The Great Resignation has been called the Great Reshuffle, the Great Evolution, the Great Upgrade, the Great Retention and more. This issue highlights best practices emerging in benefits, culture-forming, manager training and retention strategies.
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The Great Opportunity: How COVID-19 May Have Changed Us for Good
Over the past several months, I’ve seen the Great Resignation also described as the Great Reshuffle, the Great Evolution, the Great Upgrade, the Great Retention and much more. All are appropriate, in different contexts. It’s clear that the past few years had accelerated critical shifts in the talent environment, shifts that were identified as early as 1997, when Steve Hankin coined the term “War for Talent.” In talking to HR leaders for this issue, we have heard many of them say, “The war for talent is over—the talent won.”
The truth is more complex, of course. But underlying that statement are some fundamental shifts that have truly taken hold. The numbers reflect those changes—February 2022 statistics show that the U.S. has more than 10.9 million job openings—and we’re seeing that those who left those jobs are looking for better terms, schedules and benefits.
You’ll find in this issue insights from CHROs describing their response to the talent wringer they find themselves in. You’ll find best practices emerge in new benefits, culture-forming, manager training and retention strategies. You’ll also hear from leaders like Indra Nooyi, who talks about her experience at PepsiCo, where building a strong culture was one of her key priorities. To that end, she talks about shifting bonus structures to reflect the need for strong people management practices. She noted that the CHRO role has now been elevated to one of the most important positions in the company.
In my career, I have had the opportunity to straddle strategy-focused and people-centered roles—from talent lead at Pfizer and HR lead role at Blackrock, to strategy lead roles at Harman and Vontier—as well as sharing organizational and innovation expertise with clients during my consulting years. From that vantage point, I believe it is time to challenge our conventional understanding of the “theory of the firm” built around the idea that organizations exist to reduce transaction costs. The digital revolution of the past two decades has rattled the foundations of that theory. Now COVID-19 has radically shifted those foundations. The firm is about purpose and promise.
How does a leader and CHRO engage around such large-scale change?
My fervent hope is that in 2030, when we look back at this time of tremendous change, we will see that it ushered in positive change for society, employees and organizations. We have learned to be productive and even excel under extremely trying times. We have embraced some changes and been thrust into others. I believe these changes are here to stay. I hope you do too.
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