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The best ways to attract (and retain) talent in 2023

Written by Lien Ponnet on 20 December 2022 for Companies

The Great Resignation, the Big Quit, the Workers Revolution and many more terms have been coined to describe the current workplace transition. Employees are recalibrating what they expect from their employers. It’s no surprise that hiring and retaining people is one of the most difficult challenges companies are facing. The competition for talent intensifies. So if you want to kick your HR goals in 2023, you should include these four recruitment and retention tactics in your strategy.

1. Reputation is everything

What is the word on the street about your company’s reputation? Is it good, bad or non-existent? Whatever it is, you need to know and try to bring it up to excellent. A company’s reputation plays a vital role in attracting and retaining top talent. Did you know that most job seekers today research an organisation’s brand and reputation before they even consider applying? And they are looking for more than just salary, benefits, and catered lunches. They want to know if your brand’s values and vision align with their own beliefs. Platforms such as Glassdoor make this incredibly easy so it’s probably a good idea to have a look at what people are saying about your organisation.

So, what factors shape corporate reputation?

  1. Products & Services — Employees increasingly seek value and purpose at work. They want to make a difference and will be more likely to choose your company if your product or service offering is safe, sustainable, and socially relevant.
  2. Company Culture — A winning company culture rests on a diverse and inclusive workforce. Organisations that embrace individuals who bring unique and varied perspectives and experiences to the table are more likely to spark creativity, open-mindedness, productivity, and innovation.
  3. Mission, Vision & Values — Job seekers are motivated by mission as much as money. Having leadership and a workforce that truly embodies its organisational purpose gives employees the much needed “why” and allows them to connect on an emotional level.
  4. Financial PerformanceWeak financial performance could provoke a perception of instability as well as poor quality of products & services and discourage candidates from applying.
  5. Corporate Social Responsibility — Today, employees are more compelled to engage with purpose-driven companies that are taking action to overcome economic, social and environmental challenges.
  6. Emotional Appeal — The most intangible asset of any company, but probably the most important one. People want to feel proud of the company they work for. They are looking for a sense of belonging.

Is your company’s reputation on point? Great! Now you need to get the word out.

2. Employer branding to the rescue

How your company is perceived by job seekers determines how effectively you attract and retain top talent. You can easily compare it to attracting customers. And while marketing is a way to communicate with customers, employer branding enables you to speak to potential candidates. Crafting your employer brand essentially comes down to marketing your company as a great place to work. But make sure you can deliver on your brand’s promises!

There are several ways to navigate employer branding in the ever changing “new normal”. The three most effective ones are candidate relationship management, candidate experience and social media.

  • Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) — A solid CRM allows you to keep a finger on the pulse with past applicants and silver medalists. Tapping into that passive talent pool will help you fill those open vacancies more efficiently in today’s competitive market. Especially when no less than 87% of active and passive candidates are open to new job opportunities! (source: LinkedIn)
  • Candidate Experience — It’s one thing to attract star talent, and quite another to keep them hooked throughout the application process. Your Candidate Experience has a big impact on your Employer’s Brand, whether positive or negative. Job seekers turn to review sites such as Glassdoor to share their experiences. So you better step up your game.
  • Social MediaSocial media is the easiest way to signal your employer’s brand to your target audience. You have access to a multitude of channels and can use a variety of formats to share company stories, showcase employee testimonials, demonstrate appreciation, flaunt perks & benefits to give potential coworkers powerful reasons to want to work for you.

One of the best ways to cement your perception of a top employer is to have your company endorsed by your employees.

3. Referral is real

Referral, aka recruiting candidates through your own employees, is widely acknowledged as the most cost-effective and efficient method to sign quality hires. It makes perfect sense since employees know your company best and are able to determine if a referred candidate is likely to be a good fit. This allows you to start your candidate search much further down the funnel, eliminating time-consuming outreach activities. And that is just one of the many benefits. Employee referral statistics show that there are many advantages to this recruitment approach (source: ErinApp, Jobvite):

  • 82% of employers rated employee referral above all other sources for generating the best ROI
  • €7,500 per hired employee referral is the amount saved in productivity and sourcing costs.
  • Employee Referrals are 5x more likely to be hired
  • 45% of employees sourced from employee referrals stay for longer than 4 years, and only 25% of employees sourced through job boards stay for over 2 years.
  • 40% of hires are referred by employees

Happy employees are the best brand advocates and are willing to do some of the groundwork for you. The best way to keep them happy is to offer them flexibility.

4. Remote work is here to stay

A staggering 90% of employees globally want flexibility in when and where they work. 90%! It is clear that your employees are not willing to relinquish the sense of autonomy they’ve acquired during the coronavirus lockdown. And why should they? Remote work offers a better work-life balance, less commute stress, considerable saving and most importantly, it enables employees to work for companies around the world. It literally broadens their career horizons.

But don’t despair. Remote work offers a lot of benefits for employers too. One of the considerable benefits of teleworking is having access to a broader range of job seekers seeing you’re no longer limited by geographic location. This in turn improves inclusivity as you are able to hire people from different socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds. On top of that, allowing people to work from home can save a company some serious money. A typical company in Belgium can save around €10 000 per year for every employee who works part-time from home (source: Jobat). It can also positively increase your sustainability as less commuting means fewer greenhouse gasses, less light pollution, less heating, etc. Moreover, studies show that productivity and performance increased significantly during lockdown times.

The Netherlands have understood the value of remote work and the country is even going as far as including it in its constitution. In July the Dutch House of Representatives approved the “Work Where You Want” act, requiring employers to weigh up the interests involved in a request to change the workplace to the employee’s home address or to a work location within the EU.


So how do employers get employees to join the company—and, more importantly, stay—in today’s challenging hiring market? Simple. Organisations need to respond to the attitudes and aspirations of a more empowered workforce. A sustainable recruitment and retention strategy essentially comes down to supporting job seekers in their pursuit of happiness. As you know by now, a happy employee will find you another motivated three.

About Exellys

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator. We bring tech talent into the daily operations of the organisation of our customers and grow them for the innovations of tomorrow.

From the 1.500 tech talents we speak to annually, we select the top 7%. We intensively train and coach them on the right skills and competences. Our (scientifically based) training programs (Start Smart, Grow Smart & Lead Smart) accelerate the growth of our talents, and therefore also the growth of our customers.

We “unburden” our clients when looking for and retaining tech talent. We are committed to getting the best out of talent, while our customers can continue to focus on their core business.

We do this for organisations who want to strengthen their team permanently, as well as those who are looking for a flexible, project-driven solution. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help.