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  • Kamran Mashayekh

THE SECRET SAUCE TO TALENT ACQUISITION AND RETENTION

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

Invariably, in every field of human endeavor, there are individuals and entities that are the “standard-bearers” for others to emulate. This article will discuss companies that are thriving in the world of commerce due to the emphasis that they place on the well-being of their work force. Essentially, their core philosophy is: “We invest in our employees to optimize employee outcomes.”


The “culture of compassion” is spearheaded by the CEOs of these companies that believe that a healthy and happy workforce is just as important as a healthy balance sheet. The following companies are a few examples of how forward-thinking and committed these companies are to their core principle of “our employees first, then our bottom line.” They astutely know that if the employees feel important and cared for/about, they will produce and work harder for their company and produce outsized results.


  1. Bi-Rite Market: This entity, in addition to proffering the minimum wage of $15.59 per hour and full health insurance coverage for its employees, makes a dollar for dollar contribution on all employees 401(k) plans and up to 4% of their income. Moreover, it provides profit-sharing that ranges from 2-6% of their workers’ salaries. Most notably, any employee who works in excess of 20 hours a week, including, part-time employees, have access to and are eligible for these benefits. To further maintain a work-life balance and encourage the physical and mental well being of their work force, the company provides a robust employee assistance program including: (a) Stress Reduction Workshops; (b) Nutritional Consultations; (c) Financial Planning; (d) Grief Counseling Services.

  2. Health Catalyst Incorporated: HCI prides itself on making concerted efforts to act on behalf of its employees in need. For example, it assisted one of its employees to construct a controlled living environment for a newborn child with a rare immune deficiency disorder. Another brand new employee who was in a harrowing automobile accident, was assisted by the company in moving from her third floor apartment to a first floor apartment in the same apartment complex and placing her possessions just as they had been before in her former apartment and providing technology to stay connected and continue her work from home. Other strategies employed by the employer to create employee “mattering and belonging” consists of: (a) providing extra time off for just cause; (b) paying medical invoices to supplement a family’s health insurance; (c) sponsoring full college scholarship for the child of a deceased employee.

  3. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals: The core mission of this entity is to develop new medicines for patients in need. A considerable amount of the medicines produced by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, rarely result in huge financial rewards from their use, but their goal is to relieve people in pain without the constraints of ROIs (Returns on Investments) and meeting bottom line financial targets on a quarterly basis. The ennobling mission of this company, makes a significant difference to people that work at RP for they feel a sense of “higher purpose.” The directive from top management is rather than exclusively focus on a particular disorder, scientists are encouraged to explore their respective areas of interest in medicine for which they have the greatest ability and knowledge.

  4. SAS-CO/ Intuitive Research &Technology: These companies do a superb service to their employees by encouraging their employees to participate in group discussions regarding each employee’s best ideas in order to stimulate unconventional thinking. This is a supreme example of how to make a company’s employees feel a sense of “belonging and mattering” which is a critical component to overall employees’ satisfaction.

  5. IRT: This organization has implemented a “Creative Incentive Program.” This program shrewdly invites its employees to write a prospectus on new product ideas, work on non-work related projects and if the company’s management favorably views the employees’ ideas, it will provide “seed funding” and share half of the profits with its creator-originator. This example stands in stark contrast to an employment agreement that states that even the thought of a new product by a prospective new employee that has not even affixed his or her signature to the employment agreement is the intellectual property of the company!

  6. Pure Insurance Company: Pure Insurance Company has what is called a “Passion Program” and provides its employees $1500.00 per year to explore their field of interest in any discipline and/or endeavor.

  7. N2 Publishing: This company prides itself in finding ways to integrate its employees’ natural talents into the regimen of the organizational life. For example, the head of mail room is a talented rapper who composed and performed the theme song for his company. The Full Bleeds is a cover band made up of employees from the graphic design department that plays at their monthly company wide meetings and gatherings.

Companies that are successful in acquiring new talent and retaining their existing talent are successful in making it a point of emphasis to celebrate special occasions together and give full and due recognition to important life-cycle transitions. For example, Bamboo Inc treats birthdays as part of the holidays for the employee. Insomnia Games provides new parents with a custom onesie, and books and toys as well as baby briefcase to assist them in keeping their newborn details organized. BAF Inc sponsors employee monthly outings to baseball games, comedy clubs and Broadway shows and encourages employees’ involvement in intramural sports clubs. It also sponsors colossal family events like summer amusement jamboree and Halloween pumpkin patch festival.


Shrewd executives have a keen understanding that encouraging personal affinities and nurturing deep social bonds are the most effective antidote against team break-downs and are essential for top-flight performance by the companies’ work force. These forward-thinking executives wish for their employees to think and act like owners. This objective is accomplished by allowing the workers to control aspects of their work. The employee has moderate leeway to re-arrange, modify, alter, and improve their assignment and hence feels a sense of empowerment and ownership over his or her work product. This novel approach consequents in the fact that instead of focusing on what cannot be done, the emphasis is squarely placed on what can be done.


When CEOs are queried on why they take such proactive measures to ensure employee satisfaction, the general response is: Profit is necessary, but it is not the end-all-be-all goal. We need air and water to survive, but that is not our purpose. Our purpose is to help people live better lives.” In sum, a very successful CEO of a public company responded to the question of why his company is highly successful and his employee retention so high, his response was, “To ask the employees to be an instrument within a money-making apparatus is to ask far too little of them and giving them far too little to do and thereby depriving them of the opportunity to avoid asking tough questions about what is most important in life“.