The Impact of the Great Resignation


Voice of the C-Suite Community

Dr. Sky Ammann

Global Head of Analytics, Healthcare Business Group

3M

3M applies science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily as their employees connect with customers all around the world.

Karl Hightower

CDO

Novant Health

Novant Health is a not-for-profit, integrated healthcare system that serves patients and communities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Tod Mitchinson

VP and CISO

New York Life

New York Life Insurance Company is a Fortune 100 company and the largest mutual life insurance company in the U.S. and one of the largest life insurers in the world.

Eddy Wagoner

CIO, Digital

JLL Technologies

JLL is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.6 billion in 2020.

Erin Feigal

SVP & CHRO

Prime Therapeutics

Prime Therapeutics helps people get the medicine they need to feel better and live well, serving nearly 33 million people with total drug management solutions.

NOVEMBER 2021

Introduction



C-Suite Strategies for Leading Through the Great Resignation

After nearly two years of managing through a global pandemic, businesses and C-suite leaders are experiencing another disruption in 2021: The Great Resignation. Resignations have been unusually high in 2021 with 4 million Americans leaving their jobs just in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As business leaders plan for 2022 in this environment, we wanted to know how C-level executives in Evanta communities are managing the complex workforce landscape. We asked 5 leaders across different C-suite roles for their insights on employee attrition, retention and recruitment and how strategies like a strong culture and employee engagement can limit the impact of the Great Resignation.
 

The Workforce Landscape: 3 Themes

In a recent pulse survey, we asked C-level executives if they are experiencing greater-than-normal attrition at their organizations this year, and 60% of executives said yes. 29% reported that it’s about the same as previous years, and 11% said no, they are not experiencing high attrition this year. 

As C-level leaders reflect on what is causing employee attrition and how to prevent it, three themes emerged:

  1. Focusing on Culture & Flexibility

While the majority of executives are reporting attrition issues, some are recognizing the flip side of the coin that the Great Resignation represents – a recruiting opportunity. It’s a chance for leaders to communicate and reinforce the positive outcomes of the past two years, such as more flexible ways of working and an increased focus on company culture.

  1. Retaining Employees Now & in the Future

In our pulse survey, 71% of C-level executives said that they are offering more flexibility to try to engage and retain employees right now. After flexibility, the top two strategies were improving company culture (66%) and reviewing compensation (65%). The C-suite leaders share how they are focusing on those priorities.

  1. Meeting & Exceeding Employee Expectations

When it comes to attracting new employees, C-level executives are focused on company culture and making their organizations a great place to work. They are also continuing a best practice from the pandemic – ongoing, transparent communication with employees.

 

1. Focusing on Culture & Flexibility


How can the C-suite lead effectively and plan for 2022 in this shifting environment? One answer is by reinforcing the positive changes their organizations have made during this time for employees – from improvements to company culture and more flexibility to an increased focus on effective change management and employee engagement initiatives.
 

Community Voices

I think the current workforce is very competitive and active. A lot of people are looking right now and interested in thinking about what is next. The working environment is rapidly changing to remote-first, allowing more opportunities to everyone."

Sky Ammann
Minneapolis CDO Community

Regarding outlook and planning, we’re focusing even more on agility, simplification and effective change management. We know that we’re in a fairly unpredictable environment in many facets of our work; therefore, we’re learning to leave space for unexpected priorities. In the past, we would model out our strategies pretty ambitiously without a lot of room to flex.”

Erin Feigal
Minneapolis CHRO Community

It has been hard to keep the pipeline of talent replenishment full. While the number of people that have left is not tremendously greater than in years past, we have not been able to get in the right talent to replace or grow fast enough.”

Karl Hightower
Charlotte CDO Community

Perhaps we are outliers, but we have not experienced material attrition at this point in time.”

Tod Mitchinson
New York CISO Community

Recent third-party research noted that the ‘Great Resignation’ could be an opportunity to be a ‘Great Attraction’ for top talent to your company, if you make the right choices. This is perhaps more relevant to us at JLL. We not only want to attract new talent while retaining our current talent, but we also manage the real estate portfolios for a who’s who of the world’s organizations, all of whom are looking to do the same thing. With that in mind, we know that flexibility is one of the major demands people have of their company’s future work strategies. As we implement and adopt technologies in the digital workspace to help us collaborate and be productive while working from home, we’re looking—for both ourselves and our clients—at how we use technology to enable flexibility in the physical workplace when people choose to return.”

Eddy Wagoner
Chicago CIO Community

 

2. Retaining Employees Now & in the Future


In addition to company culture and flexible work models, C-level executives are working across the C-suite to identify critical positions in the organization and to review compensation and benefits for hard-to-replace roles. Evaluating ways to improve the overall employee experience is also a priority.
 

Community Voices

I think compensation is a challenge for many roles. I think companies don’t have a great sense of what technical talent can make by leaving and working in untraditional ways or consulting. In addition, technical talent really wants flexibility in their work-life balance.”

Sky Ammann
Minneapolis CDO Community

The competitive nature of retaining and attracting talent intensified immensely in 2021. Staying connected with employees’ needs and perspectives, as well as the trends and movement of the external market, are both key focuses for business leaders. From there, formulating proactive recommendations, presenting with influence, and executing thoughtfully are next steps. At Prime, our Hub and Home™ hybrid working model was an example of putting those words to action. We quickly realized last year there are so many efficiencies and a great deal of empowerment and flexibility in working from home. We also realized we missed connecting with our colleagues in person to establish relationships, work collaboratively, innovate and have some fun together. Our Facilities team, in partnership with IT, HR, Legal and others, researched and came up with a hybrid work model that takes the positives of each, combined with a virtual system to connect both worlds in a seamless, modern way.”

Erin Feigal
Minneapolis CHRO Community

Remote work, pay increases, more support services for stress and health are part of the programs that we have put in place.”

Karl Hightower
Charlotte CDO Community

Identify key roles and individuals who may be at risk due to compensation, work/life arrangements, and other factors. We recently did just that. HR did a market analysis against key individuals, and we were able to make one-time compensation adjustments to get them to parity with the market.”

Tod Mitchinson
New York CISO Community

A better employee experience is one of the critical demands we see in every survey we commission, as well as independent research we review. People are demanding flexibility in where they work. They are seeking workplaces where they feel valued, understand the company and their individual purpose, and have a sense of belonging. We can only meet employee expectations of JLL, as well as those of our clients, if we ask and understand what they want and need. One size does not fit all; understanding the demands of the employees, the culture of the company and the requirements of the industry is critical to creating the right hybrid strategy. Implementing and managing it requires collaboration across teams, such as HR, IT, real estate and others, like never before. The more we work together to leverage the data we collect, implement enabling technologies and communicate to employees what we are doing, the better their expectations will be met and the better their experience will be.”

Eddy Wagoner
Chicago CIO Community

 

 

3. Meeting & Exceeding Employee Expectations


How can executives be proactive when it comes to changing employee expectations? Insights from C-suite leaders include continuing to listen and engage with employees, ongoing communication in both directions, connecting their work to a purpose and keeping the focus on their experience as employees. The bottom line is to make your organization a great place to work.
 

Community Voices

We need to make sure we keep our employees motivated and engaged. That is what employees want most. Flexibility is great, but good leaders and work are better.”

Sky Ammann
Minneapolis CDO Community

Keep listening and taking action, focusing on meaningful career development and connection to company purpose and strategy, while paying attention to the market and assessing trends against the needs of the business.”

Erin Feigal
Minneapolis CHRO Community

Communication. Both listening to people and understanding what they are saying, as well as communicating to them what is going on and what you are seeing and hearing as a leader.”

Karl Hightower
Charlotte CDO Community

Continuous engagement and communication.”

Tod Mitchinson
New York CISO Community

People want to know that the work they are doing is meaningful, that they have increased flexibility in when and where they work, and that we provide a better employee experience to them. At JLL, we have a strategic objective to lead our industry in the way we use data and technology for our clients. At a time of global pandemic disruption, we have chosen to transform our industry. Communicating the change—the disruption—we are actively embracing is a critical challenge as we seek to attract people to join our technology teams.”

Eddy Wagoner
Chicago CIO Community

 

Conclusion


As Erin Feigal notes, “The pandemic and other related phenomena have had an impact on our work environments in so many ways.” C-level leaders are continuing to listen and adapt, offering more hybrid and flexible ways of working and exploring ways to meet and exceed employee expectations. 

While the impact is felt differently across C-suite roles, no one is immune from issues of retention and recruitment. As CISO Tod Mitchinson said, “Being accountable for the cybersecurity program, I need trusted and qualified resources to get things done.” CDO Karl Hightower echoed that sentiment: “The current environment makes it challenging to deliver on business needs, which have only increased in volume and velocity.”

All C-suite leaders know that finding and keeping talent is critical to their success. Some executives, like CIO Eddy Wagoner, see an opportunity: “Every CIO that I talk to faces these issues. However, I believe that I have a great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as CIO, because where you do your work is a big part of your experience.” 

CHRO Erin Feigal sums it up well: “The world is changing rapidly, and those changes can be on your company’s doorstep in an instant.  As a business leader, it’s more important than ever to be connected internally and externally, nurturing strong networks to share with, lean on and learn from.” 

If you’re looking to join a conversation on C-level leadership or the current workforce landscape, find your Evanta C-level community and join an upcoming gathering to connect with your peers.

 

Special thanks to all participating companies.
 


by C-Level, for C-Level



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