Retention – Talent Management Pillars Part IV

Retention_Pillars of TM_Part IV_people working in front of computer

Of all the strategies and/or approaches in the human resources space, none are more impactful than that of talent management.  As such, it continues to transcend all industries all over the world.  Why?  First and foremost, people are a company’s greatest asset.  In the same vein, a company’s value is perpetually linked to the success of its people.

Additionally, study after study shows companies offering growth and development opportunities translates to high success in recruitment and retention.  Talent management itself is a commitment from an organization to recruit, hire, retain, and develop employees.

Over the next few weeks, the HR Exchange Network will put a focus on talent management by explaining each tenement and the inherent challenges that accompany them in a series of articles.  These tenements are often referred to as the pillars of talent management.

Pillars of Talent Management Explained

To better understand each pillar, a description of each is below.

  • Recruitment – In order for a talent management strategy to exist, there must first be talent. Recruitment is Step 1 in creating the strategy.  Here, companies and organizations work to attract talented people who can be converted in to employees.
  • Learning and Development – This pillar includes everything from ongoing training to learning during the employee lifecycle. It allows for workers to fine-tune and further develop the critical skills needed to meet their performance goals and to help the company complete its strategic goals.
  • Performance Management – Once hired, talent is expected to perform at a high standard. This process includes the way in which HR measures and improves performance.  Common procedures include performance reviews, one-on-one meetings, and reward and recognition programs.
  • Retention – As defined, retention is about keeping high performing talent with the company or organization as long as possible. This leads to increased productivity and successful completion of strategic goals.


Every company, regardless of size and industry, is focused on the retention of top talent.  It’s just one of the battles under the War for Talent.  Finding new talent is difficult enough as it is.  That means losing talent has a much larger impact.  The financial cost of losing an employee is steep.  And if that’s not enough, losing an employee means losing company knowledge and skill.  Performance and morale suffer as well. 

So, how does the human resources department keep employees from leaving the company?  The honest answer to this retention question is culture.

Workers today are looking to be a part of something larger than themselves.  There is a strong desire to work with a company that shares their values.  They’re also looking for opportunities to develop.  The desire to learn is strong with the new breed of worker.  Additionally, they’re looking for the ability to make a difference.  They want to be a part of deciding the collective destiny of the company.  All of these are answered through your company’s culture.

Want to know more about an employee activated culture?  Click here.

One of the first steps for any company is getting the culture right.  It’s a huge part of both recruitment and the retention strategies.  Leaders at all levels have to be a part of the ongoing conversation either about creating the culture or transforming it.  At the end of the day, the culture should align with the company’s vision, values and goals.  This will also help HR create the outline for the perfect employee.

Hiring Based on Culture Means Raising the Chances for Retention Success

Knowing what the company culture really looks like means recruiters can focus on hiring candidates that fit that mold.  Essentially, recruiters will seek out and hire those employees aligned with the company culture.

There’s a funny anecdote in Hollywood:  “You can teach a singer to act, but you can’t teach an actor to sing.”  It’s a similar concept here.  A company can give employees all the tools, resources and training possible, but it is nearly impossible to get someone to align with the company culture.

Additionally, hiring based on culture will drastically increase the chances of retaining the employee.

Compensation and Benefits for Retention

While people want to work with companies who align with them on their values and their morals, they also want to have strong compensation and benefits.  In fact, one of the biggest reasons people leave the organization is over, what they perceive, as unfair compensation.

HR needs to perform some type of compensation analysis.  It’s important to know how current members of the workforce are being paid as compared to employees working for the competition.  Employees who feel “slighted” will leave and go where they feel most valued in terms of pay.  This doesn’t mean that the company needs to offer the best pay, but it does have to be fair and in-line with what the competition is offering.

That addresses the compensation side of the strategy, but what about the benefits side?

There are several strategies here that can help with retention.  Keeping the current make-up of the workforce in mind (Millennials and iGen), remote work opportunities are a big draw to employees. 

Stanford University says people who work remotely are less likely to leave the company for other employment.  It found there was an overall 50% decrease in attrition among remote workers.  Additionally, it reduces costs for workers, somewhere in the range of about $7,000 per year according to TECLA, a global IT recruiting company.  The costs savings are related to commuting, food, clothing and child care.  It also helps reduce stress.  OWLLabs says people who work from home at least once a months are 24% more likely to report feeling happing and more productive.

Flexible work schedules help with retention as well.  73% of employees said flexible work arrangements increased their work satisfaction according to Workest.  More importantly, however, that same study found 36% of employees are likely to leave their employer due to a lack of flexible work arrangements.

There are others innovative ideas as well that positively impact retention such as performance bonuses and even flexible vacation packages.  The point here is to think about the employee and what kind benefits will keep them with the company longest.  This is paramount considering the increasing cost of replacing workers who have left the company.

In conclusion

Talent management, like all strategies, has to change to accommodate the changing workforce.  This idea of shaping the workforce around the company is outdating and ultimately will lead to failure.  Workers are more critical of their organizations now than ever before and, by their own admission, attached to the destiny of the company.

That’s was the mission of this four week article series:  to give a current “state of affairs” view of the talent management strategy and to explain what has to change.  Like everything, it now has to be agile in nature.

By embracing the pillars of talent management and looking for new strategies and innovations, HR can move the company forward from a talent perspective and a business perspective.

NEXT:  Read our report – The State of HR


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