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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 expectations did not meet reality of incoming workers.

OUTCOME: The insight obtained via project led to the creation and implementation of an innovative, collaborative cross-network pre-work experience program to increasing success of entry-level employees by improving readiness of employers.

Project Summary #3


ISSUE: Discord among cross-functional teams combined with a few highly visible confrontations among coworkers led to a downward spiral toward a low-productivity, toxic work environment.

APPROACH: Conducted assessment to determine a baseline state of culture and preferences of individual teams. Facilitated sessions with each team to  build strength and confidence in the core capabilities of healthy teams: trust, curiosity, and creative friction. 

OUTCOME: Team members have better understanding of the specific dynamics of the team and learn how to embrace healthy team habits.

How You Benefit

Our work makes bosses, teams, and organizations the best they can be. We improve the productivity of your people so your company can enjoy increased profitability and lasting impact.

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Who We Work With

  Our Clients  

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We work with for-profit and nonprofit organizations. We work with people at all levels and in every industry and profession.


  • Executives & business owners

  • Division leaders/department managers

  • HR representatives

  • Teams and workgroups

  • Emerging leaders, first-time managers & supervisors

What They Say About Us

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The Applegate team listened to our needs and collaborated with us . They conducted research, created a strategy and presented solutions to assist us with implementation of an up-graded workforce development plan for our community. The team is well-experienced and responsive—a great resource!




Applegate Talent Strategies is a wonderful leadership training and development partner.  In 2021, Measurement Resources Company set goals around team growth and expansion and we trusted Andrea and her team to help us achieve these goals.  Our senior leaders participated in a series of trainings to learn the leadership skills that enhanced their ability to manage our growing team.  Additionally, we sought out Applegate Talent Strategies as consultants to help us develop our search and hiring strategy for a key new executive role. We are beyond thrilled with the outcomes and would recommend Applegate Talent Strategies to any leader looking for support in developing their team.




Applegate Talent Strategies went above and beyond to understand and learn about our company to determine the best way they could professionally develop our managers in a meaningful and caring manner.




"The Team Facilitation sessions were incredibly valuable!  Andrea and Lora were able to lead each group to articulate their greatest strengths and opportunities. It helped to create conversations and the commitments teams are still using today!"




I attended Professional Development Sessions with Lora through my employer. At first, I really didn't know what to expect, but I went into it with an open mind. Lora helped me identify many short- and long-term goals, professional and personal. We then prioritized and dissected the more important goals to focus on those that were realistic to achieve within 12 weeks. Since then, I have been able to achieve several of these goals with her guidance. Very organized, timely, and professional!




Andrea Applegate's expertise regarding talent--whether you're an individual or employer--is invaluable. As an individual seeking leadership coaching, she listens intently, holds me accountable and guides me to a successful outcome. I use her leadership advice on a daily basis.

  Our Reputation  

Who We Are and What Inspires Us

  Our Team of Experts  

About Us

Applegate Talent Strategies, located in Columbus, Ohio, is a woman-owned business that celebrated our fifth anniversary in August 2021. Between our two principals, our firm leverages nearly six decades of experience in business, workforce & talent, and HR. To augment our capacity, we actively maintain a network of subject matter experts in a variety of disciplines, from economists to research assistants and workforce planning professionals.

We are driven to help you get the best out of your people while ensuring your people have the best experience at work.

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Andrea J. Applegate

Andrea's background is in business. She has an MBA and, after spending her early years in the private sector, Andrea worked at the Columbus Chamber for more than a decade. There she engaged with business leaders and HR executives on projects to overcome workforce issues facing local companies and industries important to the Columbus economy.

Lora Fish, SHRM-SCP

Lora’s background includes non-profit and for-profit.  She is a certified HR professional and has helped organizations build HR processes, as well as hire, train, and retain employees from diverse backgrounds and all career levels. Her passion is helping businesses develop individual contributors, frontline supervisors, and emerging leaders for long term success.

What Makes Us Different

Because Applegate Talent Strategies is a small and specialized firm, our clients enjoy personal attention. We customize our solutions to specifically meet the needs of our individual clients. We pay attention to the ever-changing economic conditions that drive workforce & talent so that employers can adapt to meet the needs of all their people.


  • We give leaders skills so they can ensure the success of and advance the people who work for them.

  • We learn what you need and bring customized solutions from among our curated best practices.

  • We understand and engage people at all levels and in all industries and professions -- because people are people.

  • We believe that economic diversity needs to be addressed in tandem with traditional variations of diversity.

  • We understand that workforce & talent is economic development -- and that the best anti-poverty program is a job.

What We Are Thinking About Today

Latest Blogs

  Our Recent Posts  

When we're not working with our clients, we're thinking about--and writing about--workforce and talent. You can be assured that we don't simply express conventional viewpoints. We intend to be thought-provoking. We want to bring new and different perspectives to light so that our readers can have a better understanding of the issues and trends that impact their employees and their organizations.