Employee Retention: How to Get it Right in 2022

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Did you know that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing customer? Now, consider that your employees are customers, too! Losing top talent in this market will be a costly mistake.

If your organisation is currently in fret mode about the Great Resignation in 2022, then there are some things you can be doing right now to boost employee engagement and retention before the ship is jumped.

Attraction or retention?

2021 was one of the tightest candidate markets yet. We saw new starter salaries jump 20-30% in 12 months, as employers take on desperate measures to attract talent to their teams.

But this emphasis on ‘attraction’ has overridden genuine efforts to boost retention. As McKinsey noted, companies jumped to well-intentioned quick fixes that fell flat: bumping up pay or financial perks, like a thank you bonus, but without making effort to strengthen the relational ties people have with their colleagues and employer.

These efforts only make the relationship feel transactional in a new world that has seen a surge in employees seeking renewed purpose, connection, and meaning in their work.

Thinking of talent retention as you would customer retention

Given the cost of acquiring new customers (talent), meaningful retention initiatives should be prioritised. Here at Talenza, our people and customers are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we call our People Process and Systems team “CX”. We keep customer experience front and centre because satisfied employees and satisfied customers go hand in hand. There is a reason we were Great Place to Work Certified last year!

Here are a few ways that you can put your people at the centre of your retention strategy:

#1 Understand the motivations of your employees

Engagement surveys will only tell you so much. Surveying on values, culture fit and your EVP will see where your EVP needs to be developed. Additionally, exit surveys will uncover the main reasons employees want to leave (enabling you to take meaningful action to keep them).

Just like creating and selling a great product, it’s only when you understand what’s driving your people away (and what they’re gravitating to), as well as what motivates them to stay, that you can set your organisation up for success.

(reference candidates motivators report)

#2 Elevate your company purpose

Millennials now make up more than a third [3] [4] of the workforce, and they’re driven by different ideals to their predecessors, Gen X and Boomers. Even before the pandemic, millennials craved purpose, so companies need to be able to communicate to their people that there’s more to the business than the bottom line.

#3 Engage your people through change

Top-down authoritative approaches to organisational change just don’t fly with today’s workforce (or any, for that matter). Before you make any permanent decisions on the new way of work, you may want to reach out to your people and invite them to help shape the future.

Lockdowns have forced people to re-evaluate how and where they want to work – so making assumptions and imposing a rigid ‘new normal’ that doesn’t fit their changed needs and priorities will likely end with protests (and exits). Communication is key – but it begins with listening.


  • Retention (clients) Sadly, a recent report by NTT DATA revealed that only 16% of companies rank employee retention and engagement as a top priority and the majority feel unprepared for continued business disruption.