Workforce Strategy: The Art and Science of Retaining Talent

By Vince Guerra
  • Oct 01, 2022

The Great Resignation, The Big Quit, Quiet Quitting, The Great Reshuffle –No matter what you call it, businesses around the world have been dramatically impacted by the exodus of talent from their organizations. The number of job openings are 50% higher than pre-pandemic levels as employers scramble to keep existing talent while attracting new employees into the fold. As with all crises, the current employment landscape presents a tremendous opportunity for organizations willing to reevaluate how they attract, manage and retain employees.


Unfortunately, many metric driven executives only look at one side of the problem. Objective metrics are critical to success. However, executives need to remember that people are emotional beings. When evaluating their work, people filter their thoughts through their emotions. Because of this it is imperative for employers to look at both the art and the science when evaluating their people processes. While there are many factors involved, we’ll look at a few of the quantitative and qualitative factors that come into play when creating a comprehensive People Strategy.


Examples of quantitative factors:


  • Retention Rates: Do you know your organization’s retention rate? Do you have the ability to measure turnover in every department and at every layer of the organization (executive, management, frontline workers, etc.)?


  • Benchmarking: Compensation and benefits are the blocking and tackling of retention. In this environment, if you are not benchmarking compensation and benefits against the industry and region you will quickly fall behind your competition.


  •  Employee Surveys: Organizations tend to overstate how engaged their employees are, especially when it comes to factors like culture, sense of belonging and workload. The best way to understand employee perspectives is to get their feedback.Use scaled questions (Scale of 1-10, agree/disagree, likely/not likely) rather than open-ended questions. Own up to any organizational shortcomings and make changes.


Examples of qualitative factors:


  • Culture: Companies with strong, intentional cultures outperform those without one. Is there evidence of your organizations culture throughout the entire organization? Employee surveys and feedback should serve as a confirmation of your true culture.


  • Communication: We love Nike and Apple because of their strong brands. What about your organization’s internal brand? Look for opportunities beyond open enrollment to build an internal brand with your employees through quality, professional and consistent messaging.


  • Leadership Training: “People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.” It’s a well-known phrase, but many managers are never equipped to grow in their ability to effectively manage people.


The above list is meant to showhow quantitative and qualitative factors can be used together in creating a comprehensive People Strategy.What’s interesting is that creating a workplace thatemployeesvalue also createsa workplace that attracts quality new talent. The same way an amazing customer experience helps attract new customers, implementing a solid retention strategy will serve as the foundation for a killer recruiting strategy. 


In this business environment it is critical for executives to be committed to better understanding their workforce. There are more opportunities than ever for your employees to quit and find the same work at better pay. Creating a People Strategy using both quantitative and qualitative tactics will help you reduce retention rates and lead to a more engaged, motivated workforce.