How to attract and retain employees: a challenge for companies globally

Two surveys conducted by Towers Watson reveal that businesses struggle to attract and retain employees, especially top performers and high-potential employees. The main issues are that companies do not meet candidates’ and employees’ needs for job security, nor is there confidence in senior leadership.


While hiring and turnover levels appear to be on the rise globally, many businesses struggle to attract and retain employees, according to two surveys published by the Towers Watson professional services firm. In its survey on talent management and rewards carried out with 1,637 companies, including 95 in Canada, it appears that two thirds of organizations surveyed are faced with issues related to attracting top performers (65%) and high-potential employees (64%). More than half also consider that they have difficulties retaining these two categories of employees (56% and 54% respectively).


Employers do not really know what their employees want


Towers Watson explains these results by the gap that exists between what employers believe that employees are looking for, and what employees actually want. Specifically, employers have a tendency to concentrate their efforts on base pay and career advancement to attract and retain their employees. Even if these two aspects are part of employees' main expectations, employers ignore other important concepts such as job security and confidence in company leadership.  The global workforce survey conducted with 32,000 employees, including 1,000 in Canada, reveals a little more detail. For employees, job security is the second most important reason for choosing a company and the fourth most important reason in deciding to stay. Confidence in senior leadership is the third most important reasons in deciding to stay.


Career advancement programmes in review


Another sign of the existing gap between employers and employees: while almost half of businesses think they offer effective opportunities for career advancement, 41% of employees identified as high potentials by their companies indicate that they would have to leave the company to advance their careers. According to Towers Watson, organizations will therefore have to rethink their programmes if they wish to retain their talent, and develop their leadership to strengthen employees’ commitment.

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