Winning the Talent Game with Retention

IRI Podcast episode on Talent Acquisition and Retention

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of this recording, there are a record 11.5 million job openings in the United States – and HR professionals understand all too well the challenges of filling those vacant positions. However, as we all fight this “talent war”. It’s important that we not lose sight of the employees we currently have. Keeping them motivated and engaged maintains productivity, fosters better teamwork and collaboration and prevents us from the task of having to replace them. Today's guest is Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer at Vistage. Here, he explains:

  • Rebound comparisons between 2008's Great Recession and today's Great Resignation;
  • Why talent retention should be addressed prior to acquisition efforts;
  • The importance of creating Workplace FOMO; and
  • Four ways to futureproof your retention plan!

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


Perspective on the Great Resignation

  • Following the 2008 Recession, it took years for jobs to bounce back because the economy was broken. During the pandemic, the economy was shut down , but it rebounded very quickly.
  • The Great Resignation has received a lot of attention, and workers are looking for more: more money, more responsibilities, and more benefits.
    • This has created a power shift because everyone is looking to hire, and people are looking to upgrade their opportunities.
  • During the pandemic, people got used to working from home, and didn’t want to go back.
    • Employees, especially younger employees, want more than just income from a job, but also want purpose, and to feel like they are connected and valued.
    • Additionally, technology has made it easier for people to look beyond and shift jobs, and find opportunities with values that are important to them


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Talent Acquisition and Retention

  • Everyone is looking for new talent, and there is not a huge influx in potential new employees, causing serious problems with talent acquisition and talent retention
  • Before you can create a dynamic and successful hiring strategy, however, it is important to try and retain the employees you have.
  • These talent challenges are hurting small businesses because it affects productivity and there may not be someone immediately available to replace workers.
  • Before you can hire, organizations need to establish talent retention strategies.
  • Talent retention creates a more stable culture. In small and mid sized businesses, processes and workflows also rely on people, so by retaining these employees, you are also retaining your workflow.
    • When someone leaves, the workflow breaks down and you need to rebuild.
    • Losing talent costs more in the long run, and leaves more up to chance than a reliable, stable talent

Retention Rates

  • Strong retention rates depend on the role and the industry.
  • Talent retention depends on voluntary retention and involuntary retention.
    • Sometimes people do not fit, and you might not want them in your business, and that won’t change
    • Other times, people are a good fit, but they don’t want to stay, and the reason why that is needs to be measured.
  • You may find a good retention rate when it is better than the previous month or the previous quarter.

Asynchronous Strategies

  • Talent acquisition and talent retention should be treated separately and distinctly 
  • When thinking about potential employees as customers, you need to develop a strong marketing plan, and you want to generate attention for what you have to offer.
    • You want to develop a message about why your business is somewhere that people want to work, and this is appealing to talent acquisition
  • Talent retention, on the other hand, is amplifying the message of what a good place your business is to work onto existing employees. Therefore, you want to craft a consistent message about your company’s culture and values. 

Retention and Hiring Strategy

  • It is important to futureproof your retention plan by reinforcing: 
    • Salaries: 72% of CEOs are increasing salaries to attract talent, but you also need to think about the employees you already have, and use money for talent retention as well.
      • Even though it may cost money to increase the salaries of existing employees, it still costs less than talent acquisition and a new salary. Talent acquisition takes longer and costs more in the long run.
    • Company Culture: It is also important to look at your company’s culture for employee retention and acquisition. People are thinking about what a company’s work from home policy is, what an office culture looks like, and what managers are doing to make their team feel connected. It is important to create an environment that people want to be a part of, and encourage people to show up and be present in the workplace.
      • While this is more than an incentive to come into the office, it's about making sure people also have flexibility, choice, and responsibility. 
      • Companies and leaders can also create group activities and projects to encourage people to be there to perform better, and actively engaging with the team.
      • Having group activities and incentives in the middle of the week has a better chance of engagement than on a Monday or Friday when people might be working remotely. 
      • It is also about making the work, meetings, and projects have meaning so people are more inclined to be involved and present.
    • Stay Interviews: Taking the time to do stay interviews initiates a temperature check on how employees are doing. It is an informal, yet focused, review of how talent sees themselves in the company, how they are taking advantage of the bonuses the company has to offer, and their development as an employee and they are vital for talent retention. By conducting stay interviews 2-4 times per year, you can learn what is important to employees, understand their long-term goals, and stay connected to your employees. While HR can do stay interviews, it is empowering for managers to conduct them so they can remain connected to their employees and has a greater impact on their day-to-day lives. 
      • People want to know what the goals, standards, and expectations of a company are, and if they individually, and as a team, are on track to meet their goals. If they are not on track, it is important for managers to help employees get them back on the right path.
      • Stay interviews are designed to focus on the employee, understanding what is important to them in their job, and where they see themselves moving forward. 
      • It is important to share the results of stay interviews with HR for shared learning. Sharing information helps people learn faster, and if the same issue is being brought up in different stay interviews, it can pinpoint what issue needs to be addressed, and how to do so.
    • Management Development: It is important to invest in companies and their teams. The roles of managers have changed a lot since many companies started going remote/hybrid, so the dynamic is different when managing someone in person, versus managing someone remotely. Managers need to go beyond traditional management skills, but create a vision for where their team or organization is going. Additionally, they need to connect with their employees to see their views and actions regarding the organization contribute to the overall vision. 

Onboarding and Retention

  • An initial experience with a company is one of the most impactful, so having a strong and positive onboarding experience is vital for overall, long term retention.
  • Jobs are two dimensional; you do your job and get paid. To make a job three dimensional, you need to add a human quality and connect with the people there.
  • There is a direct correlation between a positive onboarding and new hire experience and productivity and long term connection with the business.


  • Vistage is an organization that provides coaching for CEOs, business leaders, owners, and peer advisory groups. 
    • Vistage’s goal is to have content to help small and midsize business leaders become better leaders and to make better decisions.
    • The company forms groups with leaders from different industries to get different and more diverse perspectives, to see what challenges other leaders face and to provide context on leaders who are dealing with similar issues.
    • Vistage believes that leaders learn best from other leaders, and create an environment for leaders to engage and learn from one another. 
    • They also offer webinars through the Vistage Research Center with helpful research and information. 
    • More information about Vistage and their mission can be found here with resources, blog posts, and information sessions for leaders. 

Joe Galvin Background

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Economics from Illinois State University
  • Began his career in sales, transitioned to Research positions with Gartner and Miller Heiman
  • Currently serves as Chief Research Officer at Vistage.



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