Plugging the Leaky Bucket: A Talent Management Perspective

By Emily Loberto

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No company in the world could exist without its employees, but this critical resource is becoming increasingly difficult to hold onto. According to the Human Workplace Index, over a third of employees plan to leave their company within the next year. Paired with the void of 8.8 million unfilled positions in the United States, this unprecedented wave of disengagement and turnover has intensified the leaky bucket dilemma that many organizations currently face.      

The leaky bucket occurs when organizations are trying to fill their talent needs from the top by hiring new employees but cannot effectively retain their current employees. Regardless of how many new employees you onboard, if there is too large a hole at the bottom of your bucket, you will never be able to fill it.  

The Talent Management Dilemma  

The mass quitting exodus has pushed 47% of HR leaders to rank employee retention and turnover as their foremost challenges, with companies bleeding $1 trillion annually due to turnover and a staggering $550 billion in lost productivity from disengaged employees.   

This isn’t to say that your organization should have zero voluntary turnover. Most employees don’t want to spend their entire career at one organization, and bringing in fresh and diverse perspectives positively affects innovation and problem-solving. However, if your turnover rates are significantly above your industry average, that is an indication that you likely have a talent management problem.   

Companies who do not understand the concept of the leaky bucket have been trying to solve this issue by pouring more money into sourcing and hiring talent – but this strategy fails to address the root cause. Employees are constantly looking for opportunities to grow and develop their skills, and if your organization does not provide them, they will seek them out elsewhere.   

Shifting to a Holistic Perspective 

According to Gartner, 82% of employees say it's important for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee. However, only 45% of people believe their organization actually views them this way. This disconnect is behind many people's decisions to leave their jobs, and organizations must address this to survive in the new world of work.  

It is critical to show employees that you value them as people even before they enter your organization. Top candidates have no shortage of options, and they know what signs to look for to ensure an organization will see them for their full potential and invest in their development.  

Providing value during the recruiting process is migrating from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have in the eyes of many candidates. They want to know that your company sees what they have to offer and is willing to put time into helping them develop their strengths if they join your team. 

One way recruiters can do this is by offering candidates tips to help them leverage their skills and stand out on their resumes and in interviews. Doing this shows potential employees that your company cares about them and is willing to invest in their career development before they even walk through the door. 

Building a Sustainable Talent Ecosystem 

Investing in candidates up front provides the crucial first step in building a strong and dedicated workforce, but companies must continue to offer these developmental opportunities beyond onboarding. The path forward involves the creation of enriched work environments that cultivate employee development and engagement. When employees feel valued and see the potential for growth within your organization, they are far more likely to stay.  

Plum aids in this by delivering value to employees throughout the lifecycle. Candidates who apply to positions through Plum will be given a complete profile that includes accurate data on what drives and drains them, strategies for thriving in their careers, and resources they can leverage for development. As they move through your organization, their Plum Profile will guide them in their career journey. 

Plum uses its profiles throughout its own workforce to ensure that each employee can develop and share their unique talents. The sense of belonging this has fostered led Plum to be recognized by WorkLife as one of the 50 best places to work. 

By leveraging innovative solutions like Plum, organizations can focus on nurturing employees’ skills and strengths, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose, and plugging the leaky bucket as employees choose to stay long-term. The strategic integration of talent acquisition and management is vital for developing resilient and adaptive talent ecosystems, where individual flourishing is synonymous with organizational success. 

Talent management is just one side of the story. Dive into the other half in our blog Filling the Leaky Bucket: A Talent Acquisition Perspective.