Even before the vaccine rollout had gathered momentum, it was clear that a profound shift was underway in the American workforce. What started as a trickle of burgeoning interest has become a full-on torrent: Americans in record numbers are changing jobs, shifting positions, and in general, seeking to re-establish a better work-life balance and to find more meaning in their respective professions. For months, the data has borne this out, and the rate of change is accelerating.
In April 2021, U.S. companies announced 133 CEO changes, up 177% from the same month last year – a turnover trend building on a similar base of senior leader change in 2020. “Last April, companies were navigating what the pandemic lockdown would mean for operations. After a year, many companies have a completely new way of doing business… and companies are turning to new leadership for this phase,” said Andrew Challenger, SVP Challenger Grey & Christmas.
Wake-up call: As people emerge from pandemic isolation, they’re expecting strong leadership and support to help them navigate change and become re-energized and motivated. They need to experience a stronger sense of two-way trust, certainty, and connection.
The Employee Shift
More than half of employees surveyed in North America plan to look for a new job in 2021, and an article by Ray Maurer (SHRM) predicts the possibility of a “tsunami turnover” once the pandemic ends. To say that we’re living in a time of unprecedented leadership, organizational change, and significant employee turnover is an understatement.
What About You?
What if you’re one of the other 50% of Americans, especially those in C-Suite positions, who have no intention of going anywhere? What are you going to do to catalyze your executive effectiveness and performance? What’s your plan to attract, retain, engage, and motivate your team?
Is Your Organization Forward-Looking or Trapped in the Past?
As people step back from the “old normal” – slogging through stressful commutes, far from home, traveling for conferences, enduring endless meetings – many have gained greater clarity about the professional lives they wish to live going forward. COVID has confirmed for everyone the stark reality that life is indeed short!
Everyone, irrespective of rank, is asking themselves the following critical questions:
- How do I want to spend my time?
- What do work from home and home-life balance look like for me? Will it work?
- Will my existing company (or new company) provide greater autonomy and scheduling flexibility? What about my boss?
- Will my career growth be as robust if I’m not in the office, and will my employer enable, reward, or penalize remote working? What about my future growth?
- Am I motivated or de-motivated by the current plan and future outlook?
- Does the organization and its leadership have my back?
Unlike prior generations (who remained under challenging cultures), current professionals vote with their feet in record numbers. So, to keep those feet planted where they currently reside, CEOs and executives must hear and act upon the needs of employees and meet them where they are.
It’s time to truly “walk the talk.” Organizations with open, honest, and enlightened leaders engage, attract and retain top talent. These leaders create a real competitive advantage, leveraging the power of authentic leadership during a time of significant disruption.
Decisions and communications today will determine retention, productivity, and outcomes tomorrow. More than ever, assuring mutual needs and collective interests are met will determine competitive performance and long-term success.
Step Back and Look in the Mirror
Do you and your leadership team have a strong “Go Forward Strategy”? Have you included your employees in the process? Have they bought in, and are they committed to this direction?
Many CEOs have awakened to the importance of reconnecting with and supporting their people at a higher level. Don’t underestimate the multi-faceted needs of your workforce at this critical time.
Having spent over 30 years leading successful transformational change, I understand how daunting this challenge can be. You don’t have to do it alone. If you need the support of an enterprise-wide business advisor with deep experience “walking in your shoes,” let’s talk! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.