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Key skills retention and motivation: the war for talent still rages and retention is the high ground

Clayton Glen (Director, HDA, London, UK.)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 January 2006




The paper sets out to examine effective, practical and holistic people strategies that address key skills retention, employee engagement, employee motivation and attendance gaps, with a view to positively impacting on organization costs, productivity and business performance. The paper also seeks to examine the value of assessment and feedback in talent engagement and retention, and to look at developing employees via experience‐based development initiatives.


The paper commences with an assessment of a matrix of the “hot buttons” or “predictors”, which need to be consciously managed – with significant potential returns, where managed well. The paper examines a holistic matrix of nine employee engagement predictors: process; role challenge; values; work‐life balance; information; stake/leverage/reward/recognition; management; work environment; and product. Reference is made to a case study in which this matrix formed the basis of the organization's people management strategy.


Workplace context is key. Take a holistic view of the key elements of the business most likely to impact team engagement, motivation, attendance and retention, link individual assessment directly to the key drivers of the business, and recognize that key talent is likely to thrive on experience‐based career leverage opportunities.


Provides practical guidance to senior HR professionals and business leaders for developing a successful strategy for key skills retention and employee engagement.



Glen, C. (2006), "Key skills retention and motivation: the war for talent still rages and retention is the high ground", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 37-45.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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