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The Employment Transaction Has Changed

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How is it going for you so far?

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED. The landscape for workforce & talent has changed, too. And the pace of change seems faster than ever. For employers -- just trying to get the people necessary to get the job done -- it’s hard to keep up. What we used to do about our workers no longer works and what we used to know about employees they tell us now is irrelevant. Explanations about why things are happening are things we’ve never heard of. As soon as we think we’ve figured it out, it changes again.


What are we supposed to do? Well, whatever we do, it's likely we will be doing it in a way it's never been done before.


If there is one thing we know for sure, it's that the most pressing issue of 2022 is employee retention. But it's not just about holding on to the people we have now. It's also offering (and implementing) a compelling value proposition that will engage the employees we have, attract the employees we need, and entice the return of those who left the workforce altogether. It means being intentional about building a Culture of Retention and incorporating the right combination of People Practices throughout each phase of the Employee Lifecycle. It means making certain that all the systems we have in place and all the interpersonal relationships people have at work are working together to drive productivity. If our people cannot be productive, nothing else matters. 






There is no finish line when it comes to workforce & talent. However, employers that are intentional about their people and their People Practices will be frontrunners in retaining and engaging a productive workforce.

People Practices* and the Employee Lifecycle





Applegate Talent Strategies is your resource to help you navigate issues surrounding workforce & talent. We are organizational consultants who help employers create work environments that lead to cultures of retention, engagement, and productivity. With our guidance, you can be assured you are getting the best from your people and that your people are having the best experience at work. 

*You are certainly doing these things. The issue is whether you are doing them in the very best way -- a way that is right for both you and them. That's where retention comes in.

Hot Issues

  Our Priorities for the Year  

Why is Workforce & Talent So Difficult?

In our analysis of the current economic and social factors that drive workforce & talent, we have developed the following four principles that must be addressed by employers in order for their people to be successful at work. Woven throughout the principles is an acknowledgment of the humanity of our workers. Why does this matter? If people can't be successful at work, the business will not be profitable.

What is this "Employment Transaction"?

In the mid-2000s, author Daniel Pink spoke about the Employment Transaction. As he described it, during the middle of the last century, the employment transaction went like this: An employer said to a job seeker, “Hey, I have this job for you. If you do this job exactly as I tell you--if you keep your head down and don’t make any trouble--I will take care of you. For the rest of your life.” And, in many cases, the employer took care of the employee’s spouse for the rest of her life. The job seeker said, “Yes, please! I’ll take that deal!” Implicit in this transaction is that employees were an easily replaceable commodity. The employee gave his loyalty for security from the company. That was the prevailing Employment Transaction of the time.

Decades later, and for many reasons, things had changed. And the transaction changed, too. Soon after the turn of this century, the job seeker said to the employer, “Yes, I’d be willing to give you a few years. In exchange, though, I want to be assured that I will grow and learn and develop. I want to do work that matters. I want to be successful.” The employee exchanged his or her talent for opportunity from the company. And because employers needed these specialized knowledge workers, they said, “Sure, I’ll do that for you.”


Today, the Employment Transaction is all about humanity. People expect that the organizations they work for acknowledge that they are human beings and have lives beyond work. They demand that their employers support, accommodate, and include every aspect that makes each one of us unique. He, she, they now says, “If you don’t care about me, I'm out of here.”

Whether or not we agree with this is decidedly beside the point. The Employment Transaction has changed and employees (i.e., people) have the power. It doesn’t matter what we believe. It only matters what they think.

Service Offerings

How We Help

Companies seek profitability and impact. And it's their people who help them accomplish those goals because people are how work gets done. Yet people are complicated. People require leaders who know how to get the best from them and they need workplaces that support them so they can be successful. When people are stable at work, they are more connected to what they are doing. When they are more engaged, it leads to greater productivity ... and greater profitability for the company. This is what we do for our clients.

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  Our Service Offerings  

We help employers do what is right for the people who are working for them now -- and in the future. We address two parts of the organization that drive productivity: 1) work environments and 2) relationships.

People need workplaces to support them so they can do their best work and be successful.

We address the policies, processes, and practices that directly influence the level to which employees feel stable and supported by building sustainable and resilient workplaces.

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People need leaders who know how to get the best from them.

We address the bosses who, through daily interactions and touchpoints, impact how employees experience work by implementing best practices of great leaders & great bosses.

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​Our service offerings associated with building Sustainable & Resilient Workplaces include:

  • HR & Systems Audits and Talent Assessments 

  • Customized solutions for hiring, onboarding, and retention

  • Employability Support for employee success

  • Research projects related to workforce & talent

These services are specifically designed to enable employees to stay at work and be productive on the job.​

​Our service offerings that leverage the best practices of Great Leaders & Great Bosses include:

  • Executive and Leadership Coaching

  • Career development programs, Professional Development Plans

  • Onsite and virtual leadership training

  • Teams facilitation

These services ensure people who manage other people have great relationships with them and know how to bring out the best in them.​

What Our Work Looks Like in Practice

Sample Projects

We provide our expertise regarding workforce and talent in multiple ways. Sometimes, it's helping employers have better systems to support and enhance the productivity of their employees. Other times, we're brought in to address dysfunctional relationships between team members or between teams. Below are a few examples of our projects. 

Project Summary #1


Project Summary #2


ISSUE: Difficulty recruiting in specific frontline roles; frequent call-offs lead to unstable workforce; results in toxic work environment, low productivity, reduced revenues.

APPROACH: Conducted confidential interviews with and anonymous surveys of employees at all levels to uncover pain points and hidden/unseen issues affecting employee engagement.

OUTCOME: Recommendations included offering professional development to employees and training for managers on effective communication and feedback delivery; also providing information and access to supports for stylists with low household incomes/single-parent households to provide stability and improve attendance.

ISSUE: Concerned about possible erosion of members and donors, a statewide association sought ways to improve its “stickiness” to current stakeholders and enhance its attractiveness to new ones via improved success of new entrants to the workforce.  

APPROACH: Conducted confidential interviews and anonymous surveys of stakeholders on both sides of supply-demand (i.e., workforce providers vs. employers) to uncover the critical areas where exp