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What to give your employees if you can’t give them more money

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Hope you’ve enjoyed the weekend! Some housekeeping before we jump into today’s news. This is my last day steering the ship of the Workplace newsletter. It has been a wonderful run, but I will be moving on to cover ed tech, training and reskilling at Protocol. If you have any tips, tea or suggestions send them my way! The good news is that Michelle Ma will be taking over from here. I’ll still pop in from time to time, but you’re in great hands! As you know, Michelle reports on all things workplace, leadership and tech. Pop into her inbox and say hello!

Today: Why it’s quittin’ time for so many, what tech workers think about job hopping, and how remote work is changing the geography of the country.

—Amber Burton, reporter (email | twitter)

Why we quit

We all know that tech workers are quitting. This week, we got a better sense of why, with new surveys out from Pew and Glassdoor that told a bigger story about employee frustrations and, in short, what motivates them to leave their jobs.

The primary reason? Pay. Despite all the talk about shifting priorities around flexibility and remote work, people still care most about (surprise, surprise) salaries.

Other reasons people gave for quitting: because they can, because they’re upset and because they’re exhausted,according to McKinsey. Moreover, some of these quitters are opting out of the workforce entirely, rather than leaving their jobs directly for another position … at least for as long as they can afford to before they have to start working for the knife again.

I spoke with DocuSign’s Chief People Officer Joan Burke about what the company’s doing to limit attrition, which she admitted has increased since the pandemic began. McKinsey also gave some tips for how to keep employees from quitting:

  • Pay them better. Review compensation packages, and at least be more transparent about your pay practices if you can’t budge on total compensation. Burke told me that DocuSign has its biggest merit and equity pools in company history this year, and people will see a more generous increase in their cash comp as well as potentially a larger equity grant than they have in the past.
  • Make your workplace “sticky.” What McKinsey means by that is creating a sense of psychological safety in your workplace, as well as trying out retention tactics like the stay interview. DocuSign managers regularly conduct stay interviews and ask employees, “Are you doing the work of your life?” If the answer is no, they try to find ways to get them closer to that, whether it’s a stretch assignment, a rotational assignment or a promotion.
  • Recruit potential employees from nontraditional backgrounds and career paths. According to McKinsey’s research, this potential untapped labor source could be as many as 23 million people.

I get it. All of this is quite a tall order. Your company might not have room to budge on comp this year. But there are always other levers that can be adjusted, including time off, benefits and a flexible work schedule, which are still huge priorities for today’s working people. According to Burke, one of the first things job applicants often ask DocuSign recruiters about is the company’s point of view on hybrid and remote work. “Provide flexibility, listen to your employees, understand what they want, do the surveys, and just pay very close attention,” she recommends.

— Michelle Ma, reporter (twitter | email)

Hopping around

Is there such a thing as too much job-hopping? Some tech employers still say they want to hire candidates who can prove they can commit. My colleague Allison Levitsky took to the streets again this week to ask tech workers what they think. The answers were mixed, though most agree that we’re living in a job seeker’s market. “The longest I’ve ever stayed at a company is two years. Especially in San Francisco, in tech, there’s a lot of opportunity, and if you want to change, you have the right to choose,” said Gopi Karunamoorthy, a finance manager at the ecommerce software-maker Recharge Payments.

Read the full story.


80% of employees admit using the same passwords for work and personal accounts. With rising cybersecurity risk, employers are offering digital security benefits to keep employees safe and reduce the risk to the business. See how Aura’s all-in-one digital protection can keep your employees’ online activities safe from hackers.

Learn more

All together now

PTO is great, but have you heard of a recharge week? Well, likely yes. Companies are throwing just about everything at the wall right now to hold on to good employees and keep them from burning out. But recharge weeks, periods of time in which companies shut down for all employees to take a break, are gaining in popularity among the list of company perks. It’s a synchronous initiative so no one feels like they’re missing anything while away from work. And as you might guess, it takes a certain type of company to be able to pull something like this off. Here are some of the questions to consider before giving your entire company a week off or suggesting it to your boss:

  • Where is your company at in terms of growth? If your organization is still in “hyper-growth mode,” a recharge week might not be the best option. If your overall goal is to move fast, this could be antithetical to meeting business goals.
  • Do you have time to plan ahead? Just like any corporate initiative, giving everyone a week off takes major planning. In fact, some say this is the toughest part. It requires significant scheduling, coordination, set materials and communication for employees so they can in turn communicate to outside stakeholders.
  • Who’s doing it and how are they pulling it off? Twitch and Hootsuite both engage in recharge weeks, but it should be noted that they’re also relatively more-mature companies. They’ve made it work by keeping a core group of employees on call or on the clock during the week everyone is off. That skeleton crew takes its week off at a different time so customers and vendors aren’t left hanging, reported my colleague Allison.

Read the full story.

Where are you going?

Remote work has changed the physical landscape of work in the U.S. While some people moved just outside of city limits during lockdown, others moved clear across the country for jobs they could now do from home. In some ways, we are starting to see how the changes in our workstyles have reshaped America, and will continue to do so in the future. Upwork surveyed over 23,000 people in the U.S. to study how much remote work is expected to influence movement around the country.

  • 9.3% of Americans plan to move because of remote work, up from 6.1% in October 2020.
  • The distance from the workplace is getting larger. 13% responded that they are moving between two and four hours away, while 28% said they’re moving more than four hours away from their physical office.
  • By comparison, in 2019, data showed that the median worker lived within 30 minutes of their office, and 80% of workers were within 1.5 hours.
  • 2.4% of all American adults say they’ve already moved due to remote work.

More stories from us

There’s a right way and a wrong way to rebrand your company. Turns out you should be looping your employees in during the rebranding process.

It’s 2022 and some of us are just now figuring out how not to make work presentations suck.

Metamates are about to have lesson their Metaplates.


80% of employees admit using the same passwords for work and personal accounts. With rising cybersecurity risk, employers are offering digital security benefits to keep employees safe and reduce the risk to the business. See how Aura’s all-in-one digital protection can keep your employees’ online activities safe from hackers.

Learn more

Making moves

DocuSign appointed Iesha Berry as its first ever chief diversity and engagement officer. Prior to joining the company, Berry was chief inclusion, diversity and equity officer at business and tech consulting firm Slalom.

Matthew Birnbaum, Instacart’s former head of Talent Acquisition, recently joined Pear VC as its talent partner.

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Workers across the U.S. left city centers to purchase homesduring the pandemic. Now they’re being called to take the long commute back to the office. It’s going about as well as you'd think.

The programs that are helping recruiters to connect with neurodiverse talent.

Working remotely helped some people accelerate in their careersduring the pandemic, highlighting that the office wasn’t a great fit for all.

Leaders can do a better job taking advantage of their multigenerational workforces.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to Have a great day, see you Tuesday.

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