Attracting and Retaining Top Talent: Lessons from four of America’s Top Companies

Representing the interests of approximately 4.5 million employees, our panel of  top corporate HR executives spoke at (co)lab 2013 on some of the many ways that employers must respond to a changing workforce.  Common themes emerged around company purpose, commitment to listening and opportunities for participation as keys to attracting and retaining top talent.  Watch their panel discussion HERE.

Ceree_EberlyCeree Eberly from Coca-Cola reminds us that one-way communication is not a dialogue.  Today’s up-and-coming leaders demand a forum to share, to be heard and to engage in the conversation.  What can we learn from the millennial generation?  Plenty!  Just listen to Ceree talk about Coca-Cola’s reverse mentoring program for senior leaders, and their “Global Shapers” program.  “We don’t know what we don’t know.”  That’s why listening and learning is a core competence requirement for management.

Rich_FloerschRich Floersch tells how McDonald’s celebrates the emerging spirit of entrepreneurship, and how a big corporation needs to reshape its culture to embrace and nurture that passion.  Using technology is one of the easiest ways – ask employees what they think, and they’ll tell you.  But you must be prepared to listen and act on what you learn.  Having a clear purpose and a commitment to the community also helps to create personal commitment to the company, not just the job.

Liz_GottungLiz_GottungLiz Gottung of Kimberly-Clark acknowledges the challenge of creating movement, opportunity and involvement – some of the key requirements of the millennial class – and the “two year window” that sets the pace for today’s top talent.   Imagine an HR professional empowering a global taskforce – comprised mostly of millenials – to redesign the company’s performance evaluation program!  Giving up (traditional control systems) and giving back (community service and philanthropy) are essential to success.

Kristin_Oliver Kristin Oliver leads HR at Walmart, one of the largest employers in the world.  Corporate social responsibility – most notably, sustainability – is reshaping company image, and helping to attract exceptional talent who want to be aligned with forward-looking, responsible companies.  Successful talent leadership also requires companies to create meaningful access to leadership at all levels.


Nadira-HiraAnd if you need a refresher course in the attitudes and desires of the millennial generation, go back and watch Nadira Hira’s great talk “Seven Secrets of the Millennial Mind”, and her engaging Q&A session that has now been released.


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