Best Practices

Best Practices for Implementing Talent Rotation & Retention Programs

January 2018

Talent rotation programs are a win-win, providing resources for employees to continually evolve as effective leaders who can grow their careers and allowing companies to have a well-rounded group of leaders in their talent pipeline that will add business value.


• Developing diverse high potential employees is a vital part of succession planning and retention for organizations.
• Company leaders who are committed to organizational growth and sustenance are now looking at ways to identify and cultivate top talent within their ranks to ensure a strong and profitable future.
• Talent rotation programs expands the capacity of individuals to perform in leadership roles within organizations by developing abilities and behaviors needed to excel.
• Talent rotation programs are a win-win, providing resources for employees to continually evolve as effective leaders who can grow their careers and allowing companies to have a well-rounded group of leaders in their talent pipeline that will add business value.

Talent Retention Best Practices

• View employee engagement as an inclusion measurement tool that predicts retention
• Look for the commonalities across the differences, the differences among the commonalities
• Leverage cross-cultural competence is a key to retention
• Boost retention by supporting what matters most to diverse groups.

Talent Rotation Program Best Practices

Industry Trends and Priorities

Job rotation is a powerful but underused strategy for addressing key or strategic

According to McLean & Company’s HR Trends and Priorities Survery (2016):

The top three trends in addressing key vacancies are:
• Identifying roles or competencies that will be lost to retirement in the next 3-5 years.
• Creating programs to promote internal talent mobility.
• Focusing L&D training on development for key roles.

Companies with job rotation programs have an increase in the effectiveness of
their L&D programs, yet only 24% of organizations are using job rotation programs
as a key learning and development method.

Successful Talent Rotation Programs

The IBM General Management Leadership Development Program (GMLDP) is a premier leadership development program for top MBA graduates from leading global universities hired into IBM on an accelerated path to General Management leadership. IBM’s world-class leadership development programs, networking experiences, and mentoring and coaching opportunities with senior executives will help to build your skills and to make an impact at IBM.

The GM Leadership Development Program offers a unique opportunity for career development across IBM in various areas such as Cloud, Watson, Digital, Offering Management, and experience in consulting, business development, marketing, sales, and corporate strategy or operations. Program participants will complete three, one-year rotations. You will get an opportunity to work on meaningful and strategic projects that are critical to the business.

Intel IT’s College Graduate Rotation Program is a unique technical and leadership development program designed to transform top college graduates into our future IT leaders.

Texas Instrument’s offers employees to collaborate and innovate system solutions to business problems during their three-year rotation program.

Employees explore multiple areas in the world of IT as a business analyst, system administrator or application developer. Participants can expect to be a valued member of the team and gain a strong understanding of business processes, how to develop quality solutions and enable business decisions.

Talent Retention Best Practices: IT

According to TekSystem’s research results on talent retention in the IT industry:

• Two out of five IT leaders say their organization struggles to retain IT talent.

• One-third of IT leaders have no specific expectations for how long an employee will stay with their organization.

• More than two-thirds of IT leaders report retention is a challenge across all skill sets they manage.

• Only nine percent of IT leaders expect IT professionals to stay with their organization for more than five years.

Make sure it’s a match: “IT workers tend to stay longer and find more satisfaction when they feel they can ‘own’ their work and it’s something they influence from a creative point of view.”
Reduce burnout: In today’s fast-paced IT work environments, stress levels and burnout can run high and lead to employee turnover. Evaluate your project management and organizational approaches, seek ways to improve work-life balance and ensure equitable delineation of duties. Better yet, ask your technology employees for their input on lowering
stress and lightening workloads.
Develop a sustainability strategy: Your company’s commitment to the environment, the community and innovation is very important to many key employees, especially Generation Ys and Millennials who often have the most experience with leading-edge technology.

Talent Retention Best Practices: Professional Services

• The unemployment rate in the professional and business services super sector has been around four percent throughout 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• Creating a proactive, executable strategy for professional growth and career advancement within the organization encourages retention by outlining development opportunities while decreasing the risks of talent gaps.

• Sophisticated survey technologies utilize advanced natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms to uncover employee sentiment in real time. By interpreting a combination of quantitative and open-ended survey responses, these solutions can accurately pinpoint the topics most important to employees and decipher their true feelings.
• Professional services firms face unusual challenges, but these tools and strategies can help nurture high achievers, develop future leaders, and boost engagement and retention, all while streamlining payroll and HR intricacies and generating accurate visibility into compliance, staffing, and analytics.

Corporate Alumni Programs

It costs half as much to rehire an ex-employee as it does to hire a brand new person; rehires are 40% more productive in their first quarter at work; and they tend to stay in the job longer.

• Alumni programs are often managed by one point of contact, e.g. the person responsible for ERGs
• Tech tools include:
– Insala
– Engagement Jungle
– 360alumni
– Software/online apps
• Link to other built in tech networking sites (e.g. LinkedIn)
• To build alumni network, build it into the off boarding/exit process as a standard, they are signed up
• Employees must actively opt out

Corporate Alumni Programs

Ways in which to leverage alumni to impact your talent:
• Allow alumni to serve as recruiters/ provide talent/candidate referrals
• Mentorship/coaching—coach diverse talent/new entrants
• Community outreach
• Knowledge transfer—leverage community social media pages (e.g. “employee x looking for information on x, y, z, does any alumni have experience with this?”)
• Part time, off-ramp part-time work during transition (e.g. can they work remotely on
customer service, call center)
• Business development—help market promos, new business entrepreneurs

Offer participants engagement perks:
• Employee Discounts
• Travel Discounts
• Referral Bonus
• Mentoring Bonus
• Content/Events, Visibility to CEO at Events

Case Study: Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen senior executive Dee Dee Helfenstein understood the changing workplace, the on-demand economy, and how organizations can better attract and retain working mothers and other caregivers.

Booz Allen’s 2016 Return-to-Work pilot program, which, in partnership with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and iRelaunch, offered paid re-entry internships for talented engineers looking to jumpstart their return to the workforce.
• 12-week internships (up from last year’s 9 weeks)
• Internships kick off in the fall (versus summer, when kids are off school)
• Expanded opportunities in geographies across the U.S.—in Colorado Springs, CO; San Diego and Los Angeles, CA; Albuquerque, NM, San Antonio, TX, Dayton, OH; and Rome, NY
• The program targets women engineers with 3+ years of experience, and those who have been out of the workforce for a minimum of 24 months. The focus is on high-demand skill sets—like engineering, cybersecurity, software development, and data science.

The focus of the 12-week internship is rebooting skills through formal training and meaningful engagement with colleagues. Interns may focus on obtaining a security clearance, seeking relevant certifications, and reengaging in their fields without the pressure of bill-ability and client assignment performance.

This enables interns to ease back in and determine if returning to work is optimal for their families. It also mitigates risks to hiring managers who are able to “try it before you buy it” to ensure the gap in service is filled through focused training.

Martha Johnston was ready to jump back into her career after an 18-year break to raise her children. With a degree in industrial engineering, she heard about Booz Allen’s iRelaunch program in 2016 and was part of the pilot cohort. Now a full time Booz Allen employee focusing on cybersecurity for Air Force clients, Martha says the program felt tailor made for her.

“It’s so exciting to be engaged in a technical, challenging, and rewarding career again,” says Martha. “The iRelaunch internship was the perfect opportunity to re-enter the workforce because there’s an understanding that you might be a little rusty on some things. Booz Allen provides the support and training interns need to be successful.

Case Study: TekSystems

One of the largest health systems in North America partnered with TEKsystems to develop and run a healthcare information technology (HIT) internship program to attract and retain skilled talent in Saginaw County, Michigan. One of the client’s facilities, a hospital located in Saginaw, Michigan, was having a difficult time finding skilled technical resources locally to meet their IT needs. IT professionals with clinical skill sets are not easy to find in the first place; in the U.S., there is only one HIT worker for every four HIT job openings.

The client was looking for support in attracting skilled talent in a cost-effective manner. The client turned to their premier partner, TEKsystems, for a solution. As one of our national accounts, we have helped place over 400 people for the client’s various IT staff augmentation, IT services, and IT training needs across the country.

The client and TEKsystems collaborated to create an HIT internship program at local colleges with HIT programs. These students have a myriad of HIT-related skill sets and can fill job descriptions such as clinical analysts, security analysts and network engineers. Our resources have primarily helped with the hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR) go-live efforts.

The experience would be mutually beneficial; the students would gain real-world experience and practice what they had learned in school, and the hospital would benefit from having enough skilled resources to support their IT efforts.

They put together an orientation package for the interns, sharing critical information that would help the interns be successful. The orientation included information about the leaders, the mission, their role and what’s proper in the workplace—particularly important for those students for whom this was their first professional experience. Their client’s full-time staff took responsibility for training, developing and mentoring the interns.

Since 2012, the program has provided 12 skilled resources for the hospital. Four of those resources have gone on to become full-time employees for the client before or post-graduation. These students have not only supported the Saginaw-based hospital, they have also traveled to several of the client’s other facilities across the country to help with more go-live efforts. Thus far, the internship program has supported EMR go-live efforts at three hospitals and 20 ambulatory sites (i.e., physician offices).

In addition to giving the students real-world experience that will help them in their careers, the hospital has benefited from not only having the skill sets needed to achieve their goals, but also being able to do it within a modest budget.

Case Study: Deloitte

Deloitte’s Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP) is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary professional development program designed primarily for high-performing minority managers and senior managers to help prepare them for the next stage in their careers. ELDP uses skill-building sessions, self-assessments, 360-degree feedback, and one-on-one coaching with an external professional coach to help equip promising leaders for greater responsibility. Through the intensive
learning curriculum, participants explore a variety of topics, including effective development strategies, risk-taking, building professional networks, and dealing effectively with potential biases in corporate America. In addition, each participant is assigned a partner, principal, or director sponsor who commits to at least two years to help their protégées drive their own careers by helping them understand how to navigate the organization.

Case Study: Allstate

Allstate established its Enterprise Talent Management (ETM) talent share program to support the development and advancement of its internal employee pipeline. The program reduces the costs associated with hiring and onboarding an external candidate, enables growth opportunity and exposure to other parts of the business, and preserves the cumulative knowledge and maturity of the employee. When a position opens in any department across the company, it is openly posted and any employee in good standing can apply. If hired, the employee serves in the new role for six to nine months, providing an immersion experience that fast tracks new skills development. The employee’s manager allows them to be “loaned” for the duration of the assignment, but gets to keep them as a budget item. Once the assignment is complete, the employee returns to their original position. In the first two years of ETM, internal placement rates doubled. There’s an added bonus for employees who participate in the talen share program in the company’s inclusive diversity department:
the company receives a new D&I champion that will go back to their department and
make D&I a priority.

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