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Making the Shift: How the Modern Workplace can Boost Employee Morale & Retention

By George Gerchow, Chief Security Officer & SVP of IT, Sumo Logic

We live in a world where the common idea of the workplace has been turned on its head. What the modern workplace will look like is a question that occupies many business leaders' minds across the technology industry. Originally, disruption to traditional work environments stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, now that organizations are trying to engage their employees back into an in-person format, employees are not so quick to jump back into their morning commutes and behind their office desks.

Traditional workspaces have changed dramatically since people were last in the office. Rather than being greeted by a friendly security officer or receptionist, they're now greeted with temperature scanners, COVID-19 questionnaires, and QR codes to confirm vaccination status. In some instances, what once used to be an open conference area now must get reserved in advance. The transition to this new modern workplace has shifted the corporate space to be more software driven than ever.

The true goal of retaining top talent is driven by the effort that goes into employee engagement, freedom of where and how they work, shifting towards a new recruiting mindset, and a diverse workforce, especially post-pandemic. Here are three critical factors to keep in mind as companies prioritize an inclusive environment for all to thrive in.

Support for creative workspaces and employee choice

The pandemic proved that hybrid and remote work will live on forever as there has been no evidence to show that employees are more productive in the office. In fact, working from home not only benefits employees by limiting the hassle of daily commutes but it also increases productivity and leads to healthier lifestyles by 13 percent according to a Stanford study. While there are still major benefits to socializing in an office setting, it is critical that business leaders implement tools and initiatives to foster a creative workspace. Office spaces have shifted to a greater purpose of culture cultivation and team building, and to host clients and customers in person as needed. In the workplace of the future, there will no longer be a status divide of private offices. Instead, offices will be utilized as a space of collaboration.

Empowering employees with the freedom and choice to work in ways that drive higher satisfaction and productivity toward professional goals is greatly enabled by having the tools, security, and real estate strategies to support them. "Workplace Experience" is becoming the "Workstate Experience."  The state of how someone works in the hybrid model is a new opportunity for organizations to lead as a great place to work.

Creative recruiting of top cybersecurity talent

The Great Resignation, a recent phenomenon concerning professionals valuing the importance of a work-life balance and demanding more from employers, has actively affected the tech industry. As a result, employers are quickly realizing they no longer hold all the power and are having to work much harder in attracting top talent. So how do tech companies ensure they are targeting qualified and enthusiastic employees? Search in unconventional spaces. The security skills shortage is affecting many organizations, but the businesses that rarely hire traditional security professionals are set up for success. Hiring developers and DevOps professionals and those with prior military experience has served organizations well. Most security leaders are looking in the wrong places. It is less about direct relevant experience and more about individuals who have the ambition and right work ethic- they can learn everything else. Looking for talent in uncommon places can lead the team to think with a different perspective and ideally bring someone in who provides exactly what was missing.

Encouraging a creative and diverse workforce

Despite ongoing efforts to increase diversity in tech, there are still misconceptions that must be overcome. Stereotypes typically show that women don't want to work in tech or that it is a necessity to have a computer science degree to be successful. It has been shown that employees feel more motivated and productive when they are comfortable in the workplace and feel more comfortable in a diverse work environment. For the new generation of job seekers, a supportive company culture that values diversity is not just a factor they want, but it is a factor that they need.

As tech employers look to fill the holes of those who left, they must make it a top priority to create an employee-centric work environment that encourages a healthy work-life balance. This means not only hiring professionals of color, women, and other minority groups, but also providing them the opportunity to move up to leadership roles. Managers should be understanding of a healthy work-life balance and encourage their employees to spend time with their family and friends. By doing this organizations will build stronger relationships with employees and build a stronger foundation for employees to feel connected, especially in an online or hybrid work environment.

To retain and recruit top talent, tech leaders must choose to initiate an ongoing corporate level effort that not only supports their employees, but places value into their work-life balance. As much has changed in the last couple years, job seekers are drawn to the organizations that encourage a diverse workforce and understand that life is not the same as it used to be.



George Gerchow 

As Sumo Logic's Chief Security Officer and SVP of IT, George Gerchow brings over 20 years of information technology and systems management expertise to the application of IT processes and disciplines. His background includes the security, compliance, and cloud computing disciplines. George is a highly regarded speaker and invited panelist on topics including DevSecOps, cloud secure architecture design, virtualization, compliance, configuration management, and operational security and compliance. George has been on the bleeding edge of public cloud security and privacy since being a co-founder of the VMware Center for Policy & Compliance. He is a Faculty Member for IANS - Institute of Applied Network Security and Cloud Academy.

Published Thursday, June 02, 2022 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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