October 3, 2023

3 dumb things return to office companies screw up


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

I love lists

I’m not anti-office. In fact I’m pro “whatever is best for the business and keeps employees happy.” Remote. Hybrid. Office. You do you.

But we’re seeing some companies push the office return without thinking it through.

I’ll call this list “Employee Retention Disasters Waiting To Happen.”

1. “Let’s hire a senior leader to manage the all-onsite staff because our existing leaders are staying remote.”

This is the personnel version of the affordable housing crisis. Everyone agrees we need more affordable housing. But no one wants it in *their* neighborhood.

You guys, we need to go back. Osmosis learning. Keep our culture.

Just not me. That’d be crazy…

2. “Existing employees can stay remote. Everyone new: you’re 100% onsite.”

Nothing slaps quite like inequity from the start. Grandfathering *seems* reasonable. Reward those who stuck with you for a job well done.

Of course the question is, if those members got the job done…why the return push anyway?

The real harm here is it plays right into…

3. “Even the middle managers are remote.”

At least the companies in point 1 above had an idea. If the onsite team gathers in a conference room to chat with their manager on Zoom? RIP employee retention.

There’s no easy solution to the “we hired all over the place and now we want to centralize again” problem. Putting the toothpaste back in the tube ain’t easy. And don’t get me started on forced relocation (another rant for another day.)

But there’s one immutable truth:

👉Onsite company leaders need to lead by example. Otherwise whatever “culture gain” you were hoping for will go the other way.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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