiring the right people is critical for any business. Retaining your best people is even more critical. People are your biggest cost, but they’re also your biggest asset.

It’s a well-known HR statistic that it costs an average of 2.5 times an individual’s salary to replace an employee when they leave. In today’s unpredictable economic climate it is essential that businesses retain staff, especially those classed as ‘top talent’ – your highest performers.

Attracting and engaging top talent has been a hot topic amongst business and HR leaders this year. Most managers and executives now accept the reality that talent is critical and should be a major focus of their attention.

We’re in an increasingly competitive market for recruiting and retaining top technology talent.

Businesses must have innovative recruitment strategies in place to tap into the passive market of top talent and a strategic approach to talent acquisition. They must firstly be able to identify who are the top talent and then be able to present a value proposition that will spark their interest according to their key drivers.

The recruitment landscape continues to evolve at a rapid rate. Recruitment today is a marketing, brand-building, social process – and something that definitely needs to be driven at every level within an organisation.

sdcAvWith demand for top talent exceeding supply, it’s going to become even harder to find and recruit top talent. One of the issues we have in the technology sector is that most people only stay in their jobs for 2-3 years and then move on. Hence the need for a renewed emphasis on new ways of recruiting, onboarding, developing, leading and ultimately retaining top talent. Smart companies are revamping their talent-acquisition playbook in order to attract and retain the best and brightest. Speed, agility and excitement in hiring is key.
It is widely believed that passive candidates, candidates not actively seeking a job, will be more likely to fall into the category of ‘top talent’ due to experience and an armoury of specific skills they have developed.  According to a number of different studies and statistics, at least 80% of the IT market are in fact passive.

Top talent want to work with other top talent. If you want to attract the best talent, you must tell a strong story about your organization that makes the market’s most skilled want to join the team. The shift is that you must market your organization to them. Don’t assume they understand what you do or why it matters. Craft and tell your story.

Employer branding has become an essential driver for attracting the right talent to your organisation. Companies must firstly be able to identify who the top talent are and then be able to present a value proposition that will spark their interest.d19d5sz0wkl0lu.cloudfront

In today’s day and age, recruitment has to be about finding the right candidate who is the right match not only technically but also culturally. Finding the right cultural fit can minimise making the wrong hiring choice. Many companies don’t realise how costly and time consuming making the wrong hiring decision can be.

Culture is critical when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. Millennials in particular want to grow fast and feel like they’re making a difference, they are turned off by linear career paths. People want to come to work and feel inspired. Companies need to develop amazing managers so that people won’t want to leave. Managers that make people feel great.

There has been much said on the topic of employee engagement, and now there are many tools available for engagement, pulse surveys, feedback management, and culture assessment. Not only are these tools now becoming critical for companies trying to understand their employee’s needs, they are becoming integrated with performance management, leadership assessment, change management, and just about every other people practice in business. You can’t improve culture without listening to your employees. Companies also need to build a culture of feedback.



Research conducted by job posting site SEEK found that 47 per cent of Australians are considering leaving their job this year.

We recently conducted a survey of passive and active IT professionals to ascertain what’s most important to them when deciding whether to stay with their current employer or pursue a new opportunity with another organisation. The IT professionals we surveyed were given 5 options and asked to rank them from 1 to 5 in order of importance.

We found that company culture, salary and benefits, and ongoing development and career advancement opportunities were the top 3 motivating drivers, with workplace flexibility not too far behind.

The survey’s results didn’t come as a great surprise to us. Job enrichment/satisfaction (lack thereof) is a primary reason an employee will leave. High performers need to be challenged and feel like they’re growing personally and professionally. But equally, culture plays a major role in job satisfaction – people want to work for a company where they feel valued and appreciated.


It makes business sense to hold on to your high performers as an engaged employee will give a lot more effort and be far more productive than a disengaged employee. As such organisations need to place a lot more emphasis on retaining and rewarding their top talent and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best people to the organisation.

For hiring managers that are short on incentives to offer their staff, additional benefits and more flexibility are great ways to attract and retain staff for businesses with limited career development opportunities or salary increase restraints. It’s important however to make sure the incentives and benefits are what the staff actually want. For some staff it might be the ability to work from home or have flexible hours, for others it might be the opportunity to do project work, mentor a team, work with new technology, etc.

We also recommend that employers have career development plans in place for their high performers – they need to see that the organisation has a plan in place for their ongoing development.


Please contact our office if you would like to receive a complimentary copy of the full survey results and additional tips on how to attract and retain top talent.