Winning the talent "star" wars: employee management lessons from Baby Yoda

Last updated:
May 4, 2022
May 17, 2022
min read
Rebecca Anderson
Instant Commerce
learn employee management lessons from baby yoda
Table of contents

A not-so long time ago in a galaxy not so far, far away… It is a period of competition for candidates.

The wake of a global pandemic prompted a great reevaluation for employees across the globe. Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers. A national labor shortage persists.

Companies have to work harder than ever before to create workplaces that will attract and retain great talent…  the talent “star” wars has begun. 

You might be wondering, what do Star Wars and the War for Talent have in common? The answer is - more than you might think! Especially one of the most popular figures in pop culture and the Star Wars universe - Baby Yoda.

Although The Mandalorian, Disney+’s most streamed show, is named after its beskar-adorned hero, the character that has stolen the show is a small, green, 50-year-old child.

Grogu, commonly known as Baby Yoda, or the Child, is rescued by Mando, and the two face a number of challenges together. Even though Mando serves as a paternal figure in the series, there are often times when Mando, Grogu, and other characters function together as a team.

Although Baby Yoda has yet to speak in the series, there are a number of observations he could have made in terms of the management during their various ordeals. 

Spoiler alert: This blog contains significant spoilers for those who have not seen the latest Disney+ Star Wars content. But if you want to learn more about the intersection between Star Wars and HR, then read on… this is the way → 

In honor of Star Wars Day, (May the 4th be with you!), this blog is inspired by a galaxy, far, far away…

Good talent and Grogu have their choice of options

Grogu excited and then sad about losing the perfect candidate

Throughout the series, the Child is relentlessly hunted by various characters. After all, Mando first found Grogu as part of a bounty hunting expedition. Because of his powerful and mysterious powers, others constantly try to “poach” Baby Yoda away from Mando.

Luckily, Mando appreciates Grogu for more than just his ability to use the force and supports him in finding a new “employer” that will appreciate and take care of him. 

In today’s labor shortage, it is truly a Talent “Star” War out there - as companies compete for candidates to fill their empty positions.

This also means that companies have to work to keep their current talent from being stolen away! 

This is the way - how to attract and keep your stars in the talent war

To help keep your star talent, you need to figure out what your employees want. Current trending benefits and perks include:

Focus on creating an inclusive workplace

Mando and Grogu fighting over food

In the world of the Mandalorian, there is a lot of diversity. There are characters from lots of different backgrounds, races, genders, religions, and even planets! However, the acceptance of the differences between these characters is mixed. 

For example, we see Mando, who is often confronted by others who would like him to remove his helmet - something against his creed.

There’s also young Grogu, who has a habit of eating a froggy-cuisine that might not appeal to everyone. And lastly, there’s the whole Mandalorian versus Jedi feud. 

Despite this last difference, Mando tries to create an inclusive environment for Grogu by accepting him for who he is, and seeking out help from the Jedi, even though he was taught to hate the Jedi. 

This is the way - reaffirm inclusivity efforts

Inclusion, in this instance, refers to a sense of belonging and acceptance in the workplace.

To build an inclusive workplace, you have to start by taking steps to craft an open and empathetic culture.

As seen in the Mandalorian, just because there is a lot of diversity, it does not mean that there is a culture of inclusivity.  

To build an inclusive workplace, SHRM recommends the following steps: 

  • Educate about and make your leaders accountable for inclusivity efforts
  • Create an inclusion council 
  • Respect and celebrate diversity
  • Listen better - hear what your employees have to say

Taking the time to create and implement a strategy to create a diverse AND inclusive workplace will help you to attract and retain talent without making your new hires feel like they are part of a “diversity quota”. 

Work to keep your unconscious bias in check

Grogu vs Yoda

When other characters see Baby Yoda for the first time, they are often shocked. Many of them have never seen anyone like him before.

In the beginning of the Mandalorian, Mando has no idea who he is searching for and is surprised to find his target is a small child.

Because of Grogu’s small stature, he is constantly underestimated by his friends and foes.

Those who do recognize him might compare him to Yoda, and use the legendary Jedi as a mental comparison for the potential in Grogu. 

This is the way - identify your biases

There are a number of biases we can see in the Mandalorian

  • Horn effect: This occurs when someone jumps to a conclusion based on one trait or characteristic. For example, Grogu is underestimated based on his size. 
  • Confirmation bias: This occurs when someone seeks information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs. For example, Mando distrusts droids, so he always sees the “dark” side of technology. 
  • Stereotyping: This occurs when someone holds a distinct picture of who someone is based on their appearance, culture, gender, race, or religion. For example, assuming all Mandalorians will act the same or that Grogu will follow the path of Yoda to become a Jedi. 

Unconscious biases can make hiring for new employees difficult because you may end up excluding qualified candidates.

Using AI or unbiased hiring features are a great way to make sure that as you build your teams, you are taking your biases out of the equation. 

Watch out for employee burnout 

Baby Yoda giving wisdom about balanced workload

Although Baby Yoda has a very strong ability to use the force, using his skill makes him very, very sleepy afterward causing him to take a nap at very inconvenient times and locations.

If young Grogu continues to push himself to his limit, he very well might experience burnout. The first stages of burnout are manifested in increased fatigue and drowsiness, decreased concentration, and memory impairment. 

This is the way - how to help an overworked employee

To ensure that Grogu and your employees are not at risk of burnout, there are a few steps you (and Mando) can take. 

  • Make sure the workload is distributed evenly between workers 
  • Give a diversity of tasks (don’t keep someone doing the same repetitive task)
  • Let people rest: make sure there’s always time for lunch, provide adequate breaks and time off, and limit your overtime requests
  • Offer professional support and be open to changing environmental causes that are contributing to employee burnout

Technology, in the right hands, has the power to help

IG-11 protecting Baby Yoda

Mando is very distrusting of droids. Given the fact that his parents were likely murdered by droids, his stance makes a lot of sense. However, IG-11 is the perfect example of a droid that becomes an ally of Baby Yoda and the Mandalorian. 

IG-11 was a bounty-hunter droid, programmed to capture the Child at the beginning of the series.

He is eventually defeated by Mando and is later reprogrammed to use his same skills to protect the Child as a nurse droid. Thus the very thing that Mando was afraid of becomes a useful tool to assist in the care of his teammate. 

This is the way - technology and teams can work hand in hand!

Adopting new technology can be scary. Sometimes it takes a little change in perspective in order to see the benefits of trying new tech!

In the HR and recruiting world, this fear of the unknown sometimes applies to switching to a new ATS. But just like Mando and IG-11 worked towards a mutual goal together, collaborative hiring software can work hand-in-hand with your recruitment team to make sure your candidates are well cared for. 

Final thoughts 

Whether you’re fighting in Star Wars or fighting in today’s Talent War, there’s plenty of inspiration to be had from our friend Grogu in his galaxy far, far away. Don’t forget to show your employees you care on Star Wars day and every day of the year.

May the 4th be with you! 

Listen to Baby Yoda to keep your star talent

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