Nestlé, P&G, and Walmart reveal their 2024 talent retention secrets

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This article was first published by Digiday sibling WorkLife

How do you prioritize employee development and internal growth at a company against the backdrop of an uncertain economy and people switching jobs more frequently than ever before?

We asked some of the biggest retail and consumer goods conglomerates to tell us how they’re prioritizing talent retention in 2024, and in doing so leaning into the so-called “Big Stay” trend as the “Great Resignation” recedes. The response: companies like Nestlé, Walmart and Procter & Gamble have doubled down on their efforts around employee benefits, stock options, paid time off, while also ensuring offices are welcoming and that each employee has access to internal generative AI tools to help boost their productivity.

In an era when the average time a person stays in a job is at an all-time low, P&G has found a smart way to buck the trend. The consumer goods giant, home to brands like Gillette, Pampers, and Pantene and employer of 107,000 people globally, gives new hires a rigorously structured career development roadmap straight off the bat. That means that an average new hire works five different roles within their first 10 years at the company, providing them the opportunity to move across brands, businesses and geographies to tackle new challenges.

For example, one employee who has been there for 12 years started as a senior brand manager in homecare (Australia) and eventually ended up as the regional business unit communications director — fem care, North America (Cincinnati), according to a company spokesperson.

Managers, in particular, are promotion-ready within 2.5 years. The result: More than 99% of senior leaders are produced within the company.

What happens when there is a clear growth plan for employees

At P&G, employees have larger career conversations with their managers that happen at least twice a year, that discuss the employee’s impact in their current roles, what skills they need to develop, and what other roles might be a good fit for their skills, experience and interest. To get promoted at P&G, people need to demonstrate their impact and competency across a range of skills, but managers are there to help with that.

“Leadership development has always been a point of difference for us,” said Bala Purushothaman, chief HR officer at P&G. “Employees have the opportunity to have big jobs with broad responsibilities from day one. And because of our global footprint and portfolio of superior brands, our team members can have several careers within a career. This gives them the opportunity to learn and grow within the company, so they’re less likely to move to another company for a different or better experience.”

Walmart is also laser-focused on people development.

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