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Turning Talent Threats into Opportunities


Quarsh recently conducted a study of 500 white collar UK employees to determine what motivates, attracts and retains talent. Just under a third of surveyed respondents (30%) indicated that they are planning to move jobs within the next three months, creating both a potential problem and an opportunity for employers. Businesses are now faced with two possibilities; rehire or reengage.


Attrition can be disruptive, but it can also be an opportunity to rid the workplace of disengaged or disgruntled employees and review organisational morale. This type of recruitment is often reactive and will test the strength and rigor of the hiring process. In order to maximise your chances of attracting and engaging with the right talent, both skilled and culturally, consider:


You might not choose to invest in promoting your brand, but that doesn’t stop your competitors, customers and employees talking about you. Brand awareness is a critical part of PR, so take the time out to see what is being said about you on forums, via professional networks such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor and in the press. A negative industry reputation could be enough to deter candidates before they even begin to consider your opportunities.

First impressions

This is likely to be the first time a candidate comes into direct contact with your brand, and they are likely to make assessments of the tone, values, goals, corporate integrity and culture of your business. Over half (56%) of respondents who are currently job hunting say the quality of the first impression made by employers is poor or needs improving, highlighting that businesses could be losing valuable talent at even this early stage in the process.  

Quality of recruitment marketing

This encompasses all the material you use to promote your opportunities as an employer and is especially important if you are to manage the expectations of candidates. Overselling your opportunities will leave successful candidates feeling duped as they onboard, whilst underselling them might fail to capture the interest of talented candidates at all. Under a third (29%) of respondents rated the typical job advertisement as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, illustrating that employers could be doing more to distinguish their job opportunities.

Quality and ease of the hiring process

Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes and apply for one of the jobs at your company. Make a note of the structure and length of the process. The application itself should challenge candidates and make them think about their reasons for wanting to join your business, but overcomplicate the process and you risk losing their engagement all together. After all, there are 230,000 live jobs on Reed alone – if it challenges them in the wrong way, candidates will simply move on.

Quality of communication

Does your business send out a confirmation email to let applicants know their information was received successfully? How long do you take to respond to applications? Do you respond to unsuccessful applications at all? Many businesses still operate with a ‘take it or leave it’ approach to communicating during the recruitment process. If you believe your business operates with honesty and integrity, demonstrate it to candidates by showing them respect. Let them know what they can expect from the process in terms of timeframes and interviews should they be successful. Maintaining an open and timely approach to communication from the offset will make you memorable and set you apart from competitors, even if the candidate hasn’t been successful this time around. 


Despite their intentions, 35% of people considering a move believe that in reality, they will still be working for their current employer in a year’s time. For those that choose to stay in the business, reengagement is essential. So what factors influence job satisfaction and help maintain engagement? The research found that the top motivators for employees include:

  1. A job that is enjoyable and stimulating
  2. Feeling a sense of pride in their employer
  3. Senior management providing high quality leadership
  4. Being able to trust their line manager
  5. Feeling that their employer is socially responsible

This list notably lacks the tangible elements and conditions that so many employers still place emphasis on, such as salary, pension schemes and a generous holiday allowance. The results indicate that long-term stimulation and engagement should instead be driven through the availability of challenging and enjoyable work in a business that is built on integrity and led by quality managers. It’s also important to:

Utilise web-based survey tools

Tools like Survey Monkey to conduct employee satisfaction surveys. They can be filled in anonymously and are an invaluable way to measure engagement and gather candid feedback from junior to senior level staff members across the business.  

Give your employees a sense of ownership

Responsibility is such an underestimated resource, yet it can be a powerful tool when it comes to motivating and driving engagement. Task ownership is simple yet effective way to regularly empower employees, allowing them to project manage and take responsibility in a capacity that they may not have experienced before. The John Lewis Partnership engagement strategy places emphasis on direct financial ownership; employees are known as partners and share ownership of the retail businesses, which is reflected in an annual bonus scheme based on company performance and revenue. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive; just make sure the means through which you choose to encourage ownership suits your company and its culture.

Market your organisational vision internally

Businesses dedicate a huge amount of time and resources to marketing their goals and values to customers and candidates, but what about existing employees? “The extent to which you understand and support your employer’s vision” ranked seventh in the list of motivational factors, well ahead any remuneration based incentives. Disengagement brews when people lose sight of the impact they are having on the company and its long-term objectives. Wherever possible, strive to have face to face meetings led by senior managers. This breaks down hierarchal barriers and makes the company culture more inclusive. Complement this by regularly circulating an internal newsletter, and set up a feedback post box where staff can submit suggestions – anything from “more bananas needed in the fruit bowl each week” to “better communication needed to announce new joiners and leavers”. Let your people know that you want their involvement in making the business the best it can be on an ongoing basis.