How to Attract (and Retain) Top Talent

Although the Great Resignation isn’t quite so great anymore, the talent pool continues to shrink. Our podcast guest, Sander van ‘t Noordende—the CEO of Randstad—says this presents a critical need for leaders not only to attract top talent but also to retain them.

That can be tricky, especially now that we have five different and distinct generations active in the workplace, each with their own needs and values. But take heart: with all of Randstad’s research and experience at his fingertips, Sander has tips to keep your talent roster full and stable.

1. Acknowledge the Generational Differences…

There truly are significant differences in the motivations and desires of our diverse generations. While older cohorts such as Boomers may still find major motivation in pay and power, younger cohorts like Gen Z prioritize inclusion, work-life balance, career development opportunities, and alignment between personal and organizational purpose. This very simple fact—generational differences—eludes many CEOs, who are then surprised at the backlash and talent drain that often result from blanket edicts such as full Return to Office.

2. …and Seek Generational Similarities.

Despite the differences, all generations hold plenty in common. Flexible work arrangements present a prime example: from recent grads to “retirees” in their comeback careers, nearly everyone loves schedule and worksite flexibility. From taking care of family needs to finding the hours when they’re most productive, flexibility reduces stress and boosts engagement. Other cross-generational desires will vary from workplace to workplace, so by all means poll your teams to find out what initiatives will provide the best employee growth and satisfaction.

3. Know Your ABCs.

Watching what makes the international workforce tick, Sander and Randstad developed the ABC talent framework. It makes memorable the shifting priorities of today’s employees: Ambition, Balance, and Connection. This trio answers many of the issues in items 1 and 2 above. Personal and career development opportunities, mentoring, and sponsoring all satisfy people motivated by their ambition. On the other hand, fully 50% of surveyed employees believe balance is more important than pay. And 70% of people want a feeling of connection to the organization, their colleagues, and the like. So, keep those ABCs in mind as you ponder the mix that attracts talent to your team.

4. Make It Personal.

Clearly, one-size-fits-all experiences, benefits, opportunities, and support no longer work well. Instead, have a suite of offerings on hand so you can customize the work experience to meet the unique needs of employees from different generations, demographics, and career & life stages.

5. Keep It Positive.

This is obvious, but just to make it official, people of all generations are far more engaged, productive, and just plain happy in a positive working environment. Following the steps above helps accomplish this, of course—that’s Sander’s point. But it’s all reinforced in a culture that brings everyone respect, collaboration, and mutual support.

The competition for top talent will grow more intense through the coming decade. You can win it with a conscious eye toward our historically diverse workforce’s different needs and desires.

What could a company offer that would attract YOU to join their team? What does your current organization do to retain you and other top talent?


This article was adapted by Dan Mushalko from our podcast episode From Pay to Purpose: What Drives Top Talent.

Thank you for reading our newsletter, where we bring you thought leaders and innovative ideas on leadership topics each week.

We strive to elevate the quality of leadership worldwide. Are you ready? If you are looking for help developing your leaders, explore our services.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.