Successful Talent Management Requires Creative Retention

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pinned to a corner

“Companies that survive and prosper in spite of the recession are those that practice
and invest in talent management.” Josh Bersin, Bersin by Deloitte

Retention In Recession

Not all companies responded to the recession in this manner.  Many laid off their talent, others downgraded employees, or reduced their hours.  Many others initiated hiring freezes, leaving departments struggling with too few employees. Staffing became a luxury many organizations could not afford.

But some…, some companies continued to hire, continued to provide growth opportunities for their staff, and many others maintained intended growth.  Though not easy, growing companies fought against the recession to keep on keepin’ on.  It was hard, yes.  If it had been easy, every business would have followed suit – but they did not.  It was a risk to continue to invest in staff, but companies who did (and did it well) reaped the rewards that so often follow well-executed risk.

Millions of employees were not part of such organizations.  Millions have lived with fear and uncertainty that accompanies times of recession.  And even millions more have clung to their heartfelt company loyalty, hoping for their own reward for sticking by their organizations.  And now the Affordable Care Act in the United States threatens the few who survived the last several years and survived well; it will be an interesting next two years.  Many more stories will unfold and be told.  Lessons will abound as we face even more change.

Do Trust and Loyalty Have a Price?

As the economy bobs and weaves, can companies face losing quality talent?  Quality seeks quality like water seeks its own level.  Thus, we will see migrations occur and ship jumping when seas calm enough to see beyond the next swell.  This is the time when employees can actually begin to consider their own aspirations once again as grasses look greener on the other side of town. What will companies do to keep and retain quality talent?  Offering bonuses or raises may be necessary (but often out of the question) in a tight market.  The lure may be too great for quality. Retention of quality employees is a natural by-product of employee loyalty and trust.  The price for loyalty may be high but it is not unattainable.  The job market today is ripe and human resource departments need to think “future” in order to survive “present”.

I have stayed at organizations where I was underpaid out of sheer loyalty and trust that the future would be better.  There is a price and loyalty fills the gap where pay and benefits fall short. Opportunity for growth, interesting product or service offering, great management, succession plans, and learning are great tools for employee retention during rocky financial times. Creative growth strategy is a must and a great bargaining chip when employees are tempted to play musical chairs.  Many companies say they plan to give raises, others plan to develop merit-based pay programs, and others claim to have decided to invest in learning and development opportunities for their employees.  <infograph>

Creative Retention

Are companies hiring to retain?  Or are they hiring to simply fill a gap?  Organizations which have invested in retention plans like succession planning and learning management are more likely able to survive tight job markets.  They have filled their own gaps from within.  Creating flexible work schedules and allowing for remote or virtual employ is part of that creative retention process.  These offerings, along with likable management, allow organizations to foster personal growth for their employees, built-in retention, and company culture.   A challenged but satisfied staff are less likely to look for new opportunities elsewhere.

Quality employees, the kind you want to keep, hunger for learning. They want personal growth, they want challenge, for challenge and stretching are where growth takes place.  “Learning Organizations” will benefit long-term from their employee growth investment.

One More Thought

“There is no magic formula to creating an engaged workforce that invokes positivity, creativity, and the spirit of an organization.  What may be more important is your organization’s awareness and recognition in the value of a new program or strategy that encourages collaboration, engagement within your Talent Management and Team Management Strategy.”
– Jessica Miller-Merrell, continually disrupting HR

Make it happen.  Change to retain.

by Rayanne Thorn


Talent Management Series
Part 1: The Greatest Challenge for Businesses Today? Talent Management
Part 2: Successful Talent Management Requires Creative Retention
Part 3: Culture Breeds Commitment: The Truth about Talent Loyalty
Part 4: 5 Simple Reasons You Didn’t Get The Job

**Some information presented in this series comes from the book, Ups and Downs of Talent Management in Challenging Business Environments.  If you’d like a free copy of this quick read, please email me at and I will be happy to send you a copy.  Thanks!



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