Becoming CEO of a global company in the age of Zoom

Susan Arthur is the CEO of CareerBuilder, joining the company amid a pandemic that shifted the way job seekers view their careers. This created an opportunity for Arthur, alongside her global team, to help support the future of work for candidates and employers in a digital age where everyone is online. Here, she shares her experiences and the insights that are guiding her path forward in that mission.

Normally, you would hit the ground running shortly after being hired to lead a company. Before the ink is dry on your contract, you’re getting introduced to your new employees and leadership team. Days are filled with getting to know colleagues, connecting over lunch and accelerating the ‘settling in’ process while also building trust and rapport amongst employees. Of course, the past two years are far from normal times.

I started as CEO of CareerBuilder in July 2021. The distance between myself and employees immediately presented an opportunity for an effective communications solution with our team members being across various continents. The team meetings weren’t within one central conference room, but on Zoom with different time zones. Working lunches weren’t onsite in Atlanta, Chicago, or at a chosen restaurant. Instead, they were straight from our fridge midway through a string of calls.

Just as I was starting my role last summer, a new wave of COVID tested us again. CareerBuilder’s employees were also getting acclimated with a change in brand identity just a few months later. We introduced our new Let’s Job It Up™ campaign in October of 2021 during a time when voluntary quit rates had just started to drastically increase.

During this critical transition period, my background working in large global technology companies was helpful. Unsurprisingly, tech brands have led the way in pioneering workplace changes. Remote workers? Check. Highly dispersed teams? Check. Leveraging new technologies to ensure people are getting what they need in terms of productivity and morale? Check. I had worked through these situations in the past.

In short, we at CareerBuilder are thriving despite the challenges. Business leaders have made radical COVID-era workplace changes in a very short amount of time. This created a time of great duress and disruption for so many and in many ways affected job seekers and the way they approach and view their careers. I mention this because what my (and your) current and future employees require from a job in 2022 is actually quite different than it was pre-pandemic. The trick is to find ways to balance all-important business expectations with the needs of our employees.

WFH is the new "new normal"

For the right roles, remote and hybrid arrangements may create an opportunity to diversify a company’s talent pool and to be geographically agnostic. In an age when average employee tenure is shorter and turnover costs are high, having access to a broader talent pool can make employers more competitive when it comes to attracting talent especially as employers continue to seek ways of meeting demand. With millions of open roles in the country, flexibility matters.

The seismic shifts in the workplace are not yet over. Leaders are wise to remain flexible so they can recruit the best talent. The time of employers and employees being physically tethered to an office on a full-time basis appear to be over. Remote and hybrid work arrangements will likely persist and creative strategies for re-skilling will continue. CareerBuilder’s latest Job Insights Report reveals that WFH and other remote positions continue to grow by leaps and bounds. On CareerBuilder’s site, such job postings are up 325% since last year and WFH jobs currently attract 7 times more job applicants.

How to attract and retain top talent

The question for employers is, how can I be flexible and creative enough to attract and retain top talent in 2022? I have a few thoughts on this.

1. By working to understand how employees’ needs are changing and by considering creative options to support those needs. With the number of postings – especially for remote jobs – still growing and limited talent available in some spots, consider which jobs can be done remotely or if non-traditional work schedules or alternative working hours meet business needs.

2. By considering candidates with transferable skills or potentially looking at what folks can be trained to do through re-skilling or up-skilling programs. In many cases, growth and skill development are important retention tools for employees.

How to create a positive and impactful WFH culture

Company culture is more important than ever and can go a long way in setting the tone for morale. Trust plays a big part in remote work and often an open line of communication can make all the difference. Now is the time to make the most of company-wide meetings and one-on-one check-ins. Go all in on resources and tools that can help employees feel connected in a dispersed world while simultaneously creating a space for all the change that is guaranteed to come. You’ll be rewarded no matter what those changes turn out to be.

Susan Arthur is the Chief Executive Officer of CareerBuilder.

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