The way we work today is entirely different from the way worked 50, 25, 10, even five years ago. As the pace of technological advancements continues to accelerate, not only are the available jobs changing, but so are the tools, systems, and benefits employees expect from their employers.
Below, 10 chief executives of organizations featured on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For share how they’ve responded to the societal shifts brought on by new technologies and shifting demographics. Some stress the radical ways in which their companies have changed, while other highlight the fundamental aspects of their jobs, such as creating a positive, inclusive work environment, which remain the same.
Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit (ranked #13): “The pace of change today is unprecedented. Technology is evolving faster than ever and our employees need to keep pace with trends and strategy. To do that, we’ve increased our transparency so we can move faster – sharing information that was once only shared with the CEO staff with the entire company. Trust and reputation are also more important than ever in today’s connected world. We strive to build our reputation based on trust and respect, to attract and retain top talent.”
Cathy Engelbert, CEO, Deloitte (ranked #64): “When I first started at Deloitte 30 years ago, I had no computer, fax machine, voicemail or email. Yes, no email! We used pencils and 12-column paper. Today, technology is moving faster than ever. So, one difference in creating a great workplace is simply how to deal with speed. A great workplace helps employees thrive with this rate of change in client and customer needs, technology, tools, and expectations.”
Richard D. Fairbank, CEO of Capital One (ranked #17): “More than two decades ago, we founded Capital One on the belief that technology and information would revolutionize banking, starting with credit cards. That belief is even more profoundly true today. Technology is changing everything—the way we work, the way we live and the way we communicate. Entire industries are being disrupted and brand new industries are being created in the blink of an eye. The pace of change is both breathtaking and accelerating. The winners in banking will have the talent, skills and capabilities of a leading information-based technology company.”
Benjamin M. Salzmann, CEO of Acuity Insurance (ranked #10): “When business leaders express frustration over the inability to recruit and retain Millennials, I tell them Millennials are the greatest generation ever. The business leaders then get mad. I ask them how they hope to recruit and retain people they resent. Like it or not, the Millennial generation will assume society's responsibilities, and we will come to depend on them.”
Cutler Dawson, CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union (ranked #47): “Creating a great workplace today is no different than in the past. Take care of your people, ensure they are proud of the work they are doing, and you will have a great place to work. Great benefits and wellness programs help as well!”
Kevin A. Lobo, CEO of Stryker (ranked #19): “In order to ensure we stay connected to the changing needs of our employees, we regularly solicit their feedback. As result of this feedback, we have made changes to our workplace, including more focus on work/life balance and flexible work arrangements, creating even more access to senior leaders, and subtle but meaningful changes to the work environment like dress codes and workspaces. These changes are occurring very naturally and contributing to our consistent high-growth culture.”
Todd Jones, CEO of Publix Super Markets (ranked #22): “While there are always changes that impact our business, our commitment to our associates remains constant. Our workforce has always comprised people spanning many generations, from Traditionalists to Millennials. Likewise, our associates are serving customers of varying generations. While we have to understand the needs of a diverse workforce and change accordingly, we also have to remain focused on our foundational philosophies in order to perpetuate our great culture.”
Christopher J. Nassetta, CEO of Hilton (ranked #26): “The world is becoming more interconnected every day, which in some ways makes it more challenging to balance our personal and professional lives. As a result, we place a major emphasis on helping Team Members be fulfilled across all aspects of their lives – from their careers, to their families, to the experiences they have.”
Bill Anderson, CEO of Genentech (ranked #6): “I’m not sure it is so different than in the past — it’s just that few large companies have realized the importance of putting their mission to bring something uniquely positive to society and their commitment to every employee ahead of their financial goals. We tell our people: ‘If you ever feel that in order to meet your goals, you need to do something that isn’t in the very best interest of patients, or totally aligned with the scientific evidence, we want you to miss your goal.’ This has probably always been the best way to do business, but society is increasingly demanding it as well.” [Correction: A previous version of this item misattributed the quote.]
Arne M. Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International (ranked #33): “Creating a great place to work is about welcoming everyone – whether as guests or as co-workers or members of our communities. This has been at the heart of our business for the past 90 years and is even more true today. Our company is a global force because our associates proudly represent every corner of the world. No matter your place of birth, or your citizenship, your faith – or for that matter, anything that makes you the unique individual you are – your contributions are greatly appreciated.”
Edward H. Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines (ranked #63): “Just as Delta is focused on engaging the next generation of customers, Delta also wants be an employer of choice for the next generation. Millennials are hyper-connected and tech-savvy, and they’re likely to make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. Delta is working hard to ensure we continue to offer career opportunities that are exciting and unique to this next generation, while also maintaining a culture that upholds our core values.”