The pandemic has forever changed the future of worker-employer relationships as employees become less scared to walk away from their jobs. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, said it's up to employers listen to their staff's needs to keep them from joining the Great Resignation.
Though the increase in remote-first workplaces is an obvious byproduct of COVID-19, Fink said in his 2022 letter to CEOs that the pandemic has caused deeper changes in the workplace, with employees asking for better working conditions to "maximize their creativity, innovation, and productivity." Along with revealing workplace issues of racial inequality, child care and mental health, the pandemic revealed a "gap between generational expectations" at work as more young employees question pre-pandemic workplace standards.
"These themes are now center stage for CEOs, who must be thoughtful about how they use their voice and connect on social issues important to their employees," Fink said.
Fink said that employees demanding more from their companies is an "essential feature of effective capitalism," as better workplace conditions creates competition for employers to lure in talent. Companies that listen to their employees, BlackRock research found, have seen lower turnover and higher returns. Those that turn a deaf ear to these requests "do so at their own peril" as nearly a quarter of workers plan to quit their jobs and look for new ones in 2022.
"Turnover drives up expenses, drives down productivity, and erodes culture and corporate memory," Fink said. "CEOs need to be asking themselves whether they are creating an environment that helps them compete for talent."