Insider Insights: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent

By Greencastle Consulting

Now more than ever, organizations need top talent. Companies are trying to do more with less resources, less budget, and less time. But attracting (and retaining) top talent to do those tough tasks requires more than just nice pay and benefits. A strong workplace culture creates work/life balance. It makes work a place that people enjoy clocking in to. And sometimes it makes employees reconsider leaving their roles—like the employee boomerang phenomenon.

Most people associate a boomerang with the Australian curved piece of wood that comes back when you throw it. At Greencastle, a boomerang is an employee who left to seek employment elsewhere and then returned to work here.

What makes a workplace culture strong enough to entice former employees to return? While there are many reasons, there are a few themes we’ve seen when talking to our “boomerangs.” Here’s our takeaways and insights from those conversations.

Positive Employee Experience

The “boomerang phenomenon” shows how culture creates a positive experience for employees so much that former employees enjoyed their time enough to return. But prospective talent is looking for more than pay and benefits. They’re looking for an environment where they can show up and be their authentic self.

“At Greencastle, I think employees can be more of themselves,” said Pat Curran, a director at Greencastle.

And while pay and benefits are important, a positive experience through a strong culture means so much more. “I was happy when I worked at Greencastle and I realized that was more important to me than a title or the additional pay [at another company],” said Aaron Schwartz a consultant at Greencastle.

Strong Company Culture

A strong culture is more than perks like a bar in the office, snacks, a golf simulator, or even free lunch (though all of those are nice). But a solid culture comes from the top, with leadership that truly believes in what the company is doing and why, and lead by example through core behaviors.

“What I really found was a sense of shared vision, purpose, comradery, and leadership that was fair and supportive,” said Andrew Parise, a consultant at Greencastle.

A strong culture is dedicated to the organization’s values, invests in employee development, and is one where all employees are committed to moving the organization forward.

Professional Development Opportunities

When employees are given opportunities to learn and develop themselves it shows the company is investing in them for the long term. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that when employees participate in professional development programs it ‘can lead to increased job satisfaction as employees feel more confident in their ability to meet the demands of their work.’

“I became confident in my work, took on additional client projects, earned a raise, and watched the company grow,” said Andrew.

When companies invest in their employees, employees will work to help the company grow.

Work-Life Balance

Strong cultures are made by a shared commitment to company values. At Greencastle ‘Adult Rules’ means employees are self-managed to create the right work-life balance for themselves. A good work-life balance means employees should never have to choose between work or family.

Times have changed, and most families have two parents working full-time. Add that to a world that never stops and remote work that makes it difficult to end the day, and you have a recipe for employees who are struggling to choose between getting work done and taking care of their family (or themselves). ‘Your family comes first’ is one of the core behaviors at Greencastle and is a commitment to supporting our team members. Making it clear for employees that family, themselves, and their well-being come first shows a culture grounded in caring.

Community Focus

When organizations have a united community focus it gives employees a common purpose. There are many ways to support communities either financially or through volunteering, but each gives employees a sense of purpose. As a 100% veteran-owned and entirely veteran-operated company, Greencastle strongly supports the Veteran community. When Pat described his desire to return he appreciated the “intentional effort to foster and grow the network of veterans in the Philadelphia area.”

When an organization is dedicated to creating a strong culture, it sets conditions for retaining current and bringing back former employees. The boomerang phenomenon is a sign of a strong workplace culture that will attract, retain, and even entice former employees to return.