Retain Your Company’s Champions Using These 4 Defensive Plays

By: Daniel Mormann


When reviewing talent acquisition planning & strategy for 2019, we commonly focus our efforts on attracting and pursuing top industry talent.  A pro-active, OFFENSIVE recruitment strategy focused on aggressively seeking passive candidates is critical.   However, you must allocate the same amount of energy on your DEFENSIVE strategy to be a winner in your talent strategy game.  When 51% of employees are considering a move from their current company (Gallup Report 2017), what are you doing to strengthen your retention for 2019?

Here are 4 key areas to think about as you build a defensive strategy.

  • Understand the “WHY” for each of your team members. Given the amount of career opportunities available in the current market, why did that person choose your company?  Is it the work/life balance, or remote working opportunities?  The brand recognition of your company? The international travel?  The unique culture in their department?  The values the company practices?  The community impact they make?  The amount of customer/consumer face time?  The ability to work closely with executive leadership?  Narrow down the primary reason and optimize their daily experience through exposure in the top areas.


  • “WHY” Exposure. If your team member chose brand recognition, position them for opportunities to speak about your company’s brand.  Can they participate in trade shows or speaking engagements?  Do you include them in external marketing efforts?  How do you position them to enjoy the experience of sharing your brand?  If you work for world renown companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Google, or Titus Talent 😊, individuals may have chosen your company for this reason, be certain to capitalize on their experience of sharing your brand.


  • Company Culture & Sub-Cultures can make individuals feel like they belong or stand out from a group. Collective beliefs, practiced values, social and professional behavior can often define a team’s culture.  Understanding your team member’s preferred culture on an individual level is important when aligning teams for success. What company core values do you practice most?   How often do you prefer to interact with your team members?  Are team lunches energizing or stressful?  Do you enjoy networking events, or avoid them?  How do you re-energize when you’re stressed?  Who do you enjoy partnering with the most?  Understand what you can do to help position them for a positive experience within your company culture.


  • Career Development can mean different things to different people in your organization.  Make sure to gain a PULSE on where this ranks for each person.  Ask questions surrounding their one, two, and five-year career plans.  Define the top five performance objectives for their current role, along with the details of how they are measured.  Discuss what needs to take place on an organizational level along with their individual contributions in order for them to grow and develop.  Make sure to outline an accountability plan for both the leadership and employee including time frames.  Forward, honest, transparent conversation is key!

Offensive Wins Candidates But Defensive Wins Your Champions

Remember, strong team retention provides the foundation and incentive for external top performers to consider joining your company.  That’s why a strong defensive strategy is so critical not only to your current team members, but future ones as well.

Once you’ve gained insight on your team member’s individual WHYs, culture preferences, and career development goals you’re positioned well to build a strong DEFENSIVE recruiting strategy while also supporting your OFFENSIVE goals for the year.

To learn how to develop a stronger defensive strategy to engage and retain your top talent, connect with us!


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