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Burnt-out workforce? Consider 'microbonuses,' says expert

Eric Mosley, co-founder and CEO at Workhuman, talks about how the unprecedented size of at-home professionals is creating burn-out, a lack of loyalty, and low retention rates. Building a worker-to-worker connection and yes, end-of-year bonuses, can be great incentives, says Mosley.

Video transcript

JARED BLIKRE: That's a big move for Kroger. That is the biggest one in 28 years. We want to shift our attention now to the jobs market. And that's ahead of tomorrow's non-farm payroll report, which we're going to be covering live starting at 8:25 AM, with yours truly. But we want to talk about the great resignation. And we're going to bring in Eric Mosley, the Workhuman founder and CEO. Eric, thank you for joining us today. We all know what the great resignation is right now. How should workers be preparing for the future at this stage of the economy?

ERIC MOSLEY: Well, it's amazing to see the absolute seismic shock that is the great resignation and how it's affecting all workers in the US. Research will show that 40% of workers are planning on looking for a new job. There's unprecedented levels of loneliness and isolation in the workforce. That is a seismic change over the last couple of years.

So I think what we're finding from talking to all of our customers, which are leading HR professionals, is that their biggest challenge is to try and create a new environment, a new culture, which is a little bit more human, caters to the full human needs of their employee base, to try and build up loyalty and retention in that employee base, given the unprecedented levels of churn that we're seeing in the workforce.

ADAM SHAPIRO: You know, it's interesting because some of us who are a bit more old-fashioned would say perhaps the solution to that becoming more human is just going back to the office. But I know that's not in the cards. So you recommend-- and how would this actually be put into place? It's got to be more than just a bonus, right? I mean, cash is great, but once you've got the cash in your pocket, you still want to walk if you're feeling isolated, lonely, and overworked.

ERIC MOSLEY: Yeah, obviously, employees sitting at home, going on Zoom to attend their business meetings, they're starting to become disconnected from their workplaces, from their colleagues. The relationship infrastructure in companies is really decaying. And culture is kind of falling apart in many, many companies. So what companies are trying to do is build connection between employees, and ultimately, to get them back together, to find a way that they can interact physically, so they can look each other in the eye and have that human connection.

So things like end of year bonuses can be great incentives to get higher levels of work from employees, but ultimately, if you can create more micro bonuses throughout the year, where employees are recognizing one another for a job well done, you're basically building relationships, you're building connection human moments that matter between employees. And that's a much more effective way to build culture and connection.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, got to love those micro bonuses. But I want to shift gears a little bit, talking about retraining and relearning. This is-- if there's one bright spot of the pandemic, a lot of people have been able to switch careers. How important is it for employers to provide some assistance with that?

ERIC MOSLEY: I think it's become unbelievably important, the needs for workers. Especially, you know, to think about the shock that we had last year, the vast majority of the nonessential workforce retreated to their home, to their basements and their bedrooms and tried to conduct work over a video conference and didn't come out for a year.

And so now the need to be able to flourish in that environment, there's a technical need. There's new skills needed. New jobs have been created in every company to try and manage a distributed work force like that in a new, more hybrid work environment. So we have to retrain. Employees have to learn new skills, technical skills, interpersonal skills, new ways of working so that they become more connected and more productive in this new hybrid way of working.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Eric, tomorrow, we get the Labor Department report. And one of the things that we will all zero in on is a metric they have reported since the pandemic began. At one point, teleworking was around 27%. Now it's down to 11.7%. Going to be interesting to see if that number has continued to fall. What do you think? And what do you take from the fact that we have seen it come back down? I think before the pandemic, we were around 7% to 8%.

ERIC MOSLEY: Yeah, I think what you're going to see-- well, regardless of what you're going to see in the jobs numbers tomorrow, what we are seeing is a long-term secular change in most office-based work companies are moving to a hybrid work environment. They're moving to a new role for the office in the workplace. The office is no longer the place where work gets done. That's a seismic shift. Work doesn't get done in a place anymore. It gets done by teams, by human beings working together.

So over the next couple of years, every company is going to have to grapple with the workplace, the office being a place where people gather in a hybrid way, not all the time, not every day. And so you'll see more teleworking, where people will half telework and half be in the office, so that they can have some form of connection, but maybe not all-- every day.

JARED BLIKRE: And we appreciate you stopping by here, Eric Mosley, the Workhuman founder and CEO.

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