Leaders of organizations should strive to control the controllable to win the talent war, according to Joe Galvin in an article for Inc. After all, the labor shortage has reinforced that people are the lifeblood of a company.

What to do with this tidbit?

Galvin points out that leaders are faced with a variety of factors that are outside of their control (i.e., a global pandemic, international war, supply chain slowdowns, inflation and even the labor shortage). But employee retention – one of the most important and impactful considerations of all – falls directly within every organizational leader’s domain. Keeping top talent on staff is an invaluable recruiting tool, as well as the only way to truly win the talent war.

Sure, pay is important. But it’s not the end-all-be-all. Employee experience or creating an environment that people want to work in, is the most holistic and effective way to approach retention.

Employee experience can be broken down into three entirely controllable elements: culture, workplace and boss.


A leader’s most important job is embodying the culture they desire and pulling it through to the entire organization. Culture can stop an employee from applying elsewhere, and make a candidate choose one organization over another. It must be authentic, and it must come from the top down and be brought to life for the worker by their “boss.”


On the most basic level, business leaders must regularly invest in physical workspace. As we settle into routine, flexibility will become custom-fit to each team’s needs and responsibilities –there is no one-size-fits-all solution to where and when all employees should work. For instance, individual tasks like writing, processing spreadsheets and completing individual work are more productive when done from home, but collaboration, innovation, problem-solving and team building are best suited for in-person.


People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. Bosses control and dictate their direct report’s entire work experience. They build their job description, define their tasks and activities, measure their performance, and even charter their growth and salary. No one has greater influence over an employee’s day-to-day experience than their boss.

With increased pressure to retain employees, the new boss is more than just a manager. They are a leader, creating their work group’s vision and determining how that connects with the organization’s overarching mission; they are a conduit of culture, disseminating it to their direct reports who may be any mix of remote and in-person; they are a coach, driving employee development on an individual basis.