goBeyondProfit CEO Interview: Specific Generosity-based Approaches for the “Great Resignation”


Friday, July 8th, 2022

In order to help business leaders navigate this tight labor market, goBeyondProfit sat down with Valarie Mackey, the CEO of WrightNow Solutions to explore a generosity-mindset or a reimagination if you will, that might help executives discover the talent they need in unexpected places.

What’s the most important characteristic to look for in new talent?

The great resignation is a reaction. People want something different for their lives. They are highly motivated to make the change. Motivation is one of the strongest characteristics you can have in an employee. It reflects grit, agility, and an openness to learning.  And here’s the insight that I see from my business – this grit and agility is not actually something you learn in college or get from a book.

Where else should CEOs search for talent?  

You said the word “reimagine” and I think that’s what’s critical. It begins by reimagining where you find talent. If you recruit from the same places, the same colleges and use the same search firms over and over, you are going to get the same result and have more of a homogeneous workforce.

You have to ask yourself where else can I look for talent? You will find a lot of people ripe to be exceptional employees in places you have not considered before.

An often-overlooked resource is Workforce Development Programs – TechBridge, Goodwill Career Centers, City of Refuge, Urban League, Women in Technology, Generation, to name a few. The diversity in these programs is remarkable. Some people have a Bachelor’s Degree, some just a couple years of college, others perhaps didn’t have the access or opportunity to attend college at all. Some have twenty years of work experience others are earlier in their careers. You might find someone who has been in a marketing job or hospitality but has decided to shift to a technology field. I’ve seen hundreds of people come out of these programs ready to work, build a career, and provide tremendous value to a company. There are amazing career changers, veterans, and people from underrepresented populations that have the capability, these newly acquired skills (industry-issued certifications in most cases), and the motivation that we talked about earlier.

What retention rates have you seen when this talent is prepped for success?

We recommend an initial assessment that people go through to determine if a reskill training program will be effective. In particular, a deep-dive to determine if they have that grit, and learning agility I talked about. They are required to put in a significant amount of work, once you know someone has skin in the game, that they are willing to put the work into it, we find they can make it through a reskilling program and be highly successful.

A strong reskilling program may take them through four or five months of hard skills training like various software programs. But also take them through soft skills training that help prepare them for the corporate setting. Things like presentation skills, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence.

We see amazing talent coming out of these programs and perhaps most important to a CEO, we’ve seen the retention rate of 96% for these individuals even after a year of employment.