5 Tips to Retain and Attract Talent amid a Tight Labour Market

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5 Tips to Retain and Attract Talent amid a Tight Labour Market

In the first quarter of 2015, the job market remained tight as the unemployment rate trended lower amid fewer redundancies (1.8% from 1.9%). Job openings continue to outnumber candidates at the ratio of 143:100.[1] It is increasingly challenging to find the right talent for the roles you are hiring for.

In the recent regional survey conducted by jobsDB in June 2015, 51% of candidates are currently happy with their careers. Of the total candidates in Singapore surveyed, 64% are exploring to change jobs within the next 12 months[2].

Below are some strategies to competitively attract and retain talent:


Cultivate a culture of recognising contributions

Acknowledging employees based on their positive contributions – be it through individual or team achievements – is crucial to their development. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which theorised that people are motivated by growth and deficiency needs, has Esteem for its fourth level. According to the theory, everyone has a need for belonging and being respected and recognised for any achievement before being able to transcend to further grow psychologically towards justice, truth, wisdom, and meaning.

Recognising even small successes, when done at the proper time and pace, may help instil a sense of value and motivate employees to continue doing better.


Develop framework for goal setting for identifying opportunities for growth and career progression

In a Survey on Singapore Career Progression in 2014, nearly two-thirds of professional candidates are motivated by career progression opportunities more than by money.[3] Groundwork should be established for regular meetings between managers and staff for establishing personal and professional goals as well as key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help develop structures by which staff can meet their targets and further strengthen the synergy and trust among team members.


Explore learning opportunities

It is important to have constant feedback and dialogue to help staff understand their strengths, identify gaps, and address their weaknesses. Besides formal training programmes, workshops, mentoring / coaching, and performance appraisal sessions, you may consider adopting the Johari Window tool, which is created in 1955 to help people become more self-aware and conscious of their selves. The tool has windows that are presented in quadrants for identifying which qualities are known or unknown to you and your peers. The areas are:

  1. Arena/ Open: Known to others, and known to self;
  2. Façade: Unknown to others, but known to self;
  3. Blind Spot: Known to others, but unknown to self; and
  4. Unknown: Unknown to self, and unknown to others.

Reward Performance

There are various incentive schemes set in place by employers to motivate their employees. One generally adopted among the Sales-related sectors is the “performance-based bonus”, which gives a higher reward the better the performance. Such a practice can be very motivational for the staff.


Consider long-term incentives

Investing in talent and valuing years of service can also take the form of your staff’s retirement plan, which can be arranged either on an employee contribution-only basis or co-contribution basis. Such an exercise demonstrates your active interest in looking after the team’s well-being by kick-starting future investment for the members.

As talent is a valuable resource to the progress of any business, understanding its concerns and addressing them through retention and development strategies are becoming more important in the face of a tighter labour market. Successful teams are built on synergy and a caring attitude towards the welfare of the team.


[1]Labour Market First Quarter 2015, page vii

[2] SEEK ASIA’s jobsDB Happy Campaign v 1.5 Survey June 2015

[3] Morgan McKinley’s Singapore Career Progression Survey 2014