How to Win the Post Pandemic Talent War


How to Win the Post Pandemic Talent War

You can’t lead without people. Unfortunately, many bad leaders forget this simple truth. Instead of investing in and developing solid relationships with those they get the opportunity to lead, they complain, blame, and act as if people are disposable.  

While no great organization would advocate with this as a sustainable approach, it wasn’t the worst talent strategy for decades. Countless professionals were looking for employment, and those employed were scared about keeping their job. This put the power squarely in the hands of organizations.

However, the current environment has shifted dramatically, and the power of employment is now in the hands of talented professionals, and the best companies recognize it.  

The current talent environment has the power of employment in professionals’ possession, and the best companies recognize it.  

Research suggests that between 55% – 70% of professionals are actively looking to change jobs. Most professionals who have left or are thinking about going aren’t walking away for a small pay raise. They are walking towards leaders and companies who care about them and add value to their lives beyond a paycheck.  

Great companies change the lives of their team members, not just their bank account.

While no company or leader is perfect, there is a long list of companies going above and beyond to positively change the lives of their team members. Chick-fil-A, Movement Mortgage, Lippert Components, and Cora Health come to mind, to name a few. Creating a culture that changes the lives of their team members sounds obvious; putting it into action is a much different challenge.  

Retention Rules.

On average, employee turnover costs organizations between 1x-2x a year’s salary once they have been in the organization for over three years. A Google study found that the average employee that turns over within one year costs about $50,000. The cost of turnover is expensive, and retention is essential.  

Most leaders and organizations grasp this, but instead of implementing formal retention efforts, they go with the “Next employee up mentality.” This is a powerful mantra that many of the best sports teams live by when a player gets hurt or can’t play for another reason. Not only is it a good one, but it’s true. Every single person is replaceable, and no one is trying to change that.  

However, in a talent market like our current one, retaining high performers and great team players deserves a dedicated strategy corporately and implemented by each manager. 

The key to retention is for front-line managers to behave like leaders.

All Turnover Isn’t Bad.

One of the most significant mistakes leaders make is that believe they have to retain a team member that hurts their culture because the talent pool is limited. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Team members who aren’t willing to sacrifice their interests for the team might seem to help in the short term, but they hurt in the long run. 

There is never a good time for a leader to retain selfish team members.

Now contrary to popular belief, people do change. Especially when it comes to grasping the consequences of one’s actions. If a team member is struggling to meet or exceed the standard required to be a part of a team, make them aware. Then coach and give them a chance to make adjustments before deciding to move on.  

Be Proactive Around Talent.

A recent Korn Ferry study found by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, resulting in $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. This means the talent shortfall is here to stay, and the employment market will continue to be hyper-aggressive. What’s required to thrive in a hyper-aggressive talent market is proactivity in seeking and developing people.  

Lawrence Bossidy said it well, “nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”

Not only is Bossidy right, but it’s also never been more critical than it is today. A relentless approach to seeking talent and an equally persistent effort to develop people inside the organization are required to succeed today.  

A relentless approach to seeking talent and an equally persistent effort to develop people inside the organization are required to succeed today. 


The “how-to” strategies to improve retention, good turnover, and successful recruiting are endless.  If you want to know if your organization is doing a good job, look for these as proof:

  • Leadership development programs
  • Best in class technology tools
  • Core values highlighted in the hiring and promotion process
  • Culture of coaching and mentoring

I hope that instead of blaming, complaining, and acting as if people are disposable, you will do your part to make a difference in people right where you are.  Use the opportunities in front of you to “bloom where you are planted” because that’s exactly what the best leaders do. 

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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.