What it takes to be considered a great employer during the Great Resignation

April 26, 2022, 10:38 AM UTC

Good morning.

I had the privilege yesterday of interviewing four CEOs whose companies rank at the top of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, on what it takes to be considered a great employer in the post-pandemic, Great Resignation world. None had a silver bullet answer. Pay, purpose, culture, and caring all got shout-outs. However they do it, these four—Cisco (No. 1), Hilton (No. 2), Accenture (No. 6), and Target (No. 12)—are bucking the trend, earning high marks from employees in the most difficult of times.

Some advice they offered others trying to combat the Great Resignation:

“Employees don’t want to be employees, they don’t want to work for managers, and they don’t want to work for executives. They want to be human beings who work for other human beings. And I think authenticity and the importance of being human, understanding the things they’re dealing with as humans, and building that into how you approach them in your day-to-day work with them, is so important.”
—Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco

“You need to communicate like crazy, be transparent about everything you’re doing all the time. You can’t communicate enough in this environment. Keep communicating and finding ways, digitally or otherwise, to keep people connected to your purpose. People need to know why they work for your company, and if they don’t, they’re not going to work for you very long.”
—Chris Nassetta, CEO, Hilton

“In the future, successful companies will do three things with respect to talent. They will be able to access talent. They will be talent creators, not just consumers, unlocking the potential of talent. And they will use technology to complement talent and make employees net better-off…Those three things are what great companies have to do in the next decade to be a great place to work.”
—Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture

“One thing that we’re not experimenting with is the importance of training and development. If anything, we’ve accelerated our focus on officer development and advanced leadership programs. I spend a lot of time taking groups out and mentoring them myself over a two- or three-day period…We have to double down on training and officer development and making sure there’s a clear career path for individuals as they go forward.”
—Brian Cornell, CEO, Target

By the way, it turns out many of the people who participated in the Great Resignation are now having second thoughts. Michael Bush, who runs Great Place to Work—Fortune’s partner in the ranking—cited a new survey from his parent company, UKG, showing more than 40% of the people who left jobs now say they were better off in their old jobs. The grass on the other side, it seems, is not always greener. 

More news below, including our takes on what Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover means for users, employees, investors—and for Tesla.

Alan Murray



Nuclear risk

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned of a “considerable” risk of nuclear war breaking out with the West, and asserted that NATO is effectively going to war with Russia by arming Ukraine. According to Ukraine, this was a threat designed to scare the world off continuing arms shipments, and a tacit admission that Russia may lose the war. Fortune

Bezos vs. Musk

“Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage over the town square?” mused Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Twitter, regarding Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. It was a reference to China being Tesla’s second-largest market. China’s foreign ministry responded to the speculation by denying that it could try to use leverage over Tesla to influence what happens on the social media site. Fortune

Hyperloop test

Moving over to another of Musk’s myriad companies—he really is stretching himself awfully thin—his Boring Company will begin full-scale testing of its Hyperloop pneumatic tube for people later this year. Or so it claims. Fortune

Bitcoin 401(k)

Fidelity Investments will later this year become the first major retirement-plan provider to let workers add cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin, to their 401(k)s. Wall Street Journal


Trump contempt

Former President Donald Trump has been found in contempt of court for inadequately responding to a subpoena issued in an investigation into his business dealings. Fortune

Canadian housing

Canada is trying to address a housing crunch that sees the standard home costing twice as much as down in the U.S. Fortune’s Yvonne Lau examines the measures, which include a ban on foreigners buying houses in Canada for two years, and the likelihood that they will succeed. Fortune

Greener NFTs

The NFT world is trying to address its carbon footprint, as Lucy Sherriff writes in this piece for Fortune: “As the NFT marketplace has grown, a new generation of blockchains—and NFT creators—has emerged that aims to take its environmental footprint into account from the start…One of the main challenges is that the bulk of NFTs are primarily traded in marketplaces that rely on Ethereum, which has a huge carbon footprint.” (Bonus read: NFTs worth $2.8 million were stolen after the much-hyped Bored Ape Yacht Club saw its Instagram account hacked.) Fortune

Results vs. response

Some companies are “successfully outmaneuvering inflation and war in Ukraine to deliver impressive earnings beats,” writes Fortune’s Bernhard Warner…but they’re still not getting much love from Wall Street. “Most analysts blamed the recent swoon in equities on a more hawkish Federal Reserve,” he writes. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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