4 Ways To Win Over And Retain Top Talent During The Great Resignation

Heidi Lynne Kurter
5 min readJan 31, 2022


Candidates are abandoning the live-to-work mentality and focusing on creating a better work-life balance | Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

The Great Resignation is here and it’s not going away until businesses make a serious change. Employees are tired of one-sided work relationships and are taking a stand by quitting their jobs. Karin Kimbrough, chief economist at LinkedIn, said, “the number of American’s quitting their jobs right now is higher than ever.” In fact, more than 24 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in the second half of 2021 alone.

There are a variety of reasons fueling The Great Resignation such as

  • Pursuing new career paths
  • Low pay
  • Lack of respect
  • Health risks
  • Misalignment with the company’s values
  • Taking a break due to burnout
  • Wanting better benefits and more flexibility
  • Growth opportunities
  • How they’re treated by management, leadership, and their peers

The pandemic has given workers a chance to self-reflect on what’s truly important to them. As such, they’ve started evaluating how they fit into the company in which they work. Employees don’t just want a higher salary and a good benefits package.

They want

  • to feel like a valued member of the team where their voices are heard
  • have access to resources that will allow them to do their job
  • feel supported and appreciated
  • the autonomy to set their own schedules
  • a healthy work-life balance
  • more growth opportunities, to name a few

Companies are at their wit’s end as they desperately try to attract and retain talent. Yet, they’re not talking to their existing talent to see what they want and how they can retain them. Instead, they’re making demands that are actively pushing their top performers to leave. For example, many companies are requiring their workers to return to the office full-time, but they haven’t talked to them to see if that’s what they want. An online study conducted by LiveCareer found that 81% of professionals enjoy working remotely and 65% said remote work has positively affected their work-life balance and mental health. After working remotely for almost two years, workers have embraced the flexibility they have and are unwilling to give that up. In addition, some schools are still online which makes it impossible for the parent to return to the office.

Here are four ways you can win over top talent during the Great Resignation.

Evaluate Compensation And Have Transparent Pay Bands

Employees want to be compensated fairly for the work they do. Payscale’s Fair Pay Impact Report revealed that employees who felt that their organizations aren’t transparent about their pay practices were 183% more likely to look for another job. Conversely, employees who felt their company was transparent were 65% less likely to seek out new opportunities. If companies aren’t paying their current employees at the market rate now, those employees are going to leave which will lead to companies having to replace them and pay the new employees that same rate. Rather than lose money trying to replace an employee, pay them what they’re worth now.

Sara Hutchison, CEO of Get Your Best Resume, asserted, “transparency in pay is crucial in today’s job market and, in my experience, one of the largest reasons is salary compression.” She explained, “when a new employee is brought in and holds the same title as the existing employees but makes more money because of market demand, this makes existing employees feel demoralized and undervalued.” Kia Roberts, founder and principal of Triangle Investigations, added, “there was a period of time where job-seekers would be hesitant to ask potential or current employers about pay. Now, employees are demanding transparency around pay, pay differentials, and pay bands.”

Be Flexible In The Type Of Work Offered

Despite the increase in resignations, most employers believe the labor shortage is a temporary disruption. However, J.P. Morgan predicts that it will outlast the pandemic. For this reason, if companies want to succeed during the Great Resignation, they should consider non-traditional ways to find and retain talent. Oftentimes, freelancers and contractors are overlooked due to not pursuing traditional employment. As a result, companies miss out on top talent that’s right in front of them. According to Vox, the number of US independent workers grew by 34% in 2021.

The future of work is about flexibility. If companies want to attract and retain talent, they need to adopt more flexible working conditions. The Future Forum Pulse found that flexibility ranks second only to compensation. The data found that 93% of workers want a flexible schedule and 56% are open to new job opportunities that provide that flexibility. An Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work survey discovered that “one in two people won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work after COVID-19 and 77% agree that having the option to work from home would make them happier.” By giving employees the trust and freedom to complete their work outside of the 9–5 constraint, companies are able to appeal to a wider talent pool while retaining their existing talent.

Invest In The People Experience

Investing in talent is more than providing pay raises, training, and benefits. It’s identifying non-traditional talent to fill organization gaps, seeking employee feedback on company decisions, creating mentorship programs, fostering a healthier work environment, having approachable and supportive leadership, and dealing with toxic employees immediately. According to MIT Sloan Management Review, “a toxic company culture is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation.” Employees would rather be unemployed while they search for a job than stay stuck in a toxic workplace.

Moreover, employees want to be actively involved with the decision-making in the company since ultimately they’re the ones impacted by the decisions of the higher-ups. To attract and retain top talent, companies will need to actively remove hierarchical barriers and focus on creating partnerships with their employees. This is done by opening lines of communication, seeking feedback, encouraging employees to speak up, and making sure their concerns are addressed.

Create More Inclusive Policies

Companies should revisit their workplace policies and update them to be more inclusive. Prospective and current employees want to know that companies care about them as a whole person rather than the work they produce. Some things employees face are infertility, pregnancy loss, being a caretaker for a family member, battling mental health, or dealing with health issues, to name a few. When companies fail to acknowledge the stressors an employee faces outside of work, they destroy the loyalty and trust of that employee. Take the time to update parental leave policies, improve mental health programs, establish flexible working arrangements, and be sure to gain feedback from employees to see what’s important to them.

Likewise, companies should evaluate their holiday calendars to be more inclusive to those who have different spiritual, cultural, or religious beliefs. Consequently, non-Christians and individuals from different backgrounds aren’t represented in company holiday policies. To create a more inclusive workplace that attracts and retains talent, companies should consider offering floating holidays or having swappable holidays where workers can celebrate the holidays which align best to their religious, spiritual, or cultural beliefs.



Heidi Lynne Kurter

Forbes senior journalist, workplace culture consultant, leadership coach, domestic violence advocate, workplace bully activist and Corgi mom!