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How Franklin Templeton plans to win the war for talent by making remote work fair

April 26, 2021, 7:15 PM UTC

Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson knows that her company will face a war for talent in the months ahead. With more businesses than ever now leaning into remote work for the long term, a competitor doesn’t need to be located in the same city to poach employees.

“They will pick off your talent if you haven’t built an organization that can thrive in this,” she says.

That’s why the CEO of the investment manager is working to make remote work as fair as it can be. The key to that success is the “little things,” says Johnson. “Not talking over each other, making sure people speak up, making sure there’s microphones so that the person who’s on video has the same opportunity as the people in the room—that actually changes how meetings operate,” she says. “Meeting protocols are important so you don’t disadvantage those who are calling.”

Another small change for the business is reevaluating how the company breaks up shifts for its call-center workers; traditionally those hours were spread out geographically, with East Coast employees handling the early mornings and West Coast workers staffing the closing shift.

“What if you could go on from your home and pick your hours?” Johnson explains. “So you can leave for two hours a day to go take your child to the doctor, or you could coach your kids’ soccer? Will you retain people longer if you build that kind of flexibility in the system?”

Johnson offered these insights at the Fortune event “A New Era for CEO Leadership.” She was joined by fellow chief executives and leaders Chrissy Taylor of Enterprise Holdings, Tricia Griffith of Progressive, and Salesforce chief innovation officer Simon Mulcahy, among others.

The Franklin Templeton executive pointed out that these strategies could especially benefit women, who often serve as caregivers at home and desire more flexible hours. Added Lorraine Hariton, the president and CEO of Catalyst, an organization that works to advance women in the workplace: “It is true that we really need to have the right techniques, if we’re really going to make this work on a long-term basis—that we don’t have people gaming the system. Then we just get back to where we were over time.”

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