Happy Monday all. 


…So I spent the weekend reading about turnover and engagement, and this HBR article had some really good insights that got me thinking about talent attraction and retention strategy – specifically how Managers/HRBPs can use human capital data to improve turnover and progression outcomes. The below section particularly resonated with me:


“New research conducted by CEB, a Washington-based best-practice insight and technology company, looks not just at why workers quit but also at when. “We’ve learned that what really affects people is their sense of how they’re doing compared with other people in their peer group, or with where they thought they would be at a certain point in life,” says Brian Kropp, who heads CEB’s HR practice. “We’ve learned to focus on moments that allow people to make these comparisons.”


^In support of the above quote, anecdotally speaking I can say that my sense of how ‘successful’ I am is in many ways driven by how I am doing compared to my peer group (and most of my friends and associates at similar career stages feel this way as well). One moment, I might feel good about where I am in my career. But if a close friend is promoted to a level that is comparably much higher than mine in their organization and/or their total comp jumps materially higher, I suddenly find myself wondering “Am I working as hard as I could be? What is wrong with me? When will it be *my* turn?”


…In some ways this is a healthy line of thinking – focusing on the next milestone and benchmarking your performance is a good way to stay focused on your career and developing yourself. Along these lines, I have had candid discussions with peers around just this topic, and the consensus is that wanting to lead the pack/be the best doesn’t take away from our feelings of happiness for one another’s success – it just sets a new bar for the group and causes everyone to keep pushing one another to get the next title/pay/span of control progression.


That said, from a talent management standpoint I believe that understanding this relatively common line of thought around careers means organizations need to be really deliberate about where they source talent and how they retain them. For example, recruiting from a school where the median pay is 20% higher than that at one’s organization, or where potential advancement opportunities are limited against a graduating cohort’s expectations is a recipe for high turnover and disengagement. And I would note that I think many organizations have done some good work identifying what schools/opportunities/managers/profiles are correlated with high internal retention and promotion rates (and reflecting the outcome of this data in their recruitment strategies).


…I also wonder if there may be an opportunity to take this work a step further – can we use the same datasets driving our recruitment strategies today to be pre-emptive in the way we communicate and engage with talent? Who is a flight risk and why based on historical data? What sorts of outreach is necessary to retain these people? In some cases do we even want to? Being really deliberate in the sorts of discussions our managers/HRBPs are having with our talent around career expectations could be a fantastic way to drive turnover down and re-direct languishing talent to areas where they can be more successful – either inside or outside of the organization. 


I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can all use analytics – be that through a new HRIS or different reporting (Deloitte has a third party tool available that can do much of the work outlined above) – to develop actionable data that facilitates proactive discussions with key talent that might otherwise be a flight risk.