Mary Baggett

Presentation: The One That Got Away: Critical Technical Talent

Abstract: Retention of Highly Skilled Technical Talent supporting any program is critical for success. These highly skilled workers are often more difficult to find, attract, and recruit while also being more difficult to retain once hired. National general employee turnover averages are at 12% (SHRM, 2021) and Federal Contractor turnover averages are at 21% (Deltek, 2021). Highly skilled technical resources, especially in the National Capital Region, can have turnover rates of up to 40%. These high turnover rates result in companies being forced to engage in very expensive nonstop high-volume recruiting cycles to continuously find, attract, recruit, onboard, and train technical employees in quick turnover cycles. Productivity and revenue are lost due to the work disruptions caused by unfilled positions which negatively affects program success. The inability to consistently maintain the needed technical talent will also negatively affect customer perceptions and satisfaction. Due to the laws of supply and demand, these technical resources have many more opportunities to choose from. There are far more jobs available than there are qualified workers to fill them.

This presentation will discuss real-world examples of negative consequences resulting from programs or companies losing critical technical talent as well as the results of a mixed-methods phenomenological study to better understand the retention drivers of highly skilled technical resources and to offer strategies for increasing that retention.

Key Take Aways:

  • Manage & mitigate the risk of losing critical talent to ensure program resiliency
  • Differentiate attraction and recruiting strategies to target critical needs
  • Tailor retention strategies for critical talent

PMI Talent Triangle: Strategic and Business Management (Business Acumen)

Biography: Mary K. Baggett is an experienced professional in the federal environment supporting DOD, DHS, and IC agencies. She has held progressive positions with federal contractors managing programs, portfolios, and divisions. Her program management experience includes leading a DoD Acquisition Category (ACAT) I management and integration program, as well as an $800M+ DHS IT infrastructure program. Her portfolio management experience includes leading divisions of related programs in several disciplines, including program management, software engineering, systems integration, COTS integration, cyber security operations, and enterprise IT infrastructure and operations. She has extensive experience successfully implementing best practice methodologies and frameworks, including Agile, PMBOK, CMMi, ITIL, ISO, EVM, and Risk Management. She also has multiple certifications in project management, agile development, and information technology including PMP, PgMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, SAFe Agilist, and ITIL-MP. She has an MBA from UMASS and a Doctorate of Business Administration from Bellevue University. Doctoral Research Topic: Retention of Highly Skilled Technical Resources in National Security.