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How Talent Mobility Helped Ally Financial Find and Keep Top Talent

Having a robust talent mobility program mitigates the risk that high performers will leave, and helps companies build strong sustainable leadership pipelines. At Ally Financial, talent mobility isn’t just a way to keep top talent—it was a key strategy to help the business rebuild after the devastating global economic crisis.

Prior to the economic downturn, Ally was a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation and financed more than 90% of all U.S. passenger vehicle purchases. In 2008-2009, the firm faced serious financial difficulties due to a decline in the auto industry and losses in the mortgage markets, and was forced to accept $17.2 billion in loans from the U.S. government as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

"The intersection of crises and opportunity was serendipitous—it gave us an opportunity to create new, big jobs, from corporate treasurer to head of risk." Jim Duffy, Chief HR officer at Ally.

Rebuilding the company under those conditions was incredibly difficult, especially when it came to attracting talent. To keep its best people and recruit new ones, Ally’s leaders decided to adopt a more talent-focused business strategy, which would give high performers a chance to dramatically stretch their skills and take on leadership roles they ordinarily would not get so early in their careers at other organizations.

"Giving good people big jobs early, and adding a lot of accountability pays off."

Ally has become a place where people see opportunities to grow and take on new challenges. Duffy’s team implemented more rigorous performance management processes to ensure top performers were identified and promoted in a timely fashion, and that the performance management process was very transparent. The firm encouraged employees and managers to actively seek out new opportunities that would help them build their leadership skills.

More information about Ally's embrace of talent mobility is available in i4cp's new report Talent Mobility Matters, and an even more detailed case study is available via the i4cp member site.

Our research found that talent mobility has a high correlation to market performance and that leading companies use mobility to retain and develop their best people—but that managers hoarding talent is a major obstacle to a more agile workforce in half of the global employers surveyed.

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Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin is the chief research officer at i4cp. A highly sought-after international keynote speaker on all aspects of human resources and talent management, Kevin has been recognized as a “Top 100 HR Influencer” by HR Examiner, is a renowned keynote speaker, and has been published in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and HBR.