Workers who return to the office might be in for a leg up over their remote counterparts, according to a new survey of CEOs.
In a recent study conducted by KPMG, the vast majority of global CEOs (87%) say they are likely to offer rewards for employees who decide to come into the office. These rewards could include “favorable assignments, raises or promotions.”
KPMG’s CEO Outlook Survey of 1,325 chief executives also found that 64% believe that a full, pre-pandemic-style return to the office is only three years away.
RTO policies, especially mandates, have sparked intense debate across the working world since pandemic restrictions began to lift. Hybrid models and flexibility seem to be the preference of employees, and have been proven to enhance productivity, while CEOs still tend to favor a traditional office-centric approach.
As organizations continue to unveil their return-to-office plans, experts are emphasizing the importance of taking a long-term perspective that values the employee proposition and takes into account the needs and considerations of the workforce to ensure talent is both nurtured and supported.
However, it’s not all smooth sailing for CEOs and their corporate strategies. The study reveals a growing concern about the slow pace of progress when it comes to inclusion, diversity, and equity. Two-thirds of global CEOs, or 66%, believe that advancements in these areas have been sluggish within the business world.
Moreover, a resounding 72% of CEOs argue that achieving diversity in workplaces necessitates substantial changes at the senior leadership level.
These findings highlight the necessity for businesses to strike a balance between traditional office values and the changing landscape of work, as well as to address issues of inclusion, diversity, and equity that are seen as requiring more substantial and immediate action.
However, experts say that RTO mandates and rewards could work contrary to these efforts.
According to Laura Morgan Roberts, associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, “members of marginalized and underrepresented groups, because they feel less included at work, are less enthusiastic about spending time in the office when it’s unnecessary.”
She told HR Brew: “The trends to date support that or suggest that those individuals who are willing and able to come back into the office are going to be disproportionately white men…[Marginalized groups are] going to become further marginalized by those types of incidents and programs.”