There is no question that the pandemic has ushered in profound and permanent changes to how and where we work. This, coupled with today's insatiable demand for workers, has created what many are calling the Great Resignation. Yet what's happening is not really about people quitting their jobs. This is about a realignment and migration to where, how, and when workers want to work. It's actually a worker "revolution" in which workers are determining if they will work from home, in the office, or in a mix, along with a variety of other decisions that typically would be made by the CEO.
For their part, CEOs are struggling to make the right decisions for the futures of their organizations. They are working in completely uncharted territory without experience, precedent, or proven solutions to determine the right path. Yet decisions about how organizations will operate, expectations for employees, and determinations for workforce safety need to be made. The trick will be to make sure that leaders' decisions line up with those of their workforce. If they don't align, the outcomes could be catastrophic.
So how do CEOs figure out how to make these new and tough decisions? There are five fundamental factors they should consider when determining the successful future of their workforce.
1. Money matters
Pay is still a driving force in employee resignations, and employers can still use compensation to improve their odds of attracting and retaining employees. According to a recent survey of CEOs by my employer, Vistage, 63 percent say they are boosting wages, and 21 percent are now offering hiring bonuses.
2. Employee development can make a bigger difference
Behind pay, employee development has become the secret weapon for competing for talent. This can be a powerful differentiator for employees with options in the job market and also has a radical impact on retention. Employees can compare and contrast companies' professional development offerings and ensure the leadership development, personal wellness, and professional skills and training offered are in line with their career goals and aspirations. More than a smart investment in talent, making training and development a competitive differentiator is a long-term investment in the success of the organization. It will continue to pay dividends for years to come.
3. New skills are required for managers
The role of the manager, always important for the efficiency and success of any organization, has become much more critical and also very complicated in remote and hybrid environments. In a remote world, performance and output are the only metrics. Managers have to become motivators, setting standards that encourage people to deliver against goals. The skill sets of frontline managers are going to have to be radically rethought and redeveloped.
4. It comes down to a "combo culture"
Reshaping culture is essential -- especially if companies don't want to miss out on the coming productivity surge. An organization's culture will now include both in-person interactions and remote independent work. Maintaining this "combo culture" of both physical and virtual experiences is very challenging. Leaders and managers will have to redefine their cultures to bring out the best performances and contributions -- wherever employees are working. There is massive productivity gain coming as a result of hybrid work, where the benefits of working together to innovate, collaborate, and problem-solve are realized, along with the power of independent time to get things done in a way that works best for individual employees.
5. Focus on how to power personal productivity
The workforce revolution that is happening now is not that different from the industrial revolution or the digital revolution -- they have all been about reaching new levels of productivity. Today, workers have a new opportunity to create, generate, and fulfill their aspirations to be successful in their endeavors and pursue their passions. Leaders have an important role to play in helping their employees achieve their goals. There are tremendous opportunities for upside for everyone if leaders can get their organizations ready.
In the future, successful organizations will have built cultures that empower their employees to create and innovate. Leaders need to think -- and act -- on this goal now. The opportunity is to not only generate new levels of productivity but to unleash the inner genius in all of us. It's too big and too important to miss out on.