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Advice for Employers and Recruiters

18 strategies to attract and retain digital talent

Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
March 8, 2024

Those who are accountable for generating revenue for their employers understand that it is far easier to retain and even increase how much business you’re doing with a customer than to land a new customer.

Similarly, employers understand that it is easier to retain employees than it is to recruit new ones. That includes the retention versus recruitment of so-called digital workers those whose work is primarily on computers. We asked 18 thought leaders to each share one strategy they recommend for attracting and retaining digital talent in a saturated market:

  • Implement ‘Work-from-Anywhere’ Flexibility
  • Reward Performance with Early Raises
  • Offer Upskilling and Career Advancement
  • Provide Personalized Development Opportunities
  • Embrace Flexibility and Consultative Recruitment
  • Invest in Employee Growth and Recognition
  • Prioritize Continuous Learning and Development
  • Introduce a Four-Day Workweek
  • Create an Ideal Work Environment
  • Innovate with Cutting-Edge Technologies
  • Engage in Passive Recruitment Strategies
  • Build a Strong, Creative Business Culture
  • Combine Professional Growth with Financial Incentives
  • Offer Continuous Learning and Certifications
  • Cultivate a Dynamic, Inclusive Culture
  • Foster a Culture Rich in Feedback
  • Promote Autonomy and Role Customization
  • Encourage Employee Brand Ambassadorship

Implement ‘Work-from-Anywhere’ Flexibility

Implementing a ‘work-from-anywhere’ policy has radically enhanced our attraction and retention strategy.

Most remote or hybrid work policies restrict employees to either their home or the office, with no flexibility in between. Although this is presented as offering flexibility, in reality, it’s just as restrictive as full-time office work.

Digital talent, more than anyone else, values true flexibility, and allowing them to work from anywhere is a powerful incentive to apply and stay.

‘Work from anywhere’ means employees can work from other people’s homes, allowing them to see friends and family. It allows them to take work-vacations, helping them see more of the world. And of course, they can continue working from home or from a central office, whatever suits them best.

This level of flexibility does wonders for attraction and retention, as it provides unparalleled autonomy and respect for an employee’s time, something which is often in short supply these days.

Chloe Yarwood, HR Manager, Test Partnership

Reward Performance with Early Raises

Too often, companies are satisfied with employees but don’t show it. If you want to retain talent for the long term, you have to show early on that you are committed to their growth (and salary potential!). Every team member who is performing at a high level on our team gets a pay raise before their first-year anniversary, and often within their first six months. That display of appreciation and recognition creates loyal team members who stay for years.

Corey Schwitz, CEO & Founder, Skydog Ops

Offer Upskilling and Career Advancement

Upskilling initiatives can be a game-changer in a crowded digital talent market. Providing opportunities for ongoing education and career advancement not only draws in elite personnel but also shows them that you value their development. Companies may enable employees to stay relevant in a quickly changing environment by giving them access to state-of-the-art training in developing technologies. This will promote an innovative and adaptable culture that will appeal to digital professionals looking for exciting career opportunities.

Jesse Hopkins, Digital Marketing Director, Marketing Mouse

Provide Personalized Development Opportunities

Attract and retain digital talent through personalized career development opportunities. Tailor growth paths to individual aspirations and skill sets. Provide access to relevant training programs, certifications, and mentoring opportunities.

Demonstrate a commitment to employee growth and advancement to attract top talent who are seeking professional development and career progression. Foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation to retain digital talent. Make sure that your employees are working in stimulating and challenging environments. Investing in the growth and success of your employees will help you differentiate yourself in the competitive talent landscape.

Aqsa Tabassam, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, EvolveDash Inc.

Embrace Flexibility and Consultative Recruitment

With software engineers in high demand, attracting and retaining digital talent demands an understanding that developers are knowledge artists seeking creative license over sterile tasks, impact through innovation versus duty to direction.

Early on, hamstrung by legacy models, we missed opportunities awaiting only minor policy tweaks. Now, embracing workplace flexibility, from distributed teams to unlimited time off, fuels retention, while our consultative approach realizes recruitment. Rather than simply filling requisitions, we advise clients on optimizing engineering efficiency—mapping technical ecosystems, forecasting project roadmaps, even drafting job descriptions to attract specialized talent through emphasis on scope for ingenuity. Consultants are coaches guiding companies on becoming developer magnets.

The results speak loudly—last year, we expanded our network by 32% to access rare skill sets. In today’s war for talent, digitally fluent advisors make the difference through insight into attracting those prizing purpose and creative freedom. Align your team to candidly address friction points undermining recruitment and retention. Position your company as willing trailblazers, empowering talent.

Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO, EchoGlobal

Invest in Employee Growth and Recognition

Investing in your team is key to attracting and retaining digital talent in today’s saturated market. Many companies tend to de-prioritize their people resources, skipping on rewarding competent team members with raises or promotions. Instead, they focus on building short-term ‘incentives,’ thinking it’s the best way to be cost-effective while encouraging productivity. This causes good talent to seek better opportunities, which proves to have bigger losses for the company in the long run. 

Good employees must be cared for, especially those who shine and excel at their work. It’s much easier to have someone who knows the team and their job inside and out than to keep hiring new people simply because you don’t want to invest in good talent due to it ‘costing too much,’ when, in fact, it’s a lot more financially sound for long-term business success.

Jamie Frew, CEO, Carepatron

Prioritize Continuous Learning and Development

One effective strategy is to prioritize continuous learning and professional development. Create a culture that encourages employees to upskill, attend workshops, and pursue certifications relevant to their roles. Offer opportunities for mentorship and collaboration with experienced professionals in the industry.

By demonstrating a commitment to employee growth and providing avenues for skill enhancement, you not only attract top digital talent but also foster a workplace where they feel valued and invested in, leading to higher retention rates.

James Owen, Co-Founder & Director, Click Intelligence

Introduce a Four-Day Workweek

I really believe in the appeal of a four-day workweek for drawing in and keeping digital talent. At our tech startup, we’ve seen how a four-day workweek helps balance work and personal life, which is crucial for holding onto our top employees. Personally, this change has greatly lowered my stress and given me more time for hobbies and family, making me happier overall. And it’s not just me—I’ve noticed a big boost in my coworkers’ morale as well. We all feel more relaxed and focused at work, knowing we have plenty of time for ourselves.

This change has been very positive for our company. We’ve noticed an increase in creativity and productivity. Coming to work feeling refreshed and full of energy leads to more creative ideas and better solutions. Also, this schedule has made our company more attractive to people who value work-life balance. It’s clear that this change has not only made our personal lives better but has also helped our business grow and succeed.

Precious Abacan, Marketing Director, Softlist

Create an Ideal Work Environment

In an active hiring landscape like the one we’ve been seeing for digital talent in recent years, employers need to provide an ideal work environment for the type of professional they’re hiring, and be proactive in telling potential candidates that this is the work environment they can expect through their employee branding. 

The first step to do this is to identify exactly what these professionals look for in their ideal job. My best tip to get that information is to talk to the people currently working in those roles on your team. Conducting employee pulse surveys or stay interviews can do double duty in this regard, both helping you keep those individuals on your team and giving you insights on what will attract more people like them to your company. 

As a general rule, the top things that we see these job seekers looking for in an employer are a sense of purpose and value to their work, an inclusive and positive work environment, and a schedule that allows them to maintain their work-life balance. If you offer all of those things, and job seekers know that they can find them with your company, then you can often even out-compete higher-paying employers for that talent. Providing advancement opportunities and ongoing career development for your employees can also be a huge help in keeping your top digital talent around for the long term.

Rob Boyle, Marketing Operations Director, Airswift

Innovate with Cutting-Edge Technologies

We’ve differentiated ourselves by embracing cutting-edge technologies and methodologies, making our projects exciting and innovative. Talented professionals are drawn to companies where they can work at the forefront of technology, solve challenging problems, and make a real impact. By continuously pushing the envelope and encouraging our team to explore new ideas, we’ve created an environment that attracts and retains ambitious digital talent.

Phil Strazzulla, Founder, SelectSoftware Reviews

Engage in Passive Recruitment Strategies

Use passive recruiting to get to know, digitally, where your target hires ‘hang out,’ and start to really establish a relationship with them prior to hiring. That way, you can show that you understand what they’re about and where they want to be long-term, and really show that you’re taking that extra step in getting to understand why the role at your company is right for them.

Tracey Beveridge, HR Director, Personnel Checks

Build a Strong, Creative Business Culture

In a saturated market, building a strong business culture is one of the most effective strategies for attracting and retaining digital talent. You can set your organization apart from the competitors by building an environment that promotes creativity, cooperation, and continual learning. Provide flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and a friendly work environment that prioritizes employee well-being. Additionally, highlight your company’s values and objectives to attract talent who share your vision. Prioritizing a healthy and engaging workplace culture will not only recruit top digital talent but also keep them in the long run, resulting in innovation and success.

Daniel Florido, Chief Web Development & Director, Pixelstorm

Combine Professional Growth with Financial Incentives

In our company, attracting and retaining digital talent hinges on two main strategies: fostering professional development and sharing success through financial incentives. We invest in our team’s growth with the latest courses and workshops, enhancing their skills and keeping them at the industry’s cutting edge. Complementing this, we distribute monthly bonuses tied to company performance, creating a culture of ownership and shared achievements. This dual approach ensures our employees feel valued and motivated, making our company a magnet for top talent in a competitive landscape.

Juan Carlos Munoz, Co-Founder, CC Creative Design

Offer Continuous Learning and Certifications

In a crowded market, offering continuous learning that leads to recognized professional certifications makes a world of difference. This approach not only enhances our team’s skills across departments but also caters to their career progression desires, making them more inclined to stay and grow with us. By investing in such development, we ensure our workforce remains versatile and innovative, keeping our company at the forefront of the digital evolution.

Tobias Liebsch, Co-Founder,

Cultivate a Dynamic, Inclusive Culture

To attract and retain digital talent in a saturated market, a strategic approach involves cultivating a dynamic and inclusive company culture. Fostering an environment that promotes innovation, continuous learning, and collaboration is essential. We implement initiatives such as flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and mentorship programs to showcase our commitment to employees’ growth. Emphasizing the impact of their work on the organization’s overarching goals instills a sense of purpose.

Additionally, we regularly evaluate and adjust compensation packages to remain competitive. Recognizing and rewarding achievements through performance-based incentives and acknowledging digital talent’s unique contributions create a supportive workplace. Building a strong employer brand that highlights our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion further distinguishes us in the competitive landscape. This holistic approach not only attracts top-tier digital talent but also fosters a culture that encourages long-term engagement and loyalty.

Steven Mostyn, Chief Human Resources Officer,

Foster a Culture Rich in Feedback

Cultivating a culture rich in feedback has been central to our strategy for retaining digital talent. By implementing regular performance reviews, encouraging 360-degree feedback, and maintaining open channels for suggestions, we ensure that our team feels valued and heard. 

This culture of continuous feedback aids in both personal and professional development, fostering an environment where growth is not just encouraged but expected. It signals our commitment to not only the success of our projects but also the growth of our employees, making our company an attractive place for those dedicated to ongoing improvement and excellence.

Hardy Desai, Founder, Supple Digital

Promote Autonomy and Role Customization

It’s important to convey, as much as possible, not only the ability to advance within an organization but also the ability to pursue one’s interests and carve out a role that best suits one’s talents once they are a part of the organization and are ingrained with its processes, flows, etc. In a saturated market, that potential for some level of autonomy can make a big difference to prospective talent and current team members.

Laura Antenucci, Marketing Manager, Demag Cranes & Components Corp.

Encourage Employee Brand Ambassadorship

I recommend encouraging your employees to be ambassadors for your company. Having employees speak positively about your company and refer others has always been a great way to attract top talent. If your employees are happy, they can be excellent promoters of your brand and help with recruiting.

To begin, let your employees know you value their opinions and referrals, and let them decide how to spread the word. Ensure they know what your company stands for—its mission, vision, values, and what makes your culture unique. Allow them, to follow your social media policy and keep confidential information safe, to support your company on social platforms.

For instance, they could share how exciting and meaningful their work is, their personal successes, or the great things your company does for the community, like volunteer events. Also, make your employee referral program stronger. You could offer a bonus or a reward for referring someone who stays with the company for at least 90 days.

Amy Tribe, Director, OGLF (Our Good Living Formula)

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