Big Idea, In Brief

Culture as a Key to Combat the Talent Uprising

The “Talent Uprising” is a catalyst for organizations to consider a cultural shift. Event triggers, such as the global pandemic or adjustments to business strategy to retain pre-pandemic operating models, have been the impetus for organizations to rethink the type of culture—shared values, beliefs and behaviors—they want to instill. Employers must now intentionally focus on people over process, on purpose as much as profit.

Employees are rejecting the burnout culture in which lines are blurred between working from home and living at work. In the same vein, employees are beginning to resent complacency and a lack of mental stimulation. Many organizations are witnessing top talent leaving in droves, as they search for an organizational culture that supports their recent post-traumatic growth.¹ Resignations have been on the rise through 2021 and are predicted to continue into 2022, reflecting a more competitive labor market shaped by radically shifting employee expectations.² In light of the uncertainty and mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic, employees are looking for more than just an increase in pay. While feeling valued and being compensated fairly are essential considerations for all job seekers during the Talent Uprising, a healthy organizational culture is a strategic differentiator.

We view culture as an organization’s “unique fingerprint” that is:

The Talent Uprising is affecting employers of all sizes across all industries. The increased volume of open positions places the power of selection into the hands of a candidate. Job seekers are looking for the type of culture they can see themselves being a part of—one that allows them to thrive. The paradigm for attracting new and retaining current talent has shifted. On a global scale, only 56% of employees feel that their organization is retaining the right talent needed to achieve business goals.² In organizations affected by the Talent Uprising, retaining top talent has been made even more difficult, as those who stay risk becoming overworked and burned out.

Employers must cultivate a culture in which their employees feel appreciated, empowered and trusted. Investing in human capital must be a top priority. Providing time and money for professional development opportunities demonstrates the value that organizations see in their people and can help to create long-lasting retention. The exclusion of pre-pandemic perks (in-office lunches, happy hours, team dinners) has forced employers to rethink how they engage and reward their employees who demonstrate their culture in action. Ultimately, employers must “cure the disease” (e.g., burnout, stress, workplace inflexibility) in their organizations as opposed to merely “treating the symptom” (i.e., increased salaries may fall short when compared to an emphasis on connectedness, meaningful work and overall well-being).

Evolving culture and changing employee mindsets and behaviors cannot happen overnight. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to obtaining the “right” culture. However, organizations must focus on the holistic experiences of employees to foster a culture that enhances employee satisfaction, drives productivity and evokes strong emotional connection and commitment.

Employees are now choosing to resign for a multitude of reasons, but an organization’s culture is why talent ultimately decides to stay. Now, more than ever, organizations must invest in shaping a culture that unlocks the power of their people and teams. How are you cultivating a culture that can withstand the Talent Uprising?


1. Seymour Adler, Ph.D. (2021). “Post-pandemic Growth and the Talent Uprising.” Kincentric, August 2021.

2. Christopher Adair, Ph.D. (2021). “A Turning Point: Current Trends in Engagement.” Kincentric, October 2021.


Amy Vinh Mumma
Global Practice Leader Culture & Engagement

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