Surviving the Great Resignation

People aren't leaving the workforce — they're working for companies that support their growth.
Written by Avery Komlofske
November 19, 2021Updated: November 19, 2021

There are plenty of theories about the employee exodus known as The Great Resignation. While there are many reasons for the quitting — a pile-up of people who didn’t feel safe resigning during the pandemic, a shift in priorities and an inability to find childcare during work hours, for starters — the idea that people don’t want to work certainly isn’t one of them. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since before the pandemic began.

People do want to work — they just want to work for companies that give them the same value they give in return. One desire shared by a majority of the workforce is to use their job as a platform for growth. In a June 2021 survey taken by Gallup in partnership with Amazon, 65 percent of workers see employer-aided skill building as a major consideration when job seeking. Humans have a built-in need to grow and develop — and people want their work to help them do it.

City National Bank is a company that recognizes these needs and prioritizes growth in its employees. In a conversation with Built In LA, Senior Vice President of Talent, Inclusion, Technology and People Analytics Kathryn Keene spoke about the importance the company places on their people and the opportunities they provide to help them develop in their careers and grow as learners.


Kathryn Keene
Senior Vice President of HR Talent, Inclusion, Technology and People Analytics


What are some things you and your team do to attract great talent and stand out from other potential employers?

We hold strong to the values of the bank and put people and relationships first. We understand that our network is our most valuable tool and work hard to build relationships with various business organizations, civic and community organizations and educational institutions. It is important for us to spread the word about all we have going on within our organization and attract the talent that truly embodies our entrepreneurial spirit. Within our technology and innovation team, we have a pride-in-ownership mindset. Colleagues are developing new products and features from the ground up to support the speed of technology growth within the company. Our intention is to grow, simplify and transform. 

Colleagues have a direct impact on our growth. We host several events each year to give potential candidates a glimpse into our culture, processes, growth and achievements. The 2021 summer internship cohort was more than 25 percent larger than that of 2020 and triple the size of the intern class just six years ago. We are very proud of how the program has expanded as well as the growing rate of conversion from intern to full-time colleague.


What are a couple of your key strategies or offerings that help you retain talent? 

We have made significant enhancements to benefits, including parental leave, adoption assistance and the addition of fertility treatment and surrogacy reimbursement assistance. We launched Open Mentoring, which allows us to manage multiple mentoring programs with different learning and retention objectives simultaneously. The program’s technology platform pairs mentees with mentors based on their profiles and the mentee’s learning objectives. This approach allows colleagues to engage in multiple programs throughout the year as a mentor, mentee or both.

Also new is My CNB Career, an internal destination to help colleagues navigate their careers and connect colleagues with our internal concierge, a team of recruiters dedicated to helping with career mobility and internal transfers. The launch has been very successful, giving colleagues a sounding board, which cuts down on submitting resumes for internal postings without a strategy. We launched Prepped, a digital tool to help get ready for the interview. City National University (CNU) gives colleagues a Netflix-style experience — access to audiobooks, e-books, e-learning courses and live instructor-led courses.

It is important for us to spread the word about all we have going on within our organization and attract the talent that truly embodies our entrepreneurial spirit.”


How has your company adapted to the shifting wants and needs of your employees over the last year, and what steps have you taken to create a workplace that meets those needs?

We heard our colleagues when they expressed that work-life balance is essential, and location fits into that conversation. While we know that in-person collaboration fosters culture and creativity, we realize that some roles are equally effective when managed remotely, either full time or part time. That is especially true within our tech teams. We believe that embracing remote work is the best way to find the right talent for the job across the country and to retain the exceptional talent that we have. The pandemic showed us how successful teams can be in the remote environment. As more colleagues return to the office, many with a hybrid schedule, City National will maintain a level of flexibility where possible to ensure business needs are balanced with colleague needs.


Jobs at City National Bank

Los Angeles startup guides

Best Companies to Work for in Los Angeles
Coolest Tech Offices in Los Angeles
Best Perks at Los Angeles Tech Companies
Women in Los Angeles Tech