All Articles Leadership Workforce CEOs’ top priority in 2024? Retaining and engaging employees

CEOs’ top priority in 2024? Retaining and engaging employees

Engaging employees requires senior leaders to hold everyone accountable to create a culture of respect and validation, says S. Chris Edmonds.

2 min read


engaging employees

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What are CEOs’ top priorities and challenges this year? A January 2024 study of 197 CEOs by the Chief Executive Group found that 60% of CEOs who responded said their top priority is retaining and engaging employees.

In fact, two of the top five priorities from this study relate to staffing. Thirty-five percent of respondents said recruiting and training employees is a top priority.

CEO’s challenges this year include these same priorities. Forty-one percent said retaining and engaging employees is a big concern. Forty percent identified recruiting people for open positions as a top challenge.

The problem is that most of our workplaces suck. For example:

In this environment, quick traction on retention, engagement and recruitment is impossible.

Today’s reality is that employees of every generation desire and deserve workplaces where they are respected and validated for their aligned ideas, efforts and contributions every day. When respect and validation are the foundation of your work culture, retention, engagement and recruitment organically follow.

Senior leaders can’t delegate the authority or the responsibility of culture creation to others. Senior leaders must champion this change by defining their ideal culture and then aligning players, plans and actions to that ideal culture.

Alignment requires that senior leaders hold everyone — themselves, formal leaders and team members — accountable for treating others with respect and validation in every interaction. That requires modeling, celebrating, measuring, coaching and mentoring all staff so they demonstrate desired valued behaviors.

Culture refinement is not a quick fix. Building your ideal work culture is an 18-24 month project. Maintaining your desired culture requires senior leaders’ attention every month thereafter.

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own.


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