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Organizational attractiveness

There has been a proliferation of assessments of organizational attractiveness (Auger, Devinney, Dowling, Eckert & Lin, 2013; Berthon et al., 2005; Ito et al., 2013). For example, consistent ranking in the ‘Best Employer Survey’ can influence choice in seeking organizations for employment (Berthon et al., 2005; Ito et al., 2013). It is sometimes assumed that attracting and retaining talent are similar processes (e.g. Botha et al., 2011). However, a global workforce survey by Towers Watson (2012) reveals that there are clear differences in priorities between organizational attractiveness and retention (see Table 22.1).

Talent engagement

Talent engagement can be summarized as the rational or emotional commitment to something or someone in the organization, how hard they work as a result of this commitment and how long they intend to stay (Macey & Schneider, 2008; Welch, 2011). Employees who are engaged are considered to be more productive, content and more likely to be loyal (Grumana & Saksb, 2011; Halbesleben & Wheeler, 2008;

Table 22.1 Priorities in talent attraction and retention.





Base salary

Base salary


Job security

Career advancement opportunities


Career advancement opportunities

Relationship with manager


Convenient work location

Trust/confidence in leadership


Learning and development opportunities

Ability to manage/limit work-related stress

Source: Towers Watson (2012).

Markos & Sridevi, 2010; Rich, Lepine & Crawford, 2010). The growing importance of talent engagement to the organization can be seen in the increased cost of engaging employees: a survey from the HR consultancy Bersin by Deloitte revealed that $720 million was spent in the US, which was forecast to grow to about $1.5 billion (Kowske, 2012). Importantly for our discussion, a 2004 survey of 50,000 employees in 27 countries by the Corporate Leadership Council (2004) revealed a link between engagement and retention. Similar results were found in later global surveys (Towers Perrin, 2007; Towers Watson, 2012) and in academic research on talent engagement and retention in organizations ranging from business processing outsourcing (Arora, 2012; Bhatnagar, 2007; Tymon, Stumpf & Doh, 2010) and healthcare (Spence Laschinger, Leiter, Day & Gilin, 2009; Tillot, Walsh & Moxham, 2013) to hospitality (Hughes & Rog, 2008; Tews, Stafford & Michel, 2014a; Yang, Wan & Fu, 2012).

A workplace survey of 142 countries revealed that only 13% of the global workforce is engaged and 20% of the employees surveyed are reported to be actively disengaged, creating a negative atmosphere in the workplace (Gallup, 2013). What can be done to increase engagement? Much is being spent (Kowske, 2012), but are the large resources earmarked for talent engagement used effectively? The Corporate Leadership Council (2004) examined more than 300 potential factors affecting employee engagement and classified them into several overarching themes: management and leadership; financial rewards; benefits; on-boarding; learning and development opportunities; and organizational culture.

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