Should staff be rewarded for returning to the office?

Survey shows many CEOs believe full office return can be achieved in three years

Should staff be rewarded for returning to the office?

Chief executive officers (CEOs) are considering linking rewards with in-office attendance as part of their latest push to get employees back on-site, according to a new report.

The KPMG CEO Outlook, which saw the participation of 1,325 CEOs, found that 87% are considering linking rewards, raises, or promotions with office attendance.

It comes as more than half of the respondents (64%) believe that employees would make their full return to the office within the next three years, according to the report.

'Detrimental' approach in office return measures

It also comes as major employers, such as Google, Amazon, and Meta, introduce their own measures to enforce office attendance in their hybrid working policies.

Nhlamu Dlomu, global head of people at KPMG International, however, urged caution on implementing office-return measures that could have long-term consequences.

"The data underscores the immense pressure on CEOs to make quick decisions on the big issues. The war for talent may have softened in this period of economic uncertainty, but the evidence suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to return-to-office could be detrimental," Dlomu said in a statement.

A recent Owl Labs report found that 36% of hybrid employees in the United Kingdom would comply but would start looking for a new job if they were required to be in the office full-time, while another 10% said they would quit when mandated to return.

Leaders should take ‘long-term view’

Linking rewards on office attendance could also validate employees' concerns that being in the office more would make them more likely to receive promotions, bonuses, and other career-related advantages.

"It's crucial that leaders take a long-term view that embraces the employee value proposition and encompasses the considerations and needs of everyone, to help ensure that talent is nurtured and supported," Dlomu said.

More than seven in 10 (72%) of employers globally have already mandated office returns, according to Unispace data. However, almost half (42%) of them revealed higher employee attrition, while 29% are facing recruitment challenges.

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