May 19, 2020

6 ways to attract and retain top talent

John McMalcolm
3 min
6 ways to attract and retain top talent

Good employees are hard to find, and they can be a valuable asset to a company if they can be retained for long periods of time.

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Replacing and training employees can be costly, because it takes considerable time for new employees to reach a high level of productivity, and staff shortage, even if only temporary, can result in missed deadlines and operational problems.

As such, it is essential for businesses to have an effective strategy for retaining good employees.

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Fair Salaries

Employees understand that some positions pay better than others.

A receptionist does not expect to be paid as much as the general manager. However, businesses have to make sure that they pay the same salaries to employees who perform the same duties and responsibilities.

Perks and Rewards

Offering perks and rewards can go a long way towards keeping employees satisfied and motivated.

One example of a Canadian company that has a good employee incentive program is Regina-based Kenlin Design Group.

Kenlin allows flexible work hours, offers fitness subsidies to help its employees stay healthy and organizes several staff events every year.

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Organizational Culture

The happiest employees are those who get along with their colleagues.

A work environment with flexibility, minimal stress, attitude of acceptance and supportive culture makes employees look forward to coming to work every day.

Winnipeg-based Protegra is one of the Canadian companies that place great importance on hiring people who are a good cultural fit.

According to its founder and CEO, Wadood Ibrahim, an employee who is not a good cultural fit can be detrimental to a company even if he or she is very talented.


Employees want to be recognized and appreciated when they are doing a good job. Sparing a little time to appreciate an employee or writing a thank-you note can mean a lot to him or her.

As mentioned in an article entitled “5 Items to Attract and Retain Talented Employees at Your Happy Workplace", acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of employees can contribute significantly to workplace happiness.


Employees also want to know what their employers think of their work performance.

Other than giving annual reviews, companies should also make a point to offer positive, thoughtful and honest feedback to their employees from time to time to help them improve.

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Professional Development

Employees will be motivated to perform better if they have opportunities to advance in their careers.

As such, it is essential for businesses to provide professional development opportunities for their employees, so that they will be able to develop the skill sets needed to assume higher positions.

British Columbia-based Back in Motion helps its employees achieve their long-term goals by offering a lot of opportunities for training and further education.

The best thing that businesses can do for their employees is to provide them with a high level of job satisfaction.

Happy employees can contribute greatly to the success of a company for many years.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to growing your business.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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