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Return-to-Office Plans Don’t Have to Undermine Employee Autonomy

In recent years, organizations have been hard at work reviewing, renewing, articulating, and disseminating their corporate purpose. Renewed corporate purpose statements have more explicitly centered human-centric values, such as employee well-being, growth, and inclusion. This has been a good thing: Gartner research shows that businesses who put these human-centric values front and center see better talent and business outcomes. However, return-to-office mandates, if not done strategically and transparently, can feel like an about-face in employee flexibility, autonomy, and well-being, and starkly at odds with a human-centric corporate purpose. The authors identified three imperatives to help leaders navigate the return-to-office revolution in a way that strengthens, rather than damages, employees’ connection to the organization and its purpose.

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