Talent Retention


Statistics show that Millennials are likely to stay at an organization for no more than 3 years, on average.  This baffles Senior Management (mostly Boomers), who cannot fathom why.  According to Joyce Russell, President/EVP of Adecco Staffing USA, exit interviews reveal that Millennials wish to have flexibility, and feel happy and valued.

While a student at Claremont Graduate University, I remember Peter Drucker once told us that professional women tend to opt to either join smaller companies or become “solopreneurs” after having experienced working for large organizations.  Educated women weigh and work their options.  Consequently, many have “opted out” of large organizations.  Southwest Airlines understood this and became the leading business in a saturated airlines market precisely because they tapped into America’s highest underutilized talent base: women.  JetBlue (founded by ex-Southwest employees) followed suit, and has also capitalized on market share by hiring those who wish to work from home.

Consulting with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) employees for 10+ years, I can attest that supervisors at J&J know that if they hire someone, that person is talent.  Period.  Talent is never to be set up to fail.  If you look good, they look good.


How to Keep High-Potentials (Everybody)

  • Proper On-Boarding. Get your new talent to participate in a professional on-boarding program.  Teradata offers a two-week program every quarter.  All of its new talent flies in from around the world to attend.  General Electric does the same for three weeks.
  • Perform a New Leader Integration. Between 30-90 days, an Organization Development practitioner should conduct a half-day process of integrating the team and leader, so that expectations are aligned and questions are answered.
  • Boil It Down to Two Closed-Ended Questions. If the supervisor has two affirmatives, then the accountability falls on his/her shoulders as to how the talent did not succeed &/or got away.  If there is even one Yes, then there is evidence that the supervisor is lacking managerial competency.
  1. “Is this person critical to your team success?” It’s easy for managers of common organizations to say after an employee has departed, “Well, we didn’t need John/Jane Doe.  S/He wasn’t that organized* [*fill in whatever adjective].”
  2. “Is this person at risk to leave the organization?” This requires on-going communication between manager and direct report.  And, an Individualized Retention Plan (IRP).  IRP’s tap into what exactly motivates each person to show up and perform at his/her optimal level.
  • Tie Retention into Compensation. One way to get Senior Management’s attention is to attach talent retention into the supervisor’s bonus.  Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin engages in this Best Practice.  Policy has enabled managers to point the finger back at themselves.  However, one local CEO has his bonus written in his contract that he is to receive his annual bonus, regardless to the fact that he has led an organization which has conducted seven consecutive years of lay-off’s (and at Christmas, no less).
  • Equitable Practice. This last topic brings us to equitable management.  Just like you wouldn’t treat your parents or children (if you have any) exactly the same, you would know as a supervisor that each person has different needs.  Tailor and adapt your practices to each direct report.  This is why there is a Boss Day in Japan; because, supervisors are expected to be mindful of the particular needs of each person on the team.  One failure = collective failure.

If your manager doesn’t understand these principles, then s/he is not talent; signaling a red flag.

Exit stage-left.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

©Rossina Gil, 2014



Joyce Russell, CABLE Board Walk of Fame, 9.30.14


About Rossina

Thought Partner & Corporate Primatologist

Posted on October 5, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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