Here’s What CEOs Said About Attracting and Retaining Talent in Today’s Job Market

Jun 11, 2021


This morning Gilman Partners hosted a roundtable with CEOs from across the region to talk about the current state of hiring and talent, what organizations are doing to attract and retain employees, and what trends leaders expect to see in the coming months. Here are some of the highlights from our discussion:

  • Each of the CEOs who participated in our roundtable agreed the talent shortage is a challenge and said the issue has made its way up to them.
  • Several leaders noted they’ve seen more candidates than usual turning down job offers. In some cases the candidates are receiving significantly higher offers from other companies (up to 20-50 percent more) and other job candidates are using new opportunities/offers to get a higher counteroffer from their current employer.
  • Flexibility is quickly becoming a top priority for employees and job seekers and, as a result, many CEOs are wrestling with how to incorporate more flexibility into their own workplaces. Professional services and consulting firms are more likely to offer opportunities for all employees to work remotely, but organizations in other industries are making decisions about which roles can be done remotely, which need to remain in-person, and which can be a hybrid. One leader talked about finding ways to engage his in-office team by upgrading technology and the physical office space.
  • Organizations are tapping into new talent pools including late-career professionals, working mothers, or teachers who are available in the summer months. Many are also utilizing more contractors, who might have left traditional roles for increased flexibility and control over their schedules. 
  • The pandemic has accelerated retirement plans for many Baby Boomers and one leader in our discussion said his organization is capitalizing on that trend. By specifically targeting and hiring late-career professionals, his organization is able to bring on experienced and loyal team members who will remain with the company for an average of five years. During this time, those employees can help train and develop next-generation leaders who will step into their roles. Another CEO is giving employees close to retirement the opportunity to work remotely and on their own schedules as a way to extend their tenure.
  • Because the talent pipeline in fields like accounting and engineering isn’t keeping up with the demand for workers, some organizations are looking at ways to split job responsibilities. This allows them to hire professionals with less technical experience to take on parts of the work that can be taught on the job.
  • Organizations struggling to attract and hire new workers know they must focus on retaining current talent. That’s why several of the CEOs talked about taking a more proactive approach to re-designing the employee experience. One leader noted his organization is stepping back and re-thinking every employee touch point starting from the hiring process. Many others talked about developing customized employee career paths to help team members understand how their career can progress and what is expected of them. One CEO referred to the “Adaptive Employee Experience,” noting that thoughts around the workplace, culture and employee needs are constantly shifting and employers must remain flexible in their policies.
  • The CEO of a consulting firm talked about the “stay calls” and “save calls” he has with employees. While save calls are necessary to retain those who are considering new opportunities, he prefers to be proactive with stay calls that help team members understand their value to the organization and what their career path may look like if they remain with the organization.

Although wage pressure may slow in the coming months, each of the CEOs in today’s discussion agrees the talent shortage isn’t likely to ease up for the foreseeable future. Most plan to focus on retaining and developing current talent and finding creative ways to make their organization and culture increasingly attractive to today’s job candidates