It was only a short while ago that pools for open positions, particularly leadership positions, were overflowing with talent. We sorted applicants into A, B, and C categories, then considered only those in the A category. The market for good talent leaned so heavily in favor of employers that excellent candidates were even willing to accept lower salaries to secure jobs.

Yes, the system was most definitely tilted to the advantage of employers. How things have changed!

The so-called “Great Resignation,” sparked by the pandemic and fueled by employees having access to data comparing salaries, benefits, work location, advancement potential, and internal cultures is creating a whole new ball game that employers need to recognize and adapt to in order to find and retain talent.

In Need of a Second Look

It’s a common practice for leaders to bypass those who show potential within their organizations, looking instead for seasoned, outside talent. This practice persisted well into the pandemic. The rationale was simple: Those in junior roles could either pay their dues and wait their turns or they could leave.

Then the corporate world began to take notice of the Great Resignation (or the Great Migration), as workers became more willing to quit their jobs. Companies that persisted in their previous ways of doing business were faced with some cold, hard facts:

  • Good people were leaving
  • The pool for new leadership talent was getting noticeably smaller
  • This trend showed no sign of going away and was only intensifying

While lamenting the situation publicly, many companies were slow to modify their actual hiring practices. Moreover, the subject of retention, once an afterthought, moved to the forefront of considerations for HR departments around the country.

Why Invest Internally?

Have you ever been fortunate enough to have an authority figure recognize your future potential? Did they figuratively tap you on the shoulder for leadership development? It feels nice! In most cases, when team members are chosen, they feel a strong sense of loyalty, both toward the leader who recognized them and the company that acknowledged their potential.

Considering current pressures on companies, identifying and developing internal talent is no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity. Organizations determined to remain consumers of talent will undermine even the most modest of their HR needs.

The game has changed. We must begin asking ourselves how we will play it better. To do so requires actively identifying, developing, and nurturing internal talent as a regular part of business.

Upsides Well Beyond Retention

While creating paths to growth for those inside your company does help you retain talented team members, there are additional benefits. To foster fertile ground for high levels of productivity and loyalty, workplaces should support a culture of professional development by:

  • Supporting positive working relationships
  • Building solid organizational systems

When a junior team member gets tapped on the shoulder and receives strong levels of support to grow their skills, your business moves into a whole new realm. Just as information and rumors spread quickly when the news is bad, your company’s reputation as a positive and nurturing place to work will begin to attract additional eager and talented team members.

The Extra Benefits of Supporting Your Own

When people work as part of a high-functioning team and experience a supportive environment, time spent on drama and petty complaints is drastically reduced. An engaging, purpose-driven workplace that provides clear paths to advancement creates a momentum all its own. 

Investing in the development of your company’s internal talent may well be a necessity in these competitive times. It’s also a great business practice that will boost your team’s productivity and promote a positive work culture now and into the future!


Are you looking for creative ways to support and retain your team? Reach out and get FiredUp! today.