The edge of the razor is a podcast series exploring “IT Services for the New Workplace” produced by CIO.com in association with HP Inc.
In this series, technology experts provide unique insights into the challenges associated with digital transformation and discuss how innovative cloud-based services, solutions and software can help you plan and prepare for what lies ahead.
The edge of the razor is hosted by Leif Olson, Distinguished Technologist at HP Inc., and he is joined by Bruce Michelson, HP Distinguished Technologist Emeritus at HP; Jeff Malec, HP Lifecycle Strategist and Technology and Solutions Evangelist; and Cody Gerhardt, HP Distinguished Technologist and Chief Technologist.
In Episode 2, the group discussed “The Great Resignation” and how it affects almost all (if not all) industries. As Leif noted, it’s a phenomenon “that has affected everyone and that started manifesting itself about halfway through the pandemic, when people had the opportunity to go back to work.”
Bruce started with an operational definition of the great layoff.
“It is an informal name given to the widespread trend of workers switching jobs, switching jobs and changing jobs prematurely, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “However, it is important to understand that the seeds for this transition were laid long before the pandemic. Historians will debate this for years after the pandemic is over. It accentuated what used to be called work-life balance.”
Interestingly, because everyone was now working outside the home for an extended period of time, there was an expectation that people wouldn’t be as productive, Bruce said.
Leif noted that the current situation is something that previous generations did not often experience because there was not much work from home. He noted that he has been working from home in some capacity since 2005. If he was told he had to go back to the office every day, “I’d be looking for a new job.”
The group then addressed the confidence issues that arose during the lockdowns that took place in the early stages of the pandemic. Jeff mentioned the hospitality and restaurant sectors.
“Those are the areas where trust was broken because people had to close or cut hours,” he said. And workers said, ‘Hey, I’ve been taking care of you for years. Suddenly it gets hard, and then you turn your back on me. I’m going to change industry, look at a different situation.’”
An impulse for entrepreneurship?
The Great Resignation has also given people the opportunity to start their own businesses. As Bruce noted, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if The Great Resignation became a breeding ground for many entrepreneurial activities in our economy right now? And it looks like that is indeed happening.”
Bruce noted that one consequence of the pandemic is that “transparency by employers has become an important issue”.
“It’s extremely important that your employees understand what your plans are for them, how valuable they are, because all the information available suggests that when you lose that confidence, you start looking for a job,” he said.
What about the emotional toll that leave takes on people?
“They probably won’t be interested in returning to their previous position,” Bruce said. “If the position wasn’t important enough to endure a downturn in business, that’s a lot to deal with emotionally.”
What does it take to attract talent?
The group then moved on to discuss what steps companies should take to attract new employees and ensure they stay in for the long haul. At the top of the list: the ability to work from home. Also important: the right equipment to get the job done.
As for what employees want, “they are now looking at the culture, the IT footprint and can they give me the tools I need to be productive at home effectively?” said Bruce. “And do I have the flexibility to work on it whenever I want and let my manager learn to manage my output instead of managing me? I think we’re seeing a not-so-subtle shift in all those areas.”
Cody added that the conditions are essentially reversed. “The employee now wants loyalty from the company,” he said. “And that means things like tuition reimbursement, flexibility and better IT tools and processes to make life easier.”
The episode ended with a spirited discussion of “very fluid mobility and the labor market,” the rising “gig economy,” and the impact of total compensation versus compensation. Jeff had the final words: “The key here is that employers need to think about how to be authentic and respect their employees to stay out of the aftermath of the current layoff.”
Finally, Leif gave a preview of the next episode of The edge of the razorcovering the topic of BYOD and CYOD in the workplace and whether it is feasible for companies to try it.
Have a question for Leif and the boys? You can reach them here: [email protected]
Don’t miss Episode 1: Modern Management, which explores the challenges and benefits of new management methodology.