Gone for Now, or Gone for Good? How to Play the New Talent Game and Win Back Workers | McKinsey Quarterly

Workforce Trends

This article explains why a segment of workers had voluntarily left their organizations and accepted job offers from other firms during the pandemic. As shown in Exhibit 1, uncaring leaders, unsustainable expectations of work performance, and lack of career advancement are among the top three factors that influenced this small surveyed population to leave their organizations voluntarily. A segment of that group cited workplace flexibility, adequate compensation, and reasonable expectations about performance as top factors in their decision to join other firms (Exhibit 2). It is interesting to observe that what leads one to leave a firm isn’t always what is most important (at first) when deciding to join another organization. Also, while understanding why workers join or leave an organization is vital to creating a compelling employee value proposition, firms can pull another talent lever to attract and retain the talent they need: expanding their talent pool by uncovering hidden talent—both internally and externally. Millions of workers and job candidates have skills and a desire to perform a role or line of work, but often go undetected. A few tactics firms can employ for discovering hidden talent include: 1) Expanding work requirements to focus more on skills versus a narrow set of requirements, such as requiring a college degree or industry experience, if it is not essential to success in the role. 2) Helping build hiring managers’ capability to be open to talking to non-obvious job candidates who otherwise have the skills to do a line of work. 3) Offer returnships that make it easier for workers — who took a career break for childcare or other personal reasons—to return to the workplace. Such a program helps remove the stigma that often comes with a break in one’s career. These are just a few of many tactics firms can implement to expand their talent pool. What are three ways your organization can uncover hidden talent? 

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