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Is your Organization Prepared?

With vaccine penetration approaching herd immunity levels, businesses rebounding and re-opening, and more optimism around a “return to normal” there is yet another pandemic looming that threatens business: A talent pandemic.

The covid aftermath is impacting the enterprise’s most precious asset – its core talent. And top talent has an evolving, if not yet fully clear, framework of how they are defining their expectations for the new workplace. How companies recognize and address this will determine their ability to recover and move forward.

The Issues:

“Burnout” – Executive leaders, especially top performers, who have managed to keep the business running under these unimaginable conditions, are burning out in greater numbers. People are exhausted and want a break. With equity markets strong, some will no doubt turn in their badges, cash out, and take time off.

“Flight Risk” – The day-to-day “unsung heroes” of your organization have been busting their rear ends, many doing double or triple duty, picking up the workload from those that were downsized out. Many are stretched well beyond capacity, are fed up, and feel taken advantage of. With an improving economy, they are flight risks to be picked off by your competitors or might change careers altogether.

“Depleted Benches” – Attrition and inadequate succession planning pre-pandemic have depleted the bench strength of many organizations in critical functions.

“Diversity Priorities” – Most organizations are, and have been, woefully underrepresented in leadership roles. Employees are not only more aware, but actively pushing for more change, and watching to see if there is leadership accountability. Diversity talent is at an all-time premium and most companies need to take overdue action.

The Solutions:

So, how can you best prepare your organization to inoculate itself from a “talent pandemic? Here are a few ideas to consider:

Incentivize top performers – It’s not always about money but demonstrating commitment and customizing incentives for your top talent is key to keeping them. What motivates your top people? Do you have customized incentive programs (such as paid sabbaticals) that can be leveraged to keep your best people engaged and motivated?

Sidelined talent is standing by – A lot of quality talent was side-lined/furloughed during Covid. Many are anxious to get back in the game, have valuable skills, good judgment, and a real motivation to be working/contributing. Many are more motivated by benefits than compensation and are willing to be flexible in their requirements.

Cross-train high performers – Are there areas of the company where your organization is over-staffed and you can move talent to fill gaps? This can help to broaden skill sets and build bench strength.

Marshall, Richard. “The Looming Talent Pandemic” SHRM, May 19, 2021,