Retaining talent in today’s workplace: A psychological perspective

08 December 2021 3 min. read

Rishita Mohlla, an Associate at Posterity, outlines why talent retention (ensuring that talent is retained within the organization) has become imperative in the modern workplace from a psychological standpoint, as the approach used has implications for multiple aspects of the overall organization and its culture.

Talent retention is a key human capital lever for any organization. If talent excessively leaves, the ‘talent gap’ creates a loss of knowledge and knowhow (and a potential resourcing bottleneck), while requiring significant investments to search, hire and onboard new employees.

As a result, it is essential for HR leaders to not only retain talent but also understand the various psychological implications an organization may have to bear in the case of loss of capable resources.

Retaining talent: A psychological perspective

Retaining talent from a psychological mindset

At Posterity, in our work with clients, we come across various talent retention strategies, but typically, they are generic and encompass the surface level factors. In order to retain talent, a deeper understanding of the psychology behind the behaviour is required to cater to the challenges that can be encountered.

Some of the common psychological factors that deserve attention are:

Implicit behavior
Attention to monetary factors alone may be incomplete and misleading both at times of hiring a talented resource and also during times when a talented resource tends to leave. Understanding factors like their implicit behavioral patterns (not prominently noticeable) alongside their explicit behavioral patterns (which are more prominent`) may aid significantly.

For instance, an employee losing interest in work, being irregular, unproductive, could be some blatant factors. But an employee behaving uncivilly (being rude and discourteous) towards his/her colleagues or even seniors could be one implicit factor that could speak about their losing interest in work. Another example: a productive employee that all of a sudden starts showing fewer efforts towards his/her work.

Attitude towards work
Attention to employee’s attitude towards work. For instance, an employee who admires his/her work but all of a sudden does activities that expresses negative workplace attitude like back-bitching about seniors could be another means of identifying his/her changing perceptions on time and deal with them, which down the line could enhance the odds of retention.

Workplace commitment both as an obligation to fulfill the responsibilities and a sense of emotional belongingness could be another way of retaining talented mindsets. For instance, various organizational commitment questionnaires can be used to assess the sentiment of employees from time to time. Those scoring low on these questionnaires could then be approach in order to boost commitment.

Employee motivation
Employee motivation could be another means. For instance, a highly motivated employee is energetic, self-driven and focused on work. If at any time, an employee starts losing these qualities, it can be a signal that an employee faces an issue.


Talent retention is imperative, both from a governance and human resources perspective, but equally so from a psychological perspective. Early identification of potential retention risks can provide the basis for on-time mitigation, in turn minimizing attrition and maintaining organizational productivity.