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The Results Are In: Congratulations to the 2021 Employee Retention Leaders

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a full year since we launched The Working Best Awards. While the labor market looks undeniably different than it did last January, talent retention remains a priority – and is arguably even more critical for employers in these hyper-uncertain times.

Today, we’re welcoming a new class of eight Employee Retention Leaders. Our patented predictive analytics and data science identified the Fortune 100 companies with the lowest levels of employee volatility (or highest retention rate) over the course of 2020, compared to peer and national benchmarks. A big shout out to Cardinal Health for securing the number one position with an employee volatility rate 162% lower than the Fortune 100 average (50.89). And congratulations to Merck, Lockheed Martin, and Best Buy – for making the list for a second consecutive year.

A tough year, but even tougher companies

The employee volatility benchmark across the Fortune 100 is up 8% on average over last year – in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that the “average” firm in the Fortune 100 is now at Above Average risk of losing talent.

Worker expectations have shifted given the health crisis. Employees increasingly value safe, healthy, stable, and supportive work environments – especially those with strong leadership who are able to navigate through such hyper-uncertainty. New perspectives on life have led many to crave more meaning and purpose in their work. And remote work has expanded employment options. Even against a backdrop of labor market and economic uncertainty, talent attrition is a serious concern.

In fact, KPMG uncovered talent risk is now cited by CEOs as the most significant threat to their business, ahead of supply chain and environmental issues. In January 2020, talent risk was ranked 12th.

The performance of the 2021 Working Best winners is highly impressive given these new dynamics and the fundamental shifts in the labor market. Our data shows employees at the eight winning companies were six times less likely to look for external job opportunities than those at other Fortune 100 companies. The algorithms also uncovered that strong leadership and business stability were these employees’ top retention drivers. This speaks to their confidence in their management teams’ abilities to successfully navigate their organizations through the health crisis and last year’s other disruptive events.

The Employee Retention Leaders outperformed both the Fortune 100, and their respective industry groups, which is noteworthy because these sectors – healthcare, aerospace and defense, and consumer products – all benefited from the COVID-19-driven economic environment and had lower levels of employee volatility overall.

The only awards program of its kind

The Working Best Awards program is the only AI-driven, data-based ranking for employee retention. We analyze more than 2,000 events, triggers, and shocks – macroeconomic trends, leadership changes, news sentiment, job posting trends, and more – from more than 1 billion data points and 40,000 sources, and on more than 8 million U.S (19 million global) companies and 100M U.S. professional and knowledge workers, to predict the likelihood of employees being receptive to unsolicited recruiting messages and external job opportunities over the next 60-90 days.

Our proprietary AI models give each company a Talent Retention Risk (TRR) ScoreSM – low scores predict low employee churn, or high retention rates. To qualify as an Employee Retention Leader, a company must have an average annual TRR Score of below 45 and no single-month score higher than 50. Only eight Fortune 100 companies met these stringent criteria for our 2021 awards:

  1. Cardinal Health, Inc. (TRR: 19.4)
  2. Northrop Grumman Corporation (TRR: 22.6)
  3. Merck & Co., Inc. (TRR: 24.7)
  4. Pfizer Inc. (TRR: 24.9)
  5. Verizon Communications Inc. (TRR: 32.9)
  6. Lockheed Martin Corporation (TRR: 34.3)
  7. The Procter & Gamble Company (TRR: 34.8)
  8. Best Buy Co., Inc. (TRR: 39.8)

Learn more about the 2021 Employee Retention Leaders and methodology around The Working Best Awards.

Being able to predict employee volatility, project future skills gaps, and identify outside talent open to new opportunities are now critical for employers’ competitive advantage. Learn how our predictive insights, which are at the core of our Working Best Awards, can give you this edge.

Christy Petrosso (Whitehead), Chief Data Scientist and Talent Economist

Christy Petrosso (Whitehead) is our Chief Data Scientist and Talent Economist, leading the strategy and design of our predictive AI algorithms and machine learning models.  Christy joined our leadership team in October 2019 with the acquisition of ENGAGE Talent. Christy holds a PhD in Economics from Clemson University and has focused her career on employment and labor economics. Her previous experiences include key data science roles with PeopleMatter (acquired by Snag A Job) and Equifax. Christy is a frequent speaker in HR Analytics and machine learning conferences. She is also an active member of the Federal Reserve Roundtable.

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