‘Flexibility is critical right now’—CEOs discuss how to attract and retain talent

Good morning.

Recession fears may be growing by the day, but the battle for talent still remains top of mind for many business leaders. At a Fortune CEO Roundtable yesterday, sponsored by McKinsey, participants discussed both the opportunities and the challenges of attracting and retaining talent in this new world of work. Some excerpts:

“If you are hiring people based purely on salary, if it’s just a financial transaction, nothing more, you’re going to lose people…People need to come to believe in the purpose of what you’re doing…There is much, much more to attraction of talent than just ‘Here’s a salary,’ because you’ve lost them at hello, if you do that.”
—Charlie Lowrey, CEO, Prudential

“Flexibility is critical right now. We are actually seeing it more in our distribution centers than in our stores. But it’s gonna fast follow into the stores, too…We are using new scheduling tools to see, How do we provide more flexibility in scheduling? How can we swap out a schedule at the last minute? How do you find a substitute and do that swap? How do we sort of gamify it?”
—Marc Rosen, CEO, J.C. Penney

“I mean there’s a reason why the Department of Defense doesn’t try to do boot camp remotely. You know, some things actually need to be done together.”
—Bill Schaninger, senior partner, McKinsey

“What I’ve said to our team is one thing is for sure, that what we’re doing today is not what we’re probably going to be doing in six months, and that we all have to be innovative and flexible and learn as we go through.”
—Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP

“I don’t think the Great Resignation is about wages. I think it’s about team, trust, and purpose. And if you don’t get that right, you are more exposed…as labor power and choice return to employees.”
—John Driscoll, CEO, CareCentrix

“The Monday–Friday thing, that’s done. That’s never coming back in my opinion. I don’t think you’ll ever get a person to come back in on a Monday or Friday, you know, bar none.”
—Dave Heath, CEO, Bombas

“Cybersecurity will be a big impact because it’s really hard when you don’t know where your people are working from.“
—Christian Ulbrich, CEO, JLL

I think the pandemic has forced a realization that technology allows greater and more equal access to learning. People can learn skills to do jobs that they never could learn before—they had to go to university. It has also enabled people to do jobs, especially high-paid jobs, in other places.”
—Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera

More news below. And read this story about how HP went from takeover bait to one of Warren Buffett’s top tech bets.

Alan Murray



Interest rates

The Fed’s aggressive 0.75 percentage point hike yesterday was the U.S.’s biggest in nearly three decades, and there’s likely more coming. Fortune’s Alicia Adamczyk spells out what it means for Americans. Fortune

Kids’ vaccines

The FDA’s independent advisory panel has unanimously recommended rolling out Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest age group, starting at 6 months old. The CDC still needs to sign off on the deployment, but it’s likely that small kids in the U.S. will be able to get their jabs from Tuesday. CNBC

U.S. manufacturing

The Danish toy behemoth Lego will invest $1 billion in a Virginia plant that will employ over 1,760 people—its first U.S. factory. Bloomberg

China and Russia

In case anyone was unclear where China stands on the Ukraine/Russia front, here’s President Xi Jinping yesterday, in a call with President Vladimir Putin: “China is willing to mutually support Russia on core interests and matters of paramount concern, such as sovereignty and security, as well as [achieve] closer strategic cooperation.” Politico


CEO pay

Fortune’s Maria Aspan interviewed Abigail Disney about her crusade against “insane” CEO compensation: “After years of publicly advocating for both higher worker pay and higher wealth taxes, Disney wishes that more people paid attention to the relationship between the two—and to the ever-widening gulf between what top corporate executives earn, and what they pay their employees.” Fortune

Bob Chapek

Staying on the mouse-house beat, Nicole Gull McElroy has a great Fortune profile of CEO Bob Chapek, which poses the bazillion-dollar question: “He can run Disney, but can he lead Disney?…Being the CEO of Disney involves an alchemy that makes it a more nuanced job than leading many other Fortune 500 companies.” (Bonus read: no Disneyland trip for Twitter staffers this year.) Fortune

BlackRock strategy

The world’s biggest money manager is launching a new investment program targeting renewable-energy infrastructure and corporations’ green transitions. BlackRock’s new strategy will initially put a significant focus on Europe, where everyone’s scrambling to abandon Russian fossil fuels. Financial Times

Bye, chai

Pakistan’s planning minister would like citizens to reduce their tea consumption, to help the country weather its economic crisis. Pakistan is the world’s largest tea importer (the U.S. is second) and the idea is that drinking a cup or two less per day would mean the government has to borrow less to finance chai imports. Citizens are not impressed. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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