Retention of Talent & Employee Motivation
- A challenge before the HR professionals


Mrs. Anuja Shukla
Lecturer (HR&OB)
Global Institute of Management


Retention of talent and maintaining a motivated and contended workforce are, perhaps the biggest challenges before the HR professionals. It has become more significance and assumes greater importance in era of open economy and cutting edge competition.Corporates and HR professionals are busy devising new and innovative management practices and ideas towards keeping their personnel motivated, satisfied and always available for giving their best efforts towards achieving organizational goals and objectives. Keeping the above in view new ideas and practices, tools have developed and are in practice in organization of all sizes like golden hello and golden handcuff to retain and motivated the best talents.

Key wards: Retention, workforce, golden hello and golden handcuff.


Retention is a big and a constant challenge for every organization today whether to talk of any corporate sector or any educational institution. It is a Herculean task for most organizations in the modern era of globalization and competitive business. Successful organizations realize employee retention and talent management are integral to sustaining their leadership and growth in the market place. Becoming an employer of choice by retaining high caliber employees in today's labour market should be the highest priority. HR professionals all over the world are breaking their heads to formulate Retention Strategies but nothing is working-out in their favour.

Organizations that do not put their emphasis on attracting and retaining talents may find themselves in dire consequences, as their competitors may be outlaying them in the strategic employment of their human resources.

There is an old saying you can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink: it will drink only if it is thirsty-so with people. They will do what they want to do or otherwise motivated to do. wheather it is to excel on the workshop floor ,they must be motivated or driven to do it either by themselves or through external stimulus, thus it is imperative on the part of an employee to be stay motivated and a productive workplace is maintained and developed and employees derive satisfaction from their job.

Retaining quality workforce is a tough task for many HR professionals in today's aggressive job scenario. And now with the job market slowly opening up, the challenge now is to retain the best by offering incentives that ensure employee engagement and empowerment.

Key employee retention is critical to the long term health and success of a business. HR professionals readily agree that retaining the best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, and satisfied coworkers and reporting staff, effective succession planning and deeply imbedded organizational knowledge and learning. Now since the job market has become a battleground over talent. Now Indian corporations are busy weaving out new strategies to attract and retain talent. For bigger players, cash incentives and full variable payouts are the primary areas to concentrate upon. Whereas smaller players need to differentiate themselves by concentrating on performance-based variables and through empowerment. There are many tools used by the human resource (HR) departments across industries to retain and stimulate the best talents, which propel talented peoples to stay motivated and remain in the organizations.

* Golden hello and Golden handcuff: The golden hello as the name suggests, refers to a joining bonus and is an incentive offered to a select set of new recruits, mostly middle and senior level executives poached from rivals who are well known in industry or are skilled in a niche area. The bonus could be in the form of ESOPs, cash incentives, non-cash incentives or a combination of all three. The Golden handcuff refers to cash incentives and full variable payouts meant to keep important talent within the organization.

Career  Planning and Growth strategy:

Growth and development are integral part of every individual's career. If an employee cannot foresee his path of career development in his current organization, there are chances that he will leave the organization as soon as he gets an opportunity .Thus the HR professionals should provide to its employee's opportunity to grow, learning and implement. It includes continuous learning and improvement of the individual, certifications and provision for higher studies, etc. Do recognize the achievements if made any. Growth and development should be recognized and encouraged in order to make an organization a learning organization and making learning on an on-going basis. By providing various career oriented programs, technical certification courses, trainings in new fields can attract, motivate and retain talents in an organization.

* Attractive Compensation Package:

Compensation and various employee benefits, now-a-days are being shaped according to what the employee wants rather than what the employer can give. Compensation constitutes the largest part of employee retention process. Effective and sound remuneration policy must be constructed to attract, maintain and retain talented peoples in an organization. In the crisis of talent hunt HR professionals should design the compensation package as such talented peoples are attracted, motivated and retain in the organization. Attractive compensation package includes high remuneration, various monetary and non monetary benefits, bonus,incentives,frindge benefits, medical facilities, paid holiday vacation, retrial benefits like PF&graruity,employee insurance, maternity leave, merit scholarship, company accommodation and transportation facility, company sponsored study, credit cards etc.Moreover many companies are offering innovative benefits in order to retain talent. Apart from such now a days other forms of pay are designed by companies like variable compensation, executive compensation, pay for performances, skill and competency based pay.

LG Electronics has devised a retention bonus scheme for its middle and top level management whereby a person can receive 100-150 percent of his/her basic pay annually for three years.

Wipro Technologies also introduced a stock option scheme for senior employees ,which is done to build a reward mechanism and offer opportunities to generate wealth along with growth in the company.

* Employee Empowerment:

One of the basic strategies to retain talents is to empower the employees by enlarging an employee's job responsibility by conferring him the authority to get things done without becoming over burdened or distressed.
By empowerment, the employees are supported and encouraged to utilize their skills, abilities and creativity by accepting accountability for their work. Empowerment occurs when employees are adequately trained, provided with all the relevant information and the best possible tools, fully involved in key decisions, and are fairly rewarded.

Congenial Work Environment:

An effective employee retention program is a systematic effort to create a good Quality work life by providing congenial work environment. People wants to work for an organization which provides: A friendly and cooperative environment, ample opportunities to grow, appreciation for work done. A congenial work environment includes: good organizational culture,values,company reputation, quality of people working, good working conditions, fostering employee development and growth, using leading technologies,
flexible work environment that welcomes new ideas, risk taking, and doesn't carve all decisions in stone, trust, good employee relation. It also includes efficient managers, supportive co-workers, challenging work, involvement in decision-making, clarity of work and responsibilities, and recognition. The environment should be such that the employee feels connected to the organization in every respect. Other supportive work environments that can attract and retain talents in an organization are: flexible timings, alternative work schedules, vacations, wellness etc.

Reward and Recognition Scheme: There should be an effective reward and recognition Scheme inplace.High performers should be suitably rewarded and recognized by the management .Rewarding employees for their exceptional performance through incentives, gifts, free vacations, paid holidays etc can boost the employee morale. A high performer should be recognized by the management so as to get the best and stay motivated .Various recognition programs should be designed such as: On-the-spot award, Employee appreciation, Nominated recognition, Award of best employee of the month/year, peer to peer recognition, Anniversary/length-of-service celebration etc.

There are various non-financial motivators that also reinforce talents to retain in the organization such as

* Issuing commendation letters to meritorious employees.
* Sponsoring employee visits for advanced training and exposures.
* Publishing their names in their in-house magazine or notice board.
* Giving additional responsibility as a challenging assignment.
* Recognizing for outstanding performance.


There is no two opinions that it is only motivated employees who can do wonders for the organization. Moreover a motivated employee has also a sense of belongingness and ownership for the company. He would be proud to see his company grow and prosper. Thus, it becomes imperative for the organization to ensure its personnel are motivated and contended.

Talent can only be retained by engaging employees at professional, material and emotional levels. They should be given professional opportunities through training, face time with senior management, fast track promotions for the HIPOS (high potential employees) and increase in scale and scope of work. Also engage them materially by giving differentiated compensations and benefits higher reward and recognition at all forums and engaging them emotionally means having a greater connect with the immediate manager, reviewers through face time, skip and other initiation and engagement interactions. Thus, it becomes imperative for the organization to ensure its personnel are motivated and contended.


1. ICFAI university ,Human Resource Management
2. ICFAI Review,ICFAI University February,2010
3. K.Aswathapa,5th edition ,Human Resource Management
4. P.Jyothi,D.N.Venkatesh,Human Resource Management
5. Times Of India May 2010.

Mrs. Anuja Shukla
Lecturer (HR&OB)
Global Institute of Management

Source: E-mail August 23, 2010


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