Hybrid-Remote Collaboration Team for Innovation Image by StratupStockPhotos at Pixabay.com

2022 CEO Workforce Sustainability: How to improve remote hires, mental health, retention, trust and value

Since 2021, SME CEOs have worked out many Post-COVID-related hybrid workforces challenges through reshaped Corporate and HR Playbooks. However, a growing body of workforce research indicates rapid corporate challenges are surfacing. There are missed opportunities to address unintentional knowledge worker turnover and SME market competitiveness. 

“Employee engagement and well-being remain very low, and it’s holding back enormous growth potential,” – Gallup Global Poll – State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report.

Today, this rapidly evolving knowledge workforce is driven by their reassessment of work-life priorities. For instance, remote workers’ focus is on their career fulfillment with successful teamwork engagement. On the other hand, they don’t see remote isolation and loneliness as mental health conditions. These work-life priorities present the CEO with newer strategic remote work challenges and opportunities. More importantly, open, unaddressed issues significantly impact today’s ongoing corporate talent and turnover war!

In addition to creating revised policies for a hybrid-remote workforce, CEOs need to rethink enterprise-wide culture: 

  • Individual trust  
  • Remote career integration  
  • Quality of value-added teamwork 
  • Mental health enhancements
  • Work-life priorities  
  • Retention programs 

CEOs are well-advised to reshape the strategic remote playbook for knowledge workers. Minimizing turnover requires remote flexibility, trust, career value, and work-life priorities. These enteprise-wide actions will allow us to be more competitive and increase innovation and ROI for the future. 

CEO Hybrid-Remote Workforce Takeaways

  1. Reimage and Lead the Hybrid Experience
  2. Design Approaches for Workforce Happiness 
  3. Create a Work-Life Engagement Model for Better Mental Health 
  4. Reshape a Comprehensive Remote Onboarding Playbook 

Here’s how.

Reimage and Lead the Hybrid Experience 

CEOs and leaders must lead by example, requiring a comprehensive hybrid/remote workforce experience. C-Suite spent too much energy on overhyped newer facilities and excessive operational efficiency. For instance, its focus has been on consolidated locations, redesigning offices, real estate footprint, shop floors, and others. There is a huge missed opportunity for the actual remote knowledge workforce needs! SME leaders must have a deeper insight into the overall remote talent workforce health and its support mechanisms. In fact, it has considerable paybacks to minimize costs and talent turnover. Overall, the enterprise will have higher productivity, leveraged team resources, and accelerated advanced market services to succeed in today’s marketplace. 

“It’s (work) no longer a place, but an activity.” – Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce;

North America Chairman/CEO and President of Defense

First, CEOs must reimage, adopt, and trust a thoughtful remote knowledge work lifecycle playbook. It includes integration and onsite locations for appropriate facetime teams, collaboration, and support for remote workers. SME leaders must find the right remote work battle rhythm for work teams. Likewise, remote teams should connect cost-effectively to work face-to-face and be engaged, innovative, and supported. Otherwise, remote knowledge workers will walk off the job! 

Second, individuals and work teams must drive when onsite work needs to happen. Similarly, critical remote work efforts should support onsite innovation, customers, suppliers, and key team colleagues’ events. 

Third, 2022 trending research shows that video engagement of 100% of the remote knowledge workforce leads to more “virtual 2D burnout and turnover.” In addition, it adds to disengagement, isolation, loneliness, and lack of innovation and creativity. Notably, virtual happy hours or trivia nights are mostly useless, especially on Friday. Remote teamwork must be knowledge worker-centered for value-added with onsite collaboration.

Design Approaches for Workforce Happiness 

Complex research shows that remote employees’ happiness is a critical turnover factor and involves: 

  • C-Suite leadership and remote workers must align with the CEO’s vision and values,
  • Management teams create an on/off-site work culture that is creative, engaging, and team-building, and 
  • Work teams’ driven flex schedules 

All of the above improves overall remote career success to drive knowledge worker happiness to avoid turnover. 

It’s just a job; it’s just a list of tasks; there’s no loyalty to the company,” –  Christopher Collins, Cornell University, Director, CAHRS.

For instance, suppose executive leadership values are misaligning its remote workforce values, or team leaders are dumping too much non-productive/non-value-add work on them. In addition, the onsite teams drive remote rigid schedules just for productivity. In these cases, it will not be long before remote workers see themself as not valued. They quit! Sadly, it’s often true, especially since most onsite workers score promotions and visibility.  

Create a Work-Life Engagement Model for Better Mental Health  

C-Suite should reshape work-life engagement policies and create a model to address remote knowledge workers’ longer-term mental health challenges.

“Employee well-being and happiness are surprisingly powerful predictors of performance.”  –  MIT Sloan Management Review.

With these CHRO policies and training, business units and team managers can continuously support the new hybrid hire lifecycle for home/work-life balance engagement for better mental health outcomes to minimize depression, isolation, and loneliness for burnoutIt’s essential for team leads to capture timely sessions for positive attitude/state or negative checklist for happiness metric data trends on work accomplished for further crucial support conversations. For example, use regular check-ins, one-on-ones, and work satisfaction data checkpoints. CHRO should craft additional work-life priority training for jumpstarting/retraining managers with remote workers’ onboarding.

A corporate remote self-reporting directive should encourage remote/flex workers to ask team leaders for early help! Remember that the selected metric trend data above can help managers target and address remote worker issues early.

Reshape a Comprehensive Remote Onboarding Playbook 

CHRO Hybrid Workforce Policy should require a refreshed hybrid-remote retention playbook. Why? Usually, the current HR new hire onboarding policy, processes, and plans don’t work well for today’s hybrid/remote knowledge workers and their team managers. Most workforce playbooks address onsite entry-level, repetitive, standardized work, manufacturing, sales, and management skills. Knowledge teams require more flex time, authority, and support.

Companies that fail to adjust their workforce policies to reflect these emerging realities are likely to underperform those that do.” – MIT Sloan Management Review. 

Hard-to-recruit remote knowledge workers require a several-day onsite comprehensive jumpstart retention program on day one. It requires: 

  1. New hires for an in-person, in-depth remote-onboarding training model that integrates tailored key management sessions, team connections, facetime, rules of engagement, well-being evals, and employee support mechanisms; and 
  2. Managers for training remote workers’ collaboration engagement, non-production/value work allocation, critical conversations, and indicators/measurements for work-life balance support to drive happiness with high-performing career-oriented workers.  

Into The Future 

Now that most global experts and researchers support hybrid-remote knowledge work, it’s here to stay!

From now on, SME CEOs’ Strategic Hybrid Workforce Playbook will continuously reshape to be more remote work efficient, quality value-added, sustainable, and innovative to keep its leadership vision on point to yield more substantial ROI/ROE. 

In addition, “talent from anywhere” hires should increase the corporate board ESG performance social reporting—for example, DE&I goals. 

CEOs’ vision and culture must keep aligning, communicating, and reshaping the hybrid knowledge retention plans. Most importantly, executives must focus on business value-added on/off-site work, team-building, and collaborative work activities. However, today’s enterprises require new data-driven remote learning and training models for competitiveness and unlocking ROI for each line of business for corporate hybrid sustainment models. 

Selected Research

MIT Sloan Management Review, “3 Common Myths About Work Culture”Somers, Meredith, May 24, 2022.

MIT Sloan Management Review, “Stop Telling Employees to Be Resilient,” Fosslien, Liz, and West Duffy, Mollie, April 25, 2022.

MIT Sloan Management Review, “Top Performers Have a Superpower: Happiness,” Lester, Paul B., et al., February 16, 2022.

Princeton University Press, Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It,” Kelly, Erin L. and Moen Phyllis, March 17, 2020.

The University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School: Knowledge at Wharton, “Finding Balance in a Post-pandemic Workplace,” Basiouny, Angie-Author with Klein, Katherine, and Cameron, Lindsey, July 19, 2022.

WIRED: Business: “It’s Tough to Build a Corporate Culture in a Remote-Work World,” Pardes, Arielle, February 23, 2022.

Copyright @ 2022, STEVE HAWALD CEO CIO ADVISORY LLC and Board-CXO Research Insights + Vision© Newsletter©. DISCLAIMER: These articles are entirely the author’s opinion without financial payments and engagements. The peer review was by Carol Rozwell.


The views and opinions in this analysis are my own and do not represent positions or opinions of The Analyst Syndicate. Read more on the Disclosure Policy.