/How top CEOs, executives plan to address the Great Resignation in 2022

How top CEOs, executives plan to address the Great Resignation in 2022

  • Millions of people have quit recently, and surveys suggest the Great Resignation isn’t over.
  • Top execs at Deloitte Consulting, Intel, TIAA, and others shared their plans to address this trend.
  • Their strategies focus on prioritizing mental health and investing in leadership training.

Even after months of historic numbers of people leaving their jobs, the Great Resignation isn’t letting up. In a survey of American workers conducted in December by Resume Builder, an online resource for job seekers, 52% of respondents who indicated they planned to quit their jobs said they anticipated doing so in the first half of 2022.

“YOLO,” said Sean Woodroffe, a C-suite executive at the investment giant TIAA. “People are realizing that you only live once. They’re rethinking their priorities. I find it incredibly inspiring.”

Whether executives are inspired, worried, or both, one thing is clear: The Great Resignation is at the forefront of their minds. A recent survey of 175 chief executives by Fortune and Deloitte found that their top concern was attracting and retaining talent. In response, some companies have boasted perks like raises for existing talent and cash incentives for people interviewing. But long-term corporate plans to address the Great Resignation remain elusive for many.

To peel back the curtain on CEOs’ plans to slow the bleed of talent, Insider spoke with top executives at Deloitte, Intel, Liberty Mutual, LinkedIn, and TIAA. Their strategies revolved around two themes: prioritizing mental health, and investing more in talent development. New strategies are also emerging. Amid controversies at the tech company Basecamp and the


online-mortgage

startup Better, CEOs have vowed to prevent toxic workplace cultures.

This massive shift in the economy “has compressed a decade’s worth of change into months,” said Amber Wiseley, Intel’s vice president of global benefits. “I believe people are looking for more from an employer than ever before.”

Developing talent, especially leadership

Headshot of Sean Woodroffe, who is responsible for TIAA's human resources strategy.

Sean Woodroffe, the chief human-resources officer at TIAA, told Insider that people want leaders who invest in their careers.

TIAA


Workers want a company that invests in their career growth, and CEOs are listening.

A 2021 Gallup survey found that upskilling programs — which it defined as “training or education that teaches new skills or advances existing skills” — ranked as the third-most-important perk for job seekers between 18 and 24.

A recent Visier survey also suggests a correlation between training and development and employee retention. Its report said that 32% of respondents who’d changed jobs cited a desire to learn new skills and that 26% cited a desire for better and more training opportunities.

Woodroffe told Insider that investing in associate development was a win-win for employees and employers and that it would remain a focus in 2022. “The best way for companies to retain their talent is to ensure a very purposeful career-development process,” Woodroffe said.

Deloitte Consulting CEO Dan Helfrich said one of Deloitte’s most influential investments in its people was Deloitte University, a center in Westlake, Texas, where the company provides immersive leadership training for employees. He said he would continue to expand its services.

“Deloitte University gives our people and potential recruits tangible proof of our commitment to their development and our passion for community service, inclusion, and sustainability,” he said. For example, in the fall and winter it hosted more than 10,000 employees who started during the pandemic.

Wiseley told Insider that investments in tuition assistance for degrees relating to one’s job would continue at Intel. “We are empowering our people by giving them the tools, resources, and learning opportunities to grow and advance their careers,” Wiseley said.

LinkedIn’s chief people officer Teuila Hanson said that while the company “doesn’t have all the answers,” investing in career growth is a clear strategy for the future. She shared that the company is focusing on retaining employees through career development programs. Chief among them is the company’s Career Month Program, a month the company dedicated to helping employees find mentors and sponsors, and learn how to pitch themselves for new opportunities.

Melanie Foley, an executive vice president and chief talent and enterprise-services officer at Liberty Mutual explained that the company will continue investing in programs around mental health, helping leaders “lead with empathy,” and trainings for managers on how to be more inclusive.

“Businesses will need to meet new and existing talent where they are,” Foley said.

Investing in mental health and well-being

The life-disrupting effects of the pandemic have caused many workers to rethink the cost they’re willing to pay for employment. For some, sacrificing their mental health is simply too high a price tag.

It’s something even CEOs are grappling with. Deloitte’s Helfrich said that in recent phone calls with Fortune 500 CEOs, he’d heard several suggest that they themselves may quit this year. They’re being forced to deal with their own mental health, and that focus is trickling down to their organizations, Helfrich shared.

Helfrich, who introduced “collective disconnect” days in 2021 in addition to other mental-health benefits, said that expanding wellness offerings would be a focus for him and other CEOs. “What we will continue to do in 2022 is listen to our people, understand their perspective on what their needs are, and have open and transparent conversations about ways to address them,” he said.

Liberty Mutual’s Foley said she’d be turning to employee-engagement surveys to see what workers want when it comes to expanding mental-health services.

Digital and on-demand mental-health services have been convenient and necessary tools for businesses as workers experience higher rates of stress and anxiety. Intel offers employees free access to several apps aiming to help employees relieve stress, including a platform called Modern Health, Wiseley said.

In addition, executives said they would embrace flexible work schedules and hybrid work to ease employee stress.

“We are worried about burnout. We’re worried about stress,” Woodroffe said. “If we are creating the level of flexibility that people are craving, we believe that that is our best defense, our best antidote to the Great Resignation.”

But tackling employee burnout goes beyond more flexibility and vacation days. “The biggest factor leading people to jump ship is that the culture is toxic, they don’t feel respected, and there’s a lack of integrity,” said Donald Sull, an MIT management professor.

That’s where investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion can come in. Wiseley said Intel was creating an inclusive-leadership certification program that would be mandatory or highly suggested for all managers by 2030. The company also aims to double the number of women and people of color in senior leadership by that year.

Headshot of Liberty Mutual's Melanie Foley

Melanie Foley, an executive at Liberty Mutual, is encouraging other leaders to embrace flexible work arrangements to promote workers’ well-being.

Liberty Mutual


Foley said Liberty Mutual would continue to invest in flexible working arrangements including remote work and compressed workweeks, a benefit that can help attract and retain working parents and caregivers. Helfrich said Deloitte was investing more in developing managers from underrepresented backgrounds.

“It’s not sufficient just to be what I refer to as a rhetorical activist on Twitter,” TIAA’s Woodroffe said. “We have to be engaged in making this world a better world.”

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