As many companies know all too well, retaining the best and brightest talent can be surprisingly challenging. Keeping your top-tier talent content can often require a well-balanced work-life structure, along with promising upcoming promotions, interest in duties and responsibilities, an appropriate initial salary and worthwhile benefits. Ultimately, ensuring they are committed to the business is a great challenge.

But what can companies do to get there? How do companies attract this talent in the first place?

A great first step is to make sure that what is presented in job postings, by internal and external recruiters as well as by referrals, reflects your company’s best, employee-facing qualities. Prospective employees might be initially impressed by the fact that Company X is the number one automaker, or that Company Y was the highest grossing retail company in 2013. But, what really helps attract top talent is when companies have a well-articulated and discernable employee value proposition (EVP):

  • Essentially, the return on investment that employees receive for their business performance and personal career investment with you as an employer.

Top companies understand that a high business priority is having an effective method for attracting candidates. In fact, 86% of “Leader” companies identified in the Cielo Talent Activation Index research survey – companies that rate their performance as “excellent” in achieving at least two of their top three strategic talent objectives – have “very effective” EVPs with regard to attracting the top talent needed to grow. This is compared to just 13% of “Laggard” companies, who rate their performance as “average,” “fair” or “poor” in achieving their strategic talent objectives.

Organizations often strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors by creating and publicizing a unique EVP. Comparatively, candidates and employees have different goals, expectations and needs from their employers. Interestingly enough, prospective and current employees share a lot in common; they want growth opportunities, a quality salary, great company culture and more. Per Aberdeen’s Talent Acquisition 2014: Reverse the Regressive Curse research, “Best-in-Class” companies understand the importance of these employee-facing benefits more than all other companies combined (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Do You Grasp the Importance of Employee-Facing Benefits?


High performers want to know in advance that they will be appreciated and looked after during their tenure. What a great way to show appreciation in advance, by providing a clear and cohesive employer brand from the very start!

For example, make an enjoyable and seamless candidate experience a top priority. Companies focused on an effective, relatable, reliable and maturing employer brand see a return on investment. Aberdeen’s Talent Acquisition 2014: Reverse the Regressive Curse research shows that “Best-in-Class” companies are 42% more likely to define the employer brand, 20% more likely to communicate that brand and almost twice as likely to consistently evaluate the effectiveness of the brand compared to all other companies.

Both parties, the organization and its employees, can proudly say that a well-articulated corporate brand looks out for current and prospective employees with a strong work-life balance at the center. A great return on investment is when employees tell friends, family and previous colleagues about how their company is consistently interested in their development, while also giving them great benefits. It’s even better when employees are proud enough to share their thoughts on websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

After all, isn’t word of mouth the most cost-effective way to recruit top talent?

Interested in identifying your greatest talent strengths and areas of opportunity? Complete Cielo's complimentary Talent Activation Assessment and instantly receive your results via email.

This guest post is provided by Aberdeen Group’s Human Capital Management Research Analyst, Zach Lahey. Zach produces data-driven research to reveal Best-in-Class strategies for learning, talent acquisition, wellness and other employee-centric initiatives. Prior to working at Aberdeen, Zach worked as a researcher and also served as a recruiter for several years. Zach graduated from Dickinson College with a dual Bachelor’s degree in English and Sociology. Connect with Zach on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.