There’s an oft-quoted Harvard Business Review study about CEO behavior that was published way back in what seems like ancient history, before the pandemic, the Great Resignation and the ubiquitous presence of the phrase “supply chain.” In 2017 a team of researchers identified the behaviors that defined success for CEOs. And no, space travel wasn’t on the list. Neither was odd attire at business events.
What was on the list was the ability to “adapt proactively.” In fact, the study found that proactive CEOs are 6.7 times more likely to succeed than those with short-term vision. “We believe a long-term focus helps because it makes CEOs more likely to pick up on early signals,” the report stated. “Highly adaptable CEOs regularly plug into broad information flows: They scan wide networks and diverse sources of data, finding relevance in information that may at first seem unrelated to their businesses. As a result, they sense change earlier and make strategic moves to take advantage of it.”
Arguably this statement is more relevant now than it was five years ago. Any CEO that says he or she could have predicted a global pandemic and the various business dynamics it has created in 2017 is either amazingly clairvoyant or blatantly dishonest. And any CEO who says they know when these business dynamics will alleviate has the same talents or issues. CEOs have no shortage of issues to keep them up at night these days, but one issue keeps its staying power right alongside supply chains and inflation. That issue is the workforce. How do I get talent, keep it and grow it?
Evidence abounds. Exhibit #1: Blackrock CEO Larry Fink’s letter to shareholders, which dispensed with subtlety from the very beginning. It’s title: “The Power of Capitalism.” But it’s not the brute strength of money he was addressing. He spent a good part of his letter talking about the importance of a fulfilled and ambitious workforce. “Workers demanding more from their employers is an essential feature of effective capitalism,” Fink said. “It drives prosperity and creates a more competitive landscape for talent, pushing companies to create better, more innovative environments for their employees – actions that will help them achieve greater profits for their shareholders. Companies that deliver are reaping the rewards.”
According to a new Deloitte survey, 71 percent of all CEOs are concerned about a labor and skills shortage, which translates to “the Great Resignation” as well as the ability to mitigate that trend. No surprise then that several CEOs took the occasion of their quarterly analyst calls to focus on one strategy to attract and keep their employees, which is on-demand pay. No surprise when research done by DailyPay shows that vacant jobs fill up 52% faster by mentioning DailyPay in their recruitment materials. Talent is a C-level concern; on-demand pay is emerging as a C-level solution.
In a recent article in Motley Fool, Michael A. Witynski, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dollar Tree discussed the positive impact DailyPay has on their staff and their ability to attract new talent.
And he’s not alone. In an article published by Motley Fool, Aveanna Healthcare CEO Jeff Shaner addressed the labor shortage and retention issues in his company, listing his efforts to solve it: 24 hours a day recruiting engagement for all applicants; virtual orientation offered seven days a week in all time zones; virtual clinical training offered seven days a week, with over 1,500 clinicians completed to date; a DailyPay option for caregivers who need to be paid faster and more flexible; and a vaccination bonus program offering cash rewards for fully vaccinated caregivers.
The DailyPay benefit was not a lightly considered solution by these CEOs nor is it an impulsive decision to put a bandaid on the workforce retention problem. To their credit, they have done exactly what the HBR team recommended five years ago: They sensed change earlier than their competitors and made strategic moves to take advantage of it. Adding benefits, opening access to payroll and giving the workforce more transparency into their money is job one for any CEO in this economy. Leave the ski caps and rocket diagrams at home.