Winning Words

Opinion: The 5 C’s for retaining top talent starts with connection

Column by Michael Norton
Posted 9/24/21

This is the first in a five-part series on best practices for attracting, hiring and keeping top talent.

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Winning Words

Opinion: The 5 C’s for retaining top talent starts with connection


This is the first in a five-part series on best practices for attracting, hiring and keeping top talent. Over the next several weeks we will explore the 5 C’s that can help us better understand our employees and team members and how we can create a top performing organization that attracts the very best people. Those 5 C’s are Connection; Collaboration; Change; Consistency; and Culture.

In a recent review of why people leave their jobs and looking at results from across multiple industries and organizations, it seems like the notion that people are leaving jobs only because of a better earning potential elsewhere is not entirely accurate. Sure, everyone would like to earn as much as possible, but no longer are they willing to work in conditions or situations that are not in alignment with personal preferences, expectations and goals. Nor do they want to work in a place that makes them miserable.

Money is certainly a motivator, but depending on the data or source, money typically is a lower priority or reason that inspires someone to leave their current position. When we look closely at the current rate of job openings and the difficulty companies are having filling key positions, we might find the solution in the first C, “Connection,” when it comes to attracting and retaining top performers and the future leaders of our organizations.

When I look at company websites and interview current employees and leadership, I look for ways that the company connects team members at every level with the goals and objectives of the organization. Every business is in business to provide goods, service or solutions to their clients. The question I like to ask is this, “Is everyone on the team connected to the impact that the products or services provide to the client?”

And whatever their role is, the next question is, “Do they feel a sense of ownership, accomplishment and fulfillment regardless of how big or small their contribution?” Creating connection means that we help our team members know that their work matters and is connected to the overall success of the company, their coworkers, the customers, the customer’s customer and the community.

A strong desire to be connected to the community is something that we are seeing more and more of these days. I try and determine if there is a community connection that goes beyond the walls or virtual walls of the business. Do they come together for a local, national or global cause? Do they have programs in place to provide volunteer opportunities to serve others, including coworkers or team members who may need assistance? And although we are living in a virtual world, does the company make a strong effort in team-building?

Why does connection matter so much? For the most part, we all want to be connected to something that we truly believe contributes to the greater good. We want our work to matter. And when we can do it in such a way that we are proud of where we work, proud of our teammates and proud of the product or service we offer, that feeling of connection cements us together. It forms a bond that connects our “what we do” with our “why we do it.”

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads and along those these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” — Herman Melville

Start asking your team if they feel connected. Then ask them how important feeling connected is to their job and role satisfaction. The answers may surprise you. And if it turns out that “Connection” is important, you still have time to make changes before you lose another very talented person from your team.

How about you? Do you value “Connection”? What are some of the ways you and your company work towards being connected? I would love to hear your story at, and when we can connect all those thousands of invisible threads, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.


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