June 25, 2024

How to Encourage Executives to Return to the Office and Address Turnover Challenges

By: sanjay sathe

While many organizations had no choice but to quickly transition to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic, more employers are increasingly implementing return to office mandates. Depending on the company, some are requiring employees to work in person full-time, while others offer hybrid schedules, with a few days in the office each week and a few days remote.

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As more companies require employees to return to the office, fully remote job openings are also declining following a spike in recent years. However, job seekers are still eager for remote work opportunities. According to data from LinkedIn, while remote job postings are declining, with only 10% of open roles listed as fully remote in December 2023, those jobs received 46% of all applications on the platform.

If your organization is in the process of rolling out return to office mandates, like many other businesses, you may be facing pushback from employees across all levels—from junior employees to senior executives. Learn tips to encourage senior leaders to return to the office, along with how you can address turnover challenges when employees choose to pursue fully remote options elsewhere. 

Tips to encourage executives to return

While employees across the organization may not be eager to return to the office, executives and other senior leaders are essential to successful return to office policies. Encouraging executives to adhere to in-person work requirements can help them lead by example. If your CEO and CHRO or another HR leader implemented the policy, they should be held accountable for returning to the office so others will follow suit.

The following tips can help drive in-office work adoption across executives and other leaders. 

1. Clearly communicate your reasoning

According to a survey conducted by Fishbowl, about half of respondents don’t understand their company’s return to work policy. Additionally, a top reason employees don’t want to return to the office is that they don’t understand the reasoning or benefits behind the decision. 

Clearly articulate the company’s strategic objectives with your executive team and leaders, along with how in-office work aligns with organizational goals. Emphasize the benefits of face-to-face interactions, such as improved collaboration, stronger team dynamics, and more effective mentoring opportunities. Informal interactions such as chats before and after meetings or casual conversations over coffee and lunch also build camaraderie and engagement among employees. By starting at the top and ensuring leaders understand and are motivated by the benefits of returning to the office, you can increase the likelihood of adoption across the business. 

2. Support flexibility with in-office schedules

While calling workers back to the office offers many benefits such as improved collaboration and increased productivity, offering some flexibility and hybrid work options can be helpful for engaging and retaining employees. 

According to a survey of workers across the globe from Future Forum, 75% of respondents who are dissatisfied with their level of flexibility plan to look for new opportunities within the next year. Additionally, recent research from International Workplace Group also found that about three-quarters of employees surveyed experienced decreased levels of burnout and increased productivity and motivation since switching to hybrid work. 

Your organization can support flexibility by setting a minimum number of days for employees to work in the office and allowing individuals or teams to choose which days they work in person. Another option is allowing employees to work from home if they don’t have any collaborative meetings on a given day and want to concentrate on focused work. 

3. Offer executive coaching resources

Gartner’s annual Top HR Priorities survey, found that the top HR priority in 2024 is leader and manager development. Taking an ongoing approach to developing and coaching leaders is essential to long-term business success. 

Just as it’s important to offer executive coaching to help new leaders quickly onboard and assimilate when they join the company, coaching can also help leaders make successful transitions back to the office when they haven’t worked in-person for some time. 

Executive coaching enables leaders to improve self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and communication skills and learn to lead with empathy. Effective coaching also helps executives be better prepared to lead change—such as successfully managing their teams as they return to full-time or hybrid in-office work. 

4. Identify succession planning and internal growth opportunities 

According to research from ResumeBuilder.com. remote workers are 24% less likely to receive promotions compared to their in-office colleagues. When asking employees to return to the office, emphasize the positive impact that in-person collaboration and relationship-building has on leaders’ likelihood of being offered future growth opportunities. 

Also implement proactive succession planning to help your organization identify and nurture current employees for internal growth opportunities. Consider opportunities for in-office training and development, which can help encourage employees to work in-person in order to continue growing in their careers with the company. 

How SucceedSmart can help you address turnover challenges

No matter how much effort you put into encouraging executives, senior leaders, and other employees into returning to the office, unfortunately, some employees may choose to leave the company for a role that allows them to work fully remote or have more flexibility. In fact, recent research from Gartner found that high-performing employees are the biggest flight risk amid return to office mandates. 

Building a pipeline of qualified executive candidates is essential as you navigate challenges related to returning to the office. Rather than rushing to hire executive recruiters you may not need a few months down the line and conducting a lengthy executive search process, SucceedSmart can help address your immediate executive hiring needs. 

SucceedSmart acts as an extension of internal talent acquisition teams and is disrupting traditional executive recruiting, which is expensive, non-inclusive, and inefficient in today’s fast-paced world. We offer a unique blend of proprietary and patented AI and human expertise to quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively deliver ideal candidates for executive teams.

Our powerful, patented AI-driven algorithm matches best-fit candidates with open positions based on specific accomplishments, which eliminates conscious and unconscious bias and promotes diversity in executive recruitment. This approach also enables your talent and recruitment teams to spend more time focused on and building relationships with the most qualified candidates. 

Both Fortune 500 and venture-backed startups are using SucceedSmart’s executive search & recruiting platform to hire executive talent. Hire qualified executives in as little as 4-6 weeks, compared to 4-6 months with traditional executive search, while driving 70% cost savings.

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