A New Year – Same Challenges

By: Pierre Morrisseau, CEO, OneGroup

CEOs are entering 2023 better prepared after a long period of unique challenges yet facing many of the same risks and issues. According to the most recent Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey, the majority of CEOs are cautiously optimistic that their companies will perform well this year and will continue to focus on investing in key strategic areas, particularly digital transformation and talent acquisition and retention.

This is true at my company as well as we are seeing continued stress on the organization from “The Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting.” As a result of the tight and highly competitive market for the best talent, employees have shown that they aren’t hesitant to quit their jobs and find something that better caters to their needs. Adding to that stress, the migration over the past few years to remote work has likely permanently altered the workplace environment and requiring workers to return to the office is showing that is serves to push away top performers.

We’ve seen that pizza parties, ice cream trucks and happy hours are not going to be what entices employees to return to the office. We are working harder than ever to enrich the workplace experience on a personal level for our employees and promote the benefits–both to the employee and our clients–of high-focus collaboration.

According to some business surveys, companies are looking to redirect a portion of their real estate budget towards high-intensity, high impact team off-sites. Our firm has had great success in pulling various teams together in off-site locations to problem solving and camaraderie, as well as holding a company-wide offsite we call Day Of Learning, where all employees come to Syracuse for a full agenda dedicated to their personal growth and enrichment.

We are experiencing there is no one-size-fits-all approach for bringing our employees back to the office. We realized we needed to figure out what works best for our employees, culture, and business needs. Forcing employees to conform to pre-pandemic modes of doing business leads to increased resignations and unhappy employees. Yet new research from Microsoft found that 50% of leaders are planning to require employees to return to in-person work full-time in the next year even while this same research revealed that 52% of employees are considering changing to a full-time remote or hybrid job. We hope to learn from this research and take the corrective steps to prevent losing valued employees. For example, to ensure we are meeting the needs of the individual, it is crucial that our leadership team take the time to solicit feedback from employees.

The Fortune/Deloitte survey confirmed that nearly all CEOs (94%) expect to see talent shortages for certain roles. When asked what they plan to do, CEOs indicated that they will focus on the employee experience, looking at ways to empower employees, and manage the tension around returning to the office. The plan to offer more flexibility and predictability in hours and location of work, increased immediate rewards for taking on more responsibilities, sabbatical programs, paid leave for caregiving, and more.

We at OneGroup view this persistent employee engagement issue as a significant item on the list of operational risk. It is easy to become disconnected from employees, customers, vendors, and the community in the current environment.  As we enter the New Year, we must find ways to adapt and stay connected.

If you have questions about risk management or would like to share ideas on how you are finding success with talent acquisition and retention, I would love to hear from you. Here’s to your great success in 2023.