Strategies to attract, retain and grow talented teams

In a tight labor market, companies compete to hire and retain top-tier talent. A strategic approach to talent acquisition and retention benefits both the company and team members.

Tight labor markets give candidates power — they can afford to be selective regarding companies that offer the best overall package, including corporate culture, flexible work practices, advancement opportunities and compensation. Creating a corporate culture that attracts and retains employees leads to an engaged workforce that fuels an improved bottom line.

Below are some methods that I have found effective for elevating corporate culture.

Focus on leadership development

At Clark Schaefer Hackett, we use a combination of in-house and third-party resources to identify team members who possess character traits that will make them effective leaders. These traits include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

We have a Leadership Development Academy that selects team members to attend. The academy is a two-year program that allows team members to obtain a comprehensive understanding of leadership issues, ranging from public speaking and giving high-impact presentations to conflict resolution. Each academy class selects a project that will have an impact on the organization. At the conclusion of the course, they present their project to executive management. Successful past projects include:

  • Transitioning to a one-firm concept brand in lieu of a geographically based brand strategy.
  • A career progression guide, which has become a cornerstone of our HR, succession planning and retention strategy.

Our leadership academy was launched in 2009, and multiple graduates have risen to the level of partner or principal.

To help shepherd future leaders through their careers at CSH, we assign an experienced mentor to each academy student. We have found it effective to use mentors from other offices in order to broaden the perspectives of both the mentor and the mentees.

Organizational cohesiveness

We want all team members to feel included, and we foster groups to help team members form relationships with their peers. We have an Advancing Women in Leadership group and a Young Professionals group. Firm management supports these groups, which provides team members with the time to participate in all events and meetings.

As we have offices in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan, these groups are supported throughout the firm. We encourage AWIL and YP members to participate in joint meetings with similar groups from other companies. Joint events allow our team members to exchange ideas regarding effective programs and to benchmark our offerings relative to their peers.

Improve the talent at your organization

Talent attraction and retention is an issue facing many companies. Here are some resources you might find helpful —,, and

I encourage you to consider how you can apply some of these initiatives at your organization.


Jane Pfeifer, CPA is a Shareholder in the Columbus office of Clark Schaefer Hackett is a top 100 CPA and advisory firm that provides expert guidance in data analytics, strategic HR, operational process improvement and technology.
Jane specializes in taxation. She leads CSH’s not-for-profit tax group and works with closely held small businesses.