July 15, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

HR leaders favor in-office workers over remote and hybrid employees

Employers have been trying a lot of things to entice their employees into the office for at least a few days a week, including free lunches, on-site childcare, and charity donations. 

That hybrid arrangement may be enough for employees to keep their jobs, but it may not be enough to boost their careers, according to a new survey of HR leaders from the Conference Board, shared exclusively with Fortune. Some CHROs say they plan to give better advancement opportunities to workers who come into the office five days a week. 

Around 9% of 120 CHROs polled by the Conference Board from April 1 to May 1 expect that promotion eligibility will be increased for fully in-office workers over remote workers. Additionally, 11% plan to increase high-profile project opportunities for in-office workers over hybrid workers, and 13% plan to offer in-office workers more development opportunities than hybrid workers.

Fully-remote workers can expect to lose out on even more career development opportunities. Around 10% of CHROs expect to increase promotion eligibility for fully-in-office workers over fully-remote workers, while 15% plan to increase high-profile office projects for in-office workers over fully-remote workers, and 7% plan to increase development opportunities for fully in-office workers.

It’s likely leaders are favoring in-person employees to try and make the case for RTO, sending a message that “if you want to have a career and accelerate your career growth, you should be more willing to be present on-site,” Diana Scott, U.S. human capital center leader at the Conference Board, tells Fortune.

“It didn’t surprise me that they were trying to come up with ways to entice more people to want to be in the office,” she adds.

But the option to work remotely for at least part of the week still remains a top priority for most workers—another Conference Board survey found that “flexibility” was the most popular non-salary compensation element, chosen by more than 65% of respondents. And Scott emphasizes employers that lean into that and figure out how to make their hybrid arrangements work are going to ultimately see the most benefit.

“Research that we’ve done shows that employees value flexibility, and that it has currency beyond just compensation,” she says, noting that just a small share of HR leaders plan to give their fully in-office workers some sort of preferential treatment. “I tend to think that the organizations who are able to navigate this new hybrid world and do it effectively, and not treat hybrid employees like second class citizens, they’re gonna win in the talent wars.”

Paige McGlauflin
[email protected]

Today’s edition was curated by Emma Burleigh.

Around the Table

A round-up of the most important HR headlines.

John Deere has fired hundreds of U.S. employees over the past few months, and is planning to cut more jobs, as the machinery company transitions more of its production to Mexico. The Guardian

More global companies are starting to offer fertility benefits to ease pressure on staffers hoping to conceive, from paid time off to attend egg freezing appointments to IVF subsidies. Financial Times

Samsung workers went on strike Friday for the first time in the company’s history, after union negotiations for better wages and bonuses repeatedly failed. New York Times

– One of the largest food suppliers in the U.S is fully staffed and is facing little difficulty in attracting and retaining workers as more Americans are turning to tough labor jobs to support themselves. Bloomberg


Everything you need to know from Fortune.

Work swell. U.S. employers added 272,000 jobs in May, a big boost from April, as American consumption fosters consistent hiring growth to meet supply demands. —AP

Buddy system. Airbnb’s CEO says he informally pairs workers together to foster collaboration and combat the workplace loneliness epidemic. —Eleanor Pringle

Business buoys. McKinsey executives say there is both an impending “skill tsunami” and “silver tsunami” that will impact the workforce, and suggest that employers nurture and upskill their employees to stay afloat. —Jane Thier

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