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Year End - Attracting and Retaining Talent

Quote: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” - Richard Branson

The holidays are an excellent time to not only press pause and reflect on how the year transpired but it’s the optimal time to celebrate your employees. Some people like to look at whether they achieved their planned goals or maybe even exceeded expectations. Others may analyze the pitfalls and focus on why things happened the way they did. I want to address what companies can do to be good to their employees, which inevitably keeps them working for you.

As an executive coach, I witness many companies struggling to keep their people happy and to attract others. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars, chasing talent. The same companies lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars losing talent. Sound familiar? It should because it’s more common than not. Not everyone shares the struggle. If you are curious and would like to know the cheapest and most effective ways to retain and attract talent, I have a solution for you, and before I do, I want you know, it may be simple but it’s certainly not easy.

Remember Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS)? This phrase came from engineer, Kelly Johnson, who was lead at the Lockheed Skunk Works makers of spy planes and is still used widely in business. The simpler, the better. Think about it. If something is simple, you can understand it. If you can understand it, you can do it, and if you can do it, you can do it more. This is a process of refine and repeat.

Here are three simple steps:

1- Recognize your people

2- Acknowledge your people

3- Appreciate your people

The simple concepts of: Recognize, Acknowledge and Appreciate apply to building a positive work culture, creating an environment where people want to work and stay for many years. People want to work in a place where they feel welcomed and respected. They will contribute more and suggest others for jobs within that company as well. Offer your people a place where they can learn and grow.

Let’s say you go to a party, and everyone is happy to see you. They engage with you, offer to take your coat, and maybe compliment your appearance. Perhaps later in the party they check in on you, see if you need anything, and before you leave, let you know how much they enjoyed having you. Would you want to leave? I wouldn’t, and I might even want to be invited to the next party. If I shared my experience with a friend, they might want to be invited too.

David Pearson is the senior vice president and manager of people at ExtensisHR, a leading professional employer organization (PEO). ExtenissHR is an outsourcing partner for businesses, taking everything under the human resources umbrella and managing that for clients. Extensis-HR has won accolades for being a great employer from:, Stevie awards and A+ on Comparably and is certified in Great Places to Work. David says that they listen to employees’ needs by gaining insight through a pulse survey, which highlights personal interests. He believes getting to know his employees goes a long way in offering many ways to appreciate the work they do.

David states that the most important thing to remember is, “it’s your people who are driving your business and culture.” He suggests four things that are key: open communication, recognition, building a positive culture, and having supportive empathetic managers who listen.

So, remember that this time of year is an opportunity to thank everyone in your company for their hard work and dedication. I promise, this is key in doing business and is an investment in the future. Who will you recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate this season?

If you have any suggestions for future topics or comments, please reach out at and I will reply.


Robert Paulson


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