Keeping good employees can be a major challenge. As the GoodTime Hiring Insights Report reveals, 34% of talent acquisition leaders identified it as the biggest hiring problem of 2023. This challenge is even more serious because many companies (24%) are also struggling to find qualified candidates. As a result, replacing employees becomes much more expensive.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) confirms that recruitment, which is a key step in the process of talent acquisition, is an ongoing problem. 

In its 2024 Top Talent Trends, SHRM states that more than three in four organizations find it difficult to recruit for full-time, regular positions. While the stats have decreased since the 91% high of 2022, at 74%, they are still elevated. Of these, 47% of HR professionals say it’s been a somewhat difficult or much more difficult task. Combined with this, the SHRM report states that 49% of organizations have found it difficult to retain full-time regular employees in the last 12 months. 

This post explores 11 expert-backed strategies that talent acquisition and retention teams can leverage to contribute to a successful retention program. By implementing these retention strategies, you can ensure new hires feel valued, informed, and empowered to thrive within your company.

Talent retention is a key challenge
Source: 2024 Hiring Insights Report

Why talent acquisition needs to be a retention partner 

Talent acquisition goes beyond simply filling vacancies. It’s a strategic approach to finding the best people who align with your company culture and contribute to your long-term goals. Reduced turnover through effective retention strategies minimizes lost knowledge, and missed revenue opportunities, and lowers hiring costs.

Talent retention is the strategic investment in keeping your top performers engaged, motivated, and satisfied with their work experience. It focuses on fostering a positive work environment, providing growth opportunities, and recognizing contributions. It’s a proactive approach that minimizes the disruption and costs associated with losing valuable talent, ensures the continuity of knowledge and skills within the organization, and maximizes employee productivity and overall business success.

Traditionally, talent acquisition and retention have been seen as separate functions. However, a siloed approach misses a crucial opportunity for collaboration. By ensuring they work together, talent acquisition and internal communication can create a powerful force for building a strong employer brand and fostering a positive employee experience. This will ultimately lead to higher retention rates.

“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”

Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce

Above all else, talent acquisition should be your retention partner because a strong recruitment strategy sets the foundation for a successful retention program.

Key reasons for an acquisition-retention partnership

Building a strong workforce isn’t a one-way street. Here’s why talent acquisition and retention should work hand-in-hand to achieve long-term success.

  • Quality hires = engaged employees: By attracting and hiring individuals who are a good fit for your company culture and have the skills needed to succeed, a talent acquisition strategy lays the groundwork for employee engagement and satisfaction. These are both key factors that you need to retain employees.
  • Long-term investment: An effective talent acquisition strategy goes beyond simply filling a vacancy. A good strategy will consider long-term needs and identify candidates who align with the company’s vision and growth goals. This promotes a sense of purpose and career development opportunities, fostering loyalty and decreasing turnover.
  • Partnership mindset: Collaboration between talent acquisition and other departments, like HR and management, creates a unified approach to talent management. This ensures a smooth transition for new hires and facilitates strategies to keep them engaged and valued throughout their career journey.

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11 talent acquisition and retention strategies for a stellar workforce

Crafting a thriving work environment doesn’t happen in a silo. Attracting top talent is just the first step. To build a truly stellar workforce, talent acquisition and retention strategies need to work hand-in-hand. This collaborative approach fosters a seamless employee journey, from initial attraction to long-term engagement. 

Here are 11 key strategies that leverage the power of both talent acquisition and retention to ensure you cultivate a team of happy, productive employees. Be aware that each strategy provides one paragraph that focuses on acquisition and the second on retention. 

1. Communicate your company culture authentically

Craft job descriptions and outreach materials that truly capture your unique work environment. Highlight what makes your company special and how you prioritize things that are important to employees, like diversity hiring. Partner with internal communication to ensure your message resonates with potential hires.

Reinforce your company culture throughout the employee lifecycle. Regularly celebrate milestones and achievements that exemplify your core values. Encourage employee testimonials and stories that showcase the positive aspects of your work environment.

2. Showcase growth opportunities for new hires

Don’t wait until onboarding to discuss career development. During the interview process, highlight training programs, mentorship opportunities, and internal mobility options. This will demonstrate your commitment to employee growth from the very beginning.

Develop clear career pathing opportunities within your organization. Provide regular performance feedback and coaching to help employees stay on track with their career goals. Utilize stay interviews to identify growth aspirations and offer personalized development plans.

3. Leverage employee stories to build trust

Share real employee experiences through videos, testimonials, or blog posts. This approach will humanize your employer brand and allow candidates to connect with your company culture on a personal level.

Showcase employee success stories not just during recruitment, but also through internal communication channels. Feature employee-generated content on social media platforms to celebrate achievements and foster a sense of community.

4. Create a welcoming onboarding journey

Develop a comprehensive onboarding program in collaboration with internal communication. Include elements like welcome messages to new colleagues, team-building activities, and clear communication about company policies and benefits.

Go beyond the first week. Extend onboarding activities throughout the first 30-60 days to ensure new hires feel supported and integrated into the team. Assign dedicated mentors who can answer questions and provide ongoing guidance.

BambooHR surveyed employees about their onboarding experiences and found that new hires who had a positive onboarding experience were three times more likely to stay with their current employer.

5. Set clear expectations and goals from day one

Be transparent! Discuss role expectations and performance metrics during the interview process. Setting clear expectations from the outset helps new hires succeed and avoids disappointment.

Regularly revisit goals and performance expectations throughout the year. This ensures alignment with changing priorities and allows for adjustments to support employee development. Conduct regular check-ins to ensure employees feel empowered and equipped to achieve their goals.

6. Build connections with teams and foster mentorship

Pair new hires with experienced colleagues who can provide guidance and support. Encourage team lunches or social events to build connections and foster early connections.

Create a formal mentorship program that matches experienced employees with newer hires based on skills and interests. Provide training and support for mentors to ensure they are equipped to effectively guide and support mentees.

7. Create content to jointly attract and retain top talent

Collaborate on engaging content for your careers page and social media channels. This content should showcase your company culture, highlight employee success stories, and promote available growth opportunities within your organization.

Encourage employee engagement with your employer branding content. Offer incentives for employees to share company content on their personal social media channels. Create opportunities for employees to contribute content that showcases their work and expertise.

8. Developing a communication plan for retention initiatives

Create a meaningful talent acquisition strategy for a communication plan that will promote retention initiatives. This plan should outline key messages, target audiences, and the most effective communication channels.

Develop a multi-channel communication strategy that reaches employees across different generations and communication preferences. Utilize internal communication channels, team meetings, and town halls to promote retention initiatives and gather employee feedback.

9. Utilizing candidate experience data to improve hiring practices

Track candidate feedback throughout the recruitment process. Use this data to identify any pain points that might discourage strong candidates from accepting offers.

Use candidate experience data to inform onboarding improvements. Identify areas where new hires might feel lost or confused during the initial stages of their employment. Streamline the onboarding process based on candidate feedback to ensure a smooth transition.

10. Identifying retention risks through exit interviews and employee surveys

Analyze exit interview data and employee surveys to identify common reasons for turnover. Share these insights with internal communication to develop targeted retention initiatives that address employee needs.

Conduct stay interviews with high-performing employees to proactively identify their concerns and aspirations.

11. Measuring the impact of talent acquisition on retention metrics

Track key recruitment metrics such as time-to-hire and offer acceptance rates. Regularly analyze how your recruitment practices impact retention rates.

Develop a comprehensive set of retention metrics that track employee engagement, satisfaction, and turnover rates. Analyze these metrics often to determine the effectiveness of your retention initiatives and identify areas for improvement.

Why is retention better than acquisition?

Employee retention is generally considered better than acquisition. However, retention should be the primary focus for most companies. It’s a cost-effective way to maintain a productive workforce with valuable knowledge and expertise. However, acquisition remains important for strategic growth and filling specific skill gaps. The key is to find the right balance between these two strategies for your specific needs.

“Your best talent is always your biggest vulnerability.”

Kevin Kruse, Author of Employee Engagement

Here’s the general argument in favor of retention. 

Cost

Retaining existing employees is significantly cheaper than acquiring new ones. The recruiting process itself involves costs like advertising, screening candidates, and onboarding. Studies suggest it can cost five to seven times more to recruit and onboard a new employee than to retain an existing one. This includes advertising costs, recruiter fees, lost productivity during the vacancy period, and training expenses for the new hire.

Additionally, replacing a departed employee means losing their accumulated knowledge and experience, requiring further training for the new hire, which translates to lost productivity.

Productivity

Retained employees are already familiar with your company culture, systems, and processes. They’re more likely to be productive and efficient, requiring less training and supervision compared to new hires.

Knowledge and expertise

When you retain employees they generally possess valuable institutional knowledge and expertise specific to your company. Losing them means losing this accumulated knowledge, which can impact your overall efficiency and innovation.

Morale and engagement

A company with high employee retention fosters a sense of stability and community. Existing employees feel valued and invested in the company’s success, leading to higher morale and engagement. This positive work environment can further attract and retain top talent.

Employer brand

High employee retention rates send a powerful message to potential candidates. It suggests a positive work environment, career growth opportunities, and a company that invests in its people. This reputation attracts high-caliber applicants who are more likely to be a good fit for your organization.

Customer relationships

Existing employees who have developed strong customer relationships can be a significant asset. Replacing them can lead to a decline in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Company culture

A company with high retention rates often has a positive and stable work environment. This attracts and retains top talent, further strengthening your employer brand.

How internal communication can support talent acquisition and retention efforts

Internal communication plays a critical role in supporting both talent acquisition and retention efforts. By implementing these strategies, internal communication professionals can become powerful partners in attracting and retaining top talent. Remember, a strong employer brand and a positive employee experience are key differentiators in today’s competitive job market. By working together, internal communication and talent acquisition teams can create a winning formula for building a successful and thriving workforce.

Here are some of the key ways you can contribute.

Craft compelling employer branding content

Develop engaging content that showcases your company culture, employee stories, and career development opportunities. This content can be used across various channels including social media platforms,

For talent acquisition, focus on attracting the right fit and be sure to showcase real employee experiences. Also, highlight growth and development opportunities.

For retention, reinforce your employer brand internally and make sure you feature employee-generated content. Celebrate employee achievements and contributions through internal communication channels. This recognition motivates employees, reinforces their value to the company, and discourages them from seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Champion employee recognition programs

Publicly acknowledge and celebrate employee achievements. This fosters a culture of appreciation and motivates employees to stay engaged.

When working toward a talent acquisition strategy, you will find that recognition programs help attract top talent by demonstrating your commitment to employee well-being and rewarding excellence. 

For retention purposes, you will soon realize that public recognition strengthens employee morale and reinforces the value they bring to the organization.

Create open communication channels

Encourage two-way communication through employee surveys, town hall meetings, and anonymous feedback mechanisms. This allows employees to feel heard and valued.

Open communication during the recruitment process builds trust with candidates and allows them to ask questions and gain a clear understanding of the company culture. This will help with talent acquisition.  

Additionally, open communication channels ensure employees feel comfortable raising concerns and offering suggestions, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement. This will be hugely helpful for retention. 

Be transparent during challenging times

Communicate openly and honestly with employees during periods of change or uncertainty. Provide clear information and address employee concerns promptly.

Transparency during the recruitment process builds trust with candidates and allows them to make informed decisions about joining your company. 

Similarly, transparency during challenging times reduces anxiety and fosters trust among employees. Employees appreciate knowing the situation and feeling involved in finding solutions, which will be good for retention. 

Measure and adapt your communication strategies

Track the effectiveness of your internal communication efforts. Analyze employee engagement metrics and adjust your strategies based on the data.

For talent acquisition, track metrics like candidate engagement with your employer branding content and use this data to tailor your messaging. 

For retention, regularly measure employee sentiment through surveys and pulse checks. Identify areas where communication can be improved and adapt your strategy to address employee needs.

FAQs about talent acquisition and retention

What is the meaning of talent retention?

Talent retention refers to the strategies and practices companies use to keep their valuable employees engaged and satisfied, preventing them from leaving for other opportunities.

Why is retention better than acquisition?

A retention strategy is better than a talent acquisition strategy because experienced employees are more productive, require less training, and contribute to a positive company culture. Hiring new talent is expensive and time-consuming, making retention strategies more cost-effective.

What is the role of HR in talent acquisition and retention?

HR plays a crucial role in talent acquisition and retention. They attract top talent through effective recruitment strategies, develop onboarding programs to integrate new hires and foster a positive work environment that motivates employees to stay.

4 key takeaways 

When you follow a collaborative approach, it leverages the power of both talent acquisition and retention. The aim is to cultivate a team of happy, productive employees who are more likely to stay with your company for the long haul.

  1. By working together, talent acquisition and retention can create a seamless employee journey, from initial attraction to long-term engagement.
  2. A strong employer brand, built through collaborative efforts, attracts top talent and showcases a positive work environment.
  3. Effective onboarding programs and clear communication strategies ensure new hires feel supported and integrated, promoting retention from the outset.
  4. Continuous development opportunities and open communication channels motivate employees and demonstrate your investment in their growth, leading to higher retention rates.

About the Author

Tarek Kamil

Tarek Kamil is the CEO and founder of Cerkl, an AI-powered platform that elevates internal communications. As a passionate tech enthusiast and entrepreneur, Tarek strives to create innovative solutions that positively impact the digital world. With a passion for blending technology and creativity, he aims to inspire and make a difference through his ventures.