The Great Resignation…by Remote Workers

Originally posted to KornFerry.com on June 17, 2021. 

The Great Resignation. It’s been the headline of the day and the topic that looms large at any company trying to snap back to business quickly. The question is, which group is bolting the fastest?

According to many business leaders and human resources pros, the largest pool of employees quitting is those doing remote work. That comes as a surprise to some who were hoping that allowing workers to stay at home this past year and a half would increase people’s satisfaction in their roles when the time came to return. Instead, many are apparently preferring to test the job market even when they are not asked to return to the office.

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The Human Touch

Originally posted to Korn Ferry’s Briefings magazine, issue 49 on June 10, 2021.  

Almost 100 years after Mayo and Roethlisberger began the conversation about human relations, a new iteration is taking form. Some call it “radical humanity.” Others use the term “humanocracy.” The essence remains. It is about purpose powering performance, rather than performance being the purpose. It’s a plea for businesses to put people and planet before, or at least alongside, profit. For leaders to have the courage to challenge old ways of thinking and to take on the big issues. It’s a yearning to use our creative faculties in collaboration with one another. A demand for empathy. For decades, workers have divided their identities into work and personal. Radically human workplaces, say the idealists, create the potential to harness the full expression of self for a purpose bigger than self. “It’s about a higher quality of existence,” says Jaime Maxwell-Grant, a Korn Ferry senior client partner.

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The Long Goodbye

Originally posted to KornFerry.com on March 3, 2021.  

No more commuting to work. More time at the house with the family. And never setting foot on a plane for an exhausting business trip.

In one of the stranger twists of the pandemic, a small but surprising number of older executives have discovered they’re arguably better off in today’s remote-work world—enough to put off retiring. To be sure, they’re still energized, working hard, and dealing with the work stress that the pandemic has brought on. “But I’m hearing the upsides are making it worth it to stay on,” says Kevin Cashman, global leader of CEO and executive development at Korn Ferry.

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Election Wrap: 5 Takeaways for Leaders

Originally posted to Korn Ferry Institute

Help show workers how to overcome instead being overwhelmed. Find areas where there are connections, not division. And do what leaders always should do: inspire.

In the wake of a week that has shown how divided the country remains in the political arena, business chiefs find themselves looking for ways to focus all the energy Americans put into the election back into the workplace. Reviving the troops, so to speak, is never easy in years when the Oval Office is at stake. But it’s even more of a challenge amid the unprecedented events of 2020.

It is possible, though. At least, that’s what leadership books and studies have been saying for decades. Looking for ideas relevant to the current times, we spoke with some Korn Ferry experts after Tuesday’s historic vote, discussing leadership, engagement, and inclusion. Here are five actions they suggested.

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How to Listen More Effectively

The election shouting may end this week—hopefully—but the feeling that no one is listening to us is likely going to linger. And not only in the political arena but at work too.

Indeed, experts say the US presidential election season, which has lasted two years, only mirrored a growing feeling among workers that their leaders talk at them, not with them. That feeling only magnified at work when video calls and masks became routine during the pandemic. “Leaders and employees are stuck in a communication cycle of giving information and providing updates instead of really connecting,” says Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry’s global solutions leader for leadership development.

It doesn’t help that many people, according to years of research, aren’t great listeners in the first place. That’s particularly true when the topic involves something distressing or uncomfortable, as has been much of the conversation between employees and leaders this year.

With that in mind, Korn Ferry searched for a few ways to help managers at all levels—not to mention one colleague to another—become more effective listeners.

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The Power of Being Authentic

By Gary Burnison, originally posted to Korn Ferry Institute

Basketball practice was over. As the other kids waited outside the gym doors for their parents to pick them up, I started walking in the other direction—telling my teammates I had someplace else to be.

The truth, though, was I always asked my dad to meet me a few blocks away. It was the early 1970s, and I didn’t want anyone at school to see my dad’s car—a 1956 Buick with a rusted bumper that belched blue clouds of exhaust.

My dad had gone bankrupt a couple of years before and we had no money. I hated going to the grocery store and always tried to pick the checkout line with the fewest people so no one would see us using food stamps.

The car, though, was just as bad for a teenager trying desperately to fit in and not stand out for the wrong reasons. As I slunk low in the seat of that old Buick, my dad knew what was going on—and I knew that he knew. But we never talked about it. He just let me be.

Today, of course, I’d love to have that old Buick to restore. Even more important, I wish I could have one more chance to open that car door and sit up tall and proud beside my dad. But that was beyond what this 13-year-old could do. I was too embarrassed to know who I truly was.

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Election 2020: Counting Down the Anxiety

Originally posted on Korn Ferry Institute.

We’re familiar with the usual drill. Every four years, months of intense campaigning lead up to Election Day. Then there’s a late night that’s over by midnight, or the next morning at latest. The drama is over, and everyone can go back to work fully focused. But this is 2020: somehow, few believe the Biden–Trump battle for US president will look quite like that.

As if COVID hasn’t already stirred up one uncertainty after another, now experts say that, barring a major surprise, the country won’t be waking up next Wednesday to an agreed-upon election result. Indeed, ballot disputes and court rulings on the election—along with congressional maneuvering—could drag on for weeks, if not through year’s end.

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Putting Value in ‘Values Differences’

Originally posted to Korn Ferry Institute.

Arguably, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the current fight against racial injustice have brought into sharp focus a host of systemic inequities that have impacted employees who are racial and ethnic minorities for far too long.

From healthcare disparities to professional headwinds, these recent crises combined have underscored the ways in which many of these employees face barriers to success not experienced to nearly the same degree by most of their colleagues. Some leaders were already working to address these inequities, but others have now started to reckon with the lack of diversity and inclusion within their own organizations. Part of that work involves actively and intentionally seeking out—and empowering—greater diversity in the backgrounds and viewpoints of their talent. But with so many different organizational priorities all requiring attention, just how important is diversity and inclusion to managers and their employees?

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Purpose-Driven Leadership and Its Impact on Long-Term Financial Results

By Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media.  Originally posted on Hunt Scanlon Media on November 15, 2019.  

Purpose doesn’t just add to an employee’s well-being; it adds to a company’s bottom line. That’s the key finding of a survey of top executives just completed by Korn Ferry. The vast majority of respondents (96 percent) said there is a long-term financial benefit to companies that make a strong commitment to purpose-driven leadership, with 77 percent agreeing “to a great extent.”

One of the reasons purpose-driven leadership may add to corporate financial gain, according to the survey, is the impact it has on employees. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they believe understanding and embracing the mission/purpose of their organization increases employee productivity.

“Without embracing the purpose of an organization – the motivating force of why it is so important that we exist – employees will become disenchanted,” said Kevin Cashman, Korn Ferry global leader, CEO and executive development. “Many will leave, or worse yet, stay and not be engaged nor offer discretionary effort for their organization.”

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The Courageous Life Podcast

Kevin was recently interviewed by Joshua Steinfeldt on his podcast, The Courageous Life, on topics ranging from the importance of purpose and authenticity, how to inspire through storytelling, Leading from the Inside Out, and why courage may be the most important trait in leadership.

Listen Here