Why 2020 marks the era of the ‘for all’ leader

February 18, 2020, 8:29 PM UTC
Courtesy of Accenture

When the top leadership at a company inspires everyone on their team to contribute, outperform, and realize their maximum human potential—no matter their title, identity, or experience—it helps that organization become a great place to work for all. That caliber of leadership effectiveness is something that Great Place to Work calls “For All Leadership.”

For All Leaders foster genuine human connections within and across diverse teams of people and enable every employee to bring their best and whole selves to work. These inspiring business executives transcend traditional leadership approaches that don’t keep up with today’s economic and political challenges. They embody emerging mindsets and skills like humility, empathy, and learning agility. They are the drivers of innovation and are setting the pace for the future of work.

When you read through this year’s ranking of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, you will find evidence of For All Leadership at nearly every company. From Julie Sweet’s leadership in employee development at Accenture, to Chris Nassetta’s purpose-driven work in diversity and inclusion at Hilton, to Aneel Bhusri’s employees-first programs at Workday and Marc Benioff at Salesforce’s leadership in equality, the CEOs at these top global companies have created exemplary workplace cultures in many countries around the world—and have improved the lives of the people they employ by taking the For All Leadership approach.

Great Place to Work has also just published two new reports that take a deep dive into the 30 years of data that we’ve collected from millions of employees around the world. The Future of Work examines how artificial intelligence, politics, and recessions will affect business over the coming years, and Hidden Pieces of the D&I Puzzle reveals three previously-hidden areas where business leaders can succeed by prioritizing their efforts around diversity and inclusion.

When it comes to automation, we’ve found that your employees’ biggest fear isn’t being replaced by a robot. It’s being treated like one. The Future of Work reveals which industries are the readiest for artificial intelligence, and those that face a deficit. Hint: the professional services industry is way ahead of the game. And not surprisingly, 84 percent of the companies on this year’s 100 Best Companies list have already prepared for the coming wave of automation.

These reports explain how companies of any size can best prepare for the decade ahead. By analyzing 14 years of data collected from responses to Great Place to Work’s Trust Index survey, representing nearly 4 million employees from 1,672 U.S. companies, our researchers also discovered some surprising trends that tied a company’s success to its diversity and inclusion initiatives. The reports show how D&I plays a crucial role in:

  • Helping companies thrive during a recession
  • Preserving and improving equity during restructurings and re-organizations
  • Improving overall performance. (When employees decline to reveal their full selves, a business can’t run at full strength.)

Our research shows that gaps in employee experiences grow at companies that engage in corporate restructuring, specifically mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and layoffs. In the reports, we identify the key experiences employees have at companies that have thrived during previous economic downturns. In fact, companies that engage in one or more of these activities typically have an employee experience that is 45% greater than companies that did not restructure.

For All Leadership will be the theme of this year’s Great Place to Work For All Summit, scheduled for March 3-5, 2020, in San Francisco, which will host nearly 2,000 CEOs, CHROs, and other top executives who are committed to creating a great place to work for all. The three-day event will also include a closed-door session to discuss diversity and inclusion. For more about the Summit, or to download the Future of Work and the Hidden Pieces of the D&I Puzzle reports, visit greatplacetowork.com.

We look forward to seeing you at the Summit.

Michael C. Bush is the CEO of Great Place to Work and the co-author of A Great Place to Work For All. Christopher Tkaczyk is the Chief Content Officer of Great Place to Work and a former editor at Fortune and Travel+Leisure.