Why transparency is key to getting workers back to the office

September 1, 2022, 9:56 AM UTC
Updated September 1, 2022, 9:57 AM UTC
Businesswoman enters office
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Good morning.

With Labor Day just around the corner, the headline of the day on fortune.com yesterday was this: Here’s the secret to bringing employees back to the office without them hating you. It’s the business challenge of our time. On the one hand, most CEOs I speak with recognize something was lost during the pandemic in terms of employee connection and belonging. On the other hand, most are also in an intense battle for talent, and can’t afford to drive away their best. 

So what’s the secret? Transparency is key, writes Fortune’s Paige McGlauflin. Workers want to understand why they are being asked to come back. And employers want to know why their employees are so intent on staying home. With an open exchange of views, it should be possible to find a new normal that leaves everyone better off—providing the in-person interaction that helps teams bond, as well as the flexibility that workers crave. (For an update on Goldman Sachs’ struggle with this topic, read here.)

Separately, Bill George—former Medtronic CEO turned leadership guru—has a new book out this week, written with my friend and millennial entrepreneur Zach Clayton. It’s called: True North: Emerging Leader Edition. I asked George why a “millennial” edition of True North was needed. His response:

“We are witnessing a massive change in leadership from the Baby Boomers who have dominated for the past 30 years, to emerging leaders, which include Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. The Baby Boomers’ style of command-and-control leadership is dead. Younger employees simply will not accept it or they will quit, which has contributed to the Great Resignation.

“Emerging leaders are moral leaders who are guided by a strong sense of purpose and values. They seek alignment with organizations whose purpose and values are congruent with their own. They focus on empowering their teammates and coaching them to reach their full potential.

“They practice a fully inclusive style of leadership, appreciating others for who they are regardless of external differences such as gender, race, religion, national origin or sexual identity. They have led through the crises of the past two decades and are better prepared to lead through today’s multiple, intersecting crises. They are committed to meeting the needs of all their stakeholders, and willing to take stands on moral issues, based on their purpose and values.”

More news below.

Alan Murray



Chip embargo

Nvidia’s share price fell more than 5% after it said in an SEC filing that the U.S. government had told it to stop exporting key A.I.-oriented chips to China. The chips include the recently-announced flagship H100, which is still under development—Nvidia warned that the government’s move could interfere with its completion. Rival AMD, which has also revealed the U.S. is blocking exports of its MI250 A.I. chips to China, also saw its share price fall 3%. Reuters

China crimes

China may have committed crimes against humanity through its treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province, according to a U.N. report that cited “large-scale arbitrary deprivation of liberty” as well as torture and forced-labor allegations and “serious indications of violations of reproductive rights.” China, which tried to block the report’s release, has produced its own counter-report defending its “de-radicalization” program. Guardian

Car wars

A new trade war between the U.S. and EU may be brewing, over new tax credits (included in the Inflation Reduction Act package) that will push Americans to buy American when purchasing a new electric car. Brussels is not amused, given that Tesla and other U.S. manufacturers have benefited from many European EV and battery subsidies. Politico


Corporate America is waking up to frontline workers’ importance, according to Ford Foundation, by Jose García

California may require fast food chains to pay their workers more. McDonald’s says it ‘hurts everyone’, by Alena Botros

New CEO of Alibaba’s most important international business unit wants to rival Amazon and Zalando in Europe. ‘We go where brands want us to go.’, by Bloomberg

One of Wall Street’s best bubble spotters says we’re still in the middle of a ‘superbubble’ that hasn’t popped yet, by Will Daniel

Mikhail Gorbachev starred in a famous Pizza Hut ad celebrating Western brands in Russia. Now he’s dead, and fast-food giants are fleeing Putin, by Colin Lodewick

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

This is the web version of CEO Daily, a newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

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