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Let’s start off on the right foot

“What I love about America is not necessarily the American Dream but the fact that there’s so much spirit of fighting to continue to dream once the dreams are broken.” —Chloe Zhao


The skinny

According to a recent report, 97% of companies experienced an increase in turnover over the past 12 months.

That’s a lot.

For real. What’s more, almost half of the survey respondents said the pandemic had a major impact on their turnover, with larger companies (those with 50 employees or more) reporting the biggest losses.

Turnover blues.

This ain’t no puff pastry. Turnover is at its highest level since 2015, when just 11% of business leaders said they had an increase in job changes within their company. The good news is, there seems to be a clear, winning solution.  

And the Oscar goes to…

Benefits. Almost 2/3 of respondents said benefits help improve retention, up from 58% in 2017 and 61% in 2019. Many employers are considering offering gold-statue level benefits. In fact, 55% of business owners would like to sweeten their benefits offerings to top talent.            

Ah, the sweet life.

Not so fast. Low job satisfaction, lack of available job training or professional development opportunities, ineffective leadership, and benefits that don’t meet the needs of employees are all factors contributing to lack of engagement and turnover.

Not so sweet.

Salty. But like we said before, benefits make all the difference. In fact, voluntary benefits enrollment is one of the best predictors of tenure, increasing to a median tenure of 6 years vs 3 years for employees not enrolled in voluntary benefits. Pass the chips pls.

Date with data: 68% of employees said that voluntary benefits positively influenced their desire to work for and stay with an employer.

Further reading: Sticky benefits: How voluntary options can double employee tenure.

The skinny

Recent study reveals clash between CEOs and employees with 83% of CEOs wanting employees to return in person, while only 10% of employees want to come back full time.

A true throwdown.

Indeed. As companies shove desks apart, install plexiglass dividers, and stagger work schedules, workplace safety is still a major concern. We’re not even close to herd immunity and even though vaccination rates are increasing, only 20% of the population has been fully vaxxed.

No office stampede here.

You’re not alone. As many employees have proven they can do their jobs remotely, they are bucking the idea of returning to the 9-5 with pants on and at their office desks again. That plus, schools are still not 100% open, throwing childcare concerns into this stew of complexity as well.

This stew is thick.

Grab a spoon. Even though office occupancy rates remain low, they are expected to pick up in the coming months. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a target return date of May 3 for about 80,000 municipal office workers and Amazon expects to end its remote-work arrangements by fall.

Here, take my spoon back.

Not into the return stew, I guess. If you work for a tech company, you may have better luck. Companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter are all giving employees the hybrid option. But most executives outside of the tech industry don’t like the idea. Only a quarter of them say they will allow employees to work remotely for a significant amount of time.

But why?

To put it bluntly, trust issues. Although employees report higher rates of productivity working from home, executives don’t believe it; holding strong to the notion that more work gets done in a traditional office setting.

Ok, Boomer.

You’re not wrong there, but many younger workers are also missing more traditional office settings. Overall, 90% of employees miss some aspect of their workplaces like being with friends and teammates, small talk and, of course, free lunch and snacks.

Always here for the food.

Knew that. Butt don’t forget about flexibility. Now that employees have established new routines based on flexible work schedules, many will refuse to work for organizations who don’t offer them at least a hybrid-work model (see turnover rates above). Like most happy endings, it all comes down to love. In a global survey of employees, people who love their workplaces are up to 4x more likely to perform at a higher level than those who do not.

Where is the love?

Hopefully at the top. At the end of the day, employers and especially executives need to take a deep breath and do a deep dive into what their employees want/need to be productive and successful, taking into account that their personal “executive” experience may not be the same as their employees. Ahem, nannies and 6-figure salaries.

Date with data: 62% of employees believe companies should require vaccines before returning to work.

Double date: 47% of employees will likely leave a job if not allowed to work remotely at least part of the time.

Totes quotes: “Remote work is not a new normal, it’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible.” —David Solomon, CEO, Goldman Sachs

Totes two: “Companies are all looking at each other trying to see who will bring people back first, and what kind of negative PR they get. That will dictate how quickly the others follow.” —Peter Cappelli, Director for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania


The skinny

A smarter way to get more done is to look for ways to apply our strengths effectively in addition to managing our time and energy.

What do you mean?

Ever heard of working smarter, not harder? Identifying your unique strengths can help with that.  

What strengths?

Yes, it can be difficult to identify our own strengths. I can help. First, think about what you’re good at or what you’re known for.

The Cheeto fiasco of ’98.

Um, I was thinking more along the lines of work. It might be better to start thinking about your patterns. We all have tendencies and those can be indicators of how we do things. If you tend to be an all-or-nothing person in your personal life, you’re likely to be that way in your professional life, too.

Ok, so no Cheetos?

Not in this exercise. Once you start identifying your work strengths (are you great at presentations? A wizard at data analysis?) start to identify ways to build those “muscles.” Try delegating tasks you’re not as good at so you can focus on the work at which you excel.


Sure, that’s not always possible. But if you can focus on your “zone of genius” or the areas in which you thrive and blossom you can start to lean into the things that matter most to you. The things that water your flower and make you feel happy and engaged.


Would a Cheeto change your mind? At the end of the day, it’s all about communication. Having a conversation with your leader or team identifying: “here’s where you get the best of me, here’s where you get the worst of me” is important to start building on your strengths. Plus, setting expectations about areas in which you may need more coaching or help can improve productivity and overall happiness at work.

Totes quotes: “You can’t think about your strengths without your weaknesses; weaknesses are based in strengths. For example, the traits that made Steve Jobs a genius also made him difficult to work for.” —Jonathan Raymond, author of How to Become the Leader Your Team is Waiting For.

Further reading: How to embrace your weaknesses and become a better leader.

Quiz: Are you a people pleaser?

This: Who you are, who you want to be

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