Key Learning Points:

  1. Retaining top performers provide organisations with a competitive advantage;
  2. Retaining top performers is becoming increasingly challenging;
  3. Motivational fit improves retention rates.


Organisations are more dependent on their top performers than ever before. The retention of valuable employees is therefore crucial in the current turbulent economic climate. Retention essentially refers to “an organisation’s ability to keep the employees it already has”. Ensuring that top performers have the desire to stay at an organisation is becoming increasingly challenging given the current world of work. Contemporary organisations are faced with several challenges including extensive labour shortages, increased knowledge-work, changing workforce demographics, downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, unpredictable markets and globalisation. Such challenges have created an increasingly competitive labour market characterised by constant change. Subsequently, employees are experiencing a lack of job security, modest salary increases and enhanced uncertainty. This may result in reduced employee loyalty, a lack of motivation and ultimately, the intention to leave one’s organisation.

Turnover, or the opposite of retention, can have an alarming impact on organisations around the globe. Turnover costs South African organisations several millions of Rands each year due to decreases in productivity, loss of skills and company knowledge as well as low morale. In addition, extremely high labour costs associated with the recruitment, selection, socialisation and training of new employees may be incurred. The costs of replacing an employee are expected to range from 29 to 46 percent of an individual’s annual salary.
It is therefore evident that retention and the optimisation of human capital should encompass a key component of any organisation’s strategy. However, understanding the causes of retention may be challenging given that the reasons why an individual chooses to stay at an organisation tend to vary across jobs, industries and geographical locations. One common, prominent factor that has been identified as contributing to an individual’s willingness to stay at an organisation is motivational fit. Motivational fit occurs when a match exists between an individual’s needs and the requirements of the job and organisation.

We offer several solutions that may assist organisations in establishing motivational fit. Our assessment tools provide an in-depth understanding of an individual’s motives, talents, competency potential and preferred culture. This information may be invaluable in understanding the factors that contribute to an individual’s desire to stay at an organisation. In addition, our assessment and development centres provide an in-depth measure of talent and help to identify “high potentials”. Other solutions include culture surveys that provide benchmark data and measures of the gaps between actual and preferred culture within an organisation. Furthermore, surveys may be valuable as they allow for the monitoring of commitment, satisfaction and various cultural elements. Ultimately, we can help your organisation to identify top performers and retain your most valuable employees.