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How to Win the War for Talent

How to Win the War for Talent

Did you know that the cost of replacing an employee in Ireland is circa €14,000 (Adare HR Management). You might be surprised by that figure but remember that recruitment is a much more prolonged process than sourcing a new member of staff. It includes employee on-boarding and upskilling in company procedures and policies, lost productivity until they are up to speed, managing the impact on other employees and building trust.

In the current climate of low unemployment and staff turnover on the rise, the competition to retain the best staff and attract the brightest talent is definitely on.

In this article we’re going to look at 3 key factors in how companies can effectively attract and retain the best talent as well as strategies on how to implement them. This is a must read for SMEs looking to grow and scale their business in 2020 while minimising the cost of talent management.

“Every organisation has issues with turnover, there’s not a lot we can do about it”

The bottom line is a happy and engaged workforce directly impacts profits. They perform better and help to drive profits compared to their unhappy employees. When employees are engaged with the organisation they tend to present a much more “can-do” attitude in work, are better at solving problems and are more likely to remain with the company for longer. This results in lower turnover levels for the company and a higher ROI on training and upskilling of that employee.

When the organisation is planning for major growth and scale, whether that be new products, new markets or increasing market share, having the right talent in place to meet those goals is critical. The company must first identify the skills needed to effectively deliver projects on time and ensure those skills are optimised within the team. Skills gaps need to be addressed by either existing qualified staff or bringing in new hires to meet requirements.

Recruitment: an employee’s market

The current demand for skilled workers and low unemployment has created an employee’s market in Ireland. Companies are competing for top talent and outbidding each other through salaries and benefits ignoring the fact that salary alone is not the deciding factor. This inevitably increases employment costs across the board. But according to Hays Recruitment, when deciding to stay in their current job or accept another, 58% of employees base their decision on a combination of cultural fit, career progression and benefits. Competing on salary alone encourages employee churn. Without a long term retention strategy in place staff are unlikely to be motivated to a long term commitment to the organisation.

How to attract and retain the top talent for your organisation
So what can SMEs do to retain their best talent? What are employees really looking for?
Irish SMEs and owner/managers need to examine how they are perceived by current and potential employees. They need to be aware of what employees really want and develop a culture which is committed to employee satisfaction and aligned with their long term goals.

1. Put Company Culture First!!

Company culture is key to employee satisfaction. Employees are happier when their values and needs are consistent with the organisation’s. That sense of belonging is a strong alignment with the company and employees feel respected and listened to. When all of this is in place employees are much more likely to stay with that company for longer. In turn your employees become ambassadors for attracting and recruiting like-minded talent.

2. Know Your Employer Positioning

Just as you would in the marketplace, employers need to position themselves in the employment market in order to stand out from the competition. So ask yourself, what is your value proposition? Do you have a clear strategy for promoting your brand among jobseekers?

We know that being a valued member of the team is a key element within the decision making process for candidates. So it is vital that you are communicating your organisational culture at every touchpoint which includes your website, social media and PR campaigns. This also needs to be communicated throughout the recruitment process. Communicating your culture and brand values will attract like-minded prospects and help to filter out those who may not be a good fit for the organisation.

3. Make the Interview Experience More Interactive and Positive

Be interactive from the outset! Use your website to make a great first impression on potential candidates by using real staff photos and testimonials. Use your internal brand amabassadors to sell what a great company you are to work for.

During the interview process bring the interviewee on a tour around the plant/office, introduce them to the team and show them what it is really like to work in your organisation. This will help them to get a real feel for the culture of the company and determine if you are a good fit for them.

If you find that your preferred candidates are not moving forward and accepting job offers then it could very well be the case that your culture does not reflect what you are trying to sell. So what do you do? Go back to step 1.


Staff turnover is inevitable. Employees move on, personal and professional growth can take them in different directions. However a carefully planned attraction and retention strategy borne out of an employee first culture can help to insulate the organisation from the high costs associated with talent management. Happy staff lead to happy customers which ultimately will help the company to grow and scale.

What are your thoughts on employee attraction and retention? What strategies work best for your company? Please share your thoughts below.

If your company, like a lot of Irish SMEs at the moment is struggling with attracting the right people or experiencing high turnover rates contact Lorraine Murphy Coaching & Training for a short consultation on how we can help.






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