As Economy Grows, So Must Talent Retention

As our economy grows stronger, the war for talent will intensify. It’s why Talent Acquisition is one of the hottest topics among our research member clients. Lost in some of the thinking is a very important topic — talent retention — and it’s a big problem for most organizations today.

Brandon Hall Group’s goal is to help our clients drive organizational excellence, and I have yet to see any business have great success if it doesn’t retain top talent. It’s very difficult to succeed unless you can retain 90% of your employee base. If you have to keep hiring new people, it’s incredibly expensive and takes the focus off growth.

The job market is quickly turning into an employee’s market from the employer’s market we have seen since the implosion of the era, when it was not uncommon to have a new job every year, or even every 6 months. (Job hopping wasn’t necessarily good for the overall economic health and I often wonder what would have happened if companies had better retention strategies like so many do now).

Many companies also notice a remarkably higher rate of turnover among first- and second-year employees. To combat that, progressive companies such as FirstEnergy Corporation, an $18 billion utility company, have implemented new onboarding programs to help drive more of a connection with the company among its newest employees.  Mike's Blog 6-4 2

Overall, reducing turnover of top talent needs to be an organizational priority.  It is not HR’s sole job, nor is it solely the manager’s or executive’s job. There has to be a strategy to keep good people. Employees usually leave companies because of poor culture, a large culture shift (like when a large company buys a smaller one – you usually see huge turnover), unclear goals and purpose, lack of feedback and generally poor career-path support for employees.

As we enter into this new employee market, the best performing organizations will be those with the best Learning and Talent Management strategies that all tie into increasing talent retention.

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Mike Cooke



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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.