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.

Why the Best Leaders Invest in Their Most Important Assets

Man holding small gift boxes with his index fingers

Leaders make tough business decisions every day that vary in importance and size.  Due to the Coronavirus, many leaders are being forced into making critical decisions with less time; one of those is, where to invest in order to be better-positioned as they emerge. 

When the current economy is on shaky ground and the future is murky, the pressure is on for all leaders to choose wisely.  After studying many great leaders, one thing is abundantly clear;  

Great leaders constantly invest in their most important assets

There are two key terms in this concept; invest and asset.  When someone invests, they put time or money into something, hoping that there will be returns greater than what was originally allocated.  An asset is simply a valuable thing, person, or quality. 

This means that leaders must put their resources (time, money, or effort) towards something they value. When resources are reduced, the residual capital must be deployed with strategic calculation in order to ensure the future of any team or business. 

Great leaders keep this in mind when investing in one or all of the following assets:

Invest in People

One of the most popular sayings from C-suites across America has been, “our people are our most important asset.”  With the massive influx of technology into the workplace, most organizational leaders don’t believe this to be true anymore.  In fact, employees didn’t make the top 5 in a Korn Ferry Study

However, elite company cultures like Southwest Airlines, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks have been beating the drum of being in the “people business” for decades with phenomenal financial returns. Regardless of where you or your organization falls on this concept, the thoughtful commitment to people is at the center of every great leader.  

A phenomenal example of this was demonstrated by Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage when he delivered a message to his company this week.

“We don’t celebrate numbers, we celebrate the names attached to those numbers. People give the fight a reason.”

Not only is Casey and Movement Mortgage at the forefront of technology in their industry, but valuing and caring for people is at the center of why they do what they do. 

If you believe people are your greatest asset, invest in them, even when times are tough.  With many organizations being forced into furloughs, I am blown away at the commitment of companies who continue to make efforts to develop employees who aren’t currently on the payroll.  This will ensure that these employees are both better prepared when they return and that they continue to feel like part of the team.  

Invest in the Future

The best leaders have an ability to focus on the immediate, but never lose sight of the long- term. Since the only constant is change, investing in the future comes in one of two ways; acquiring it, or building it. 

The examples of leaders who acquired the future are long; Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1B when almost everyone other than Gary Vaynerchuk thought it was a terrible idea; Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 against the consensus of tech writers; and, Salesforce invested $100M in Zoom well before their IPO.

While acquiring the future is great if you have the capital, leaders who invest in building the future are the ones I love. Building knows no size or geography; it just requires a group of people obsessed with innovation, solving problems, and a commitment to make it happen.  

This can also include further investing and building out the “goose that lays the golden egg.” Many organizations have a product or service that is already outstanding. So instead of building something brand new, they invest in making their one great thing 10X better. Thus making it even more valuable or easier for their clients or employees to use.

Invest in Yourself

Learning never stops. The moment leaders stop investing in themselves is the moment teams begin to go backward. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” When it comes to investing, nothing will pay off more than educating yourself.  There is a reason why the old leadership adage “you can’t give what you don’t have yourself” is true.  

Not only will your continued investment in yourself pay off, but those you get the opportunity to lead will take note. It won’t take long for you to see them adopt your habits in their own learning journey.

A few of my favorite ways to invest in yourself  include:

  • Surrounding yourself with the right people
  • Reading or listening to content that helps you develop
  • Taking online courses or attending seminars
  • Creating content to help others (can’t share what you don’t have)


As Peter Drucker famously said, management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things. Great leaders do the right things by investing in their most important assets so their team is better positioned to be successful.

Instead of blindly making investments during this time, evaluate what your most important assets are and then come up with a strategy to invest properly in them.

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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company making virtual training easy and effective. 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 and host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

What the Best Leaders Do During Lunch (and Why You Should Copy Them)

Grey alarm clock with knife and fork

There is immense value in a solid morning routine. Ariana Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Howard Shultz, and countless others have well-documented routines they claim greatly contribute to their successes.  

Since each day has the same 24 hours, why shouldn’t we evaluate all minutes equally? I did just that when I reached out to many of the great leaders I studied in Building the Best to find out exactly what they do during lunch. Their answers varied, but they all have a common theme: focus less on food and more on health. By health, I mean the health of their relationships with others.  

Always Focus on Relationship Building

We’ve all seen a CEO or boss eating their lunch alone. While it might happen occasionally, the best leaders don’t make a habit out of it. Jason Lippert, CEO of Lippert Components, said, “If I do eat, I never eat alone. It’s always with one of my teammates or customers so that I can work on developing meaningful relationships with the most important people to our business.”

Leadership is all about relationships and what better way to build relationships than through the breaking of bread. When you do this, you get to know people at a deeper level and can see learn who they are and why they are the way they are.

Bypass solo lunches at your desk and make a point to rarely eat alone. 

Excercise with a Group

The lunch hour is a popular time for professionals to make their way to the gym. Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage, who is a former NFL Player and the fittest CEO in America said “I don’t spend a lot of time eating during my lunch hour. I can eat in 3 minutes but it takes me a lot longer than that to work out. I structure my day to where I can workout in the Movement Gym with other teammates. Turns out to be a great opportunity to collaborate with others, knock out my daily health goal, and check-in with new Movement employees I don’t know well yet.”

Not every leader has a gym in their office but Casey’s routine is a powerful one. Not only is he focused on his health but he is building new relationships with employees. Instead of allowing the lack of gym to hinder your exercise with others, ask teammates to go on a walk outside or head to the closest gym.  

Focus on What Goes In

Most leaders have such busy days they rarely get the opportunity to carve out a whole hour for lunch. Chip Brewer, CEO of Callaway Golf, spends as much time as he can with team members during lunch but he also leverages healthy options, “I’m very particular about what I eat. When traveling, I’m often at a lot of big dinners. When in the office, I eat a low carb and low sugar diet – lots of salads with chicken.”

Not only is Brewer worried about his waistline, he knows he is fueling his momentum for the rest of the day. By switching out your favorite carb riched lunch with something lean and healthy, your afternoon performance will see a jump.  

The moral of the story is to use your lunch hour to build strong relationships and a healthier you. Whether you’re focused on one of these activities or all three, you will be serving yourself well as a leader.

Here is the question to ponder or tell me what you do in the comments section:

How often do you eat with your team or how often does your boss eat with you?

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.