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Exit Interview by Patrick Donegan – Newsletter #80

By: Patrick Donegan

For some time, I’ve been looking for one “source” that curates modern takes on HR Tech, perspectives from the people who build it, and its impact on enterprise — something that’s tailor-made by professionals for decision-makers.

I never found it — so I decided to build it.

Every week, I’ll be sharing fresh insights on tech platforms, design, data, and the future of work — straight to your inbox.

My Thoughts

I imagine if you’re subscribed to this newsletter that you’re well aware of the massive wave of layoffs announced over the past two weeks. From the tech and ad industries to companies like RE/MAX and Tesla, concerns over the economy are manifesting as incredibly difficult situations for leaders and employees alike. 

Even if your company is not anticipating downsizing, the pervasiveness of the issue likely has some members of your team feeling uncertain and stressed. As I searched for background on the topic of layoff anxiety, it became clear that each subset of workers has their own reasons driving concerns. Older employees that lived through the 2008 collapse still feel the visceral impacts of the Great Recession and are concerned about the market downturn. Younger employees fear a last-in, first-out approach, with a lack of experience in the workforce hindering them from finding another job. 

It isn’t a competition of who’s the most nervous about their job security. The takeaway from these insights should be that fears stem from a range of personal experiences and beliefs. And the loss of normalcy, lack of control, and possible anger with organizational leadership are more than likely to impact employee performance before, during, and following layoff rounds. 

And so, I urge you all to extend hyper-communication, heightened compassion, and the utmost respect for everything your employees have given to your organization as we weather whatever rough waters may be ahead.

Tech Innovation at Work

The candy you find on the shelves of pharmacy chain CVS 💉 💊 may be stale, but you can’t say the same about its tech strategy — not since the company announced its latest C-suite role. Tilak Mandadi, formerly of MGM Resorts International, was recently named CVS’s chief data, digital and technology officer. 🖥️ The new role is expected to centralize the company’s tech strategy, which had previously been split between several executives, enabling silos and challenges in aggregating data to see the big picture. According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision to shake up the top tech brass is a growing trend as companies look to balance everyday operations with exploring strategies for long-term digital development. 


The Changing Workplace

Companies in the U.S. are budgeting for a 4.1% average increase in employee compensation 💸 for the 2023 fiscal year, according to Willis Towers Watson. 🏢 The most common reasons cited for the budget expansion include the ongoing fight for talent, hopes of retention, and an expectation from employees amidst soaring inflation rates. 📈 Some employers aren’t even waiting until the new year, having already abandoned the pay budgets set at the beginning of 2022. Despite adjusting budgets, most employers don’t anticipate recruitment and retention challenges to be as difficult in 2023 as they are now. Get the full report overview here. 👈


Today’s workplace accessibility standards offer more support for unseen disabilities than ever before, but neurodivergent individuals, those with cognitive 🧠 differences such as ADHD, autism, or 📚 dyslexia, continue to struggle with fitting into traditional workplaces. In an article for Fast Company, one employee shares her struggles navigating the workplace prior to her diagnosis of autism at 31. Now, she’s an advocate for neurodiversity in the workplace. Get her tips for creating a neuro-inclusive workplace here. 👈

All About Data

Some of you will be very excited to know that I’ve decided to revive the long-lost All About Data section. At the end of each month, I’ll feature a roundup of the most interesting reports, surveys, and any other kind of number with a % after it to provide you with actionable insights to take into the new month. However, next week’s edition of Exit Interview will feature another fantastic guest author, meaning we’ll be starting this week. 🤘

Asset management company Mercer surveyed organizations across all sizes and industries to understand how benefits strategies are shifting for 2023. 

Fast Facts:

  • 11% of companies plan to offer student loan payment assistance as a benefit.
  • 12% plan to offer a reentry program for new parents or those returning to the workforce from care duties.
  • 25% plan to conduct behavioral health anti-stigma communication campaigns as part of a holistic approach to behavioral health benefits.

Actionable takeaways: With more and more workers delaying having children, organizations need to be thinking beyond parental and family benefits and ensure total compensation feels curated to every potential employee. Here’s a chance to see what the competition is up to — ungated, just for you all. 🤭

McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey offers the largest and most comprehensive look at work to date, with 25,000 Americans surveyed for this report.

Fast Facts:

  • 37% of respondents who work in farm, fishing, and forestry occupations reported being able to work remotely either part or full-time. 🌲 🌳  🎄 🦌
  • 25% of full-time in-office respondents say an inability to share their full self at work impacts their ability to perform effectively.
  • Men are 8% more likely to be offered full-time remote options than women.

Actionable takeaways: If you’re advocating for a hybrid workplace, explaining to your boss that even fishermen can work from home seems like a pretty strong argument to me. 🎣 It’s also a great reminder that several demographics affect one’s options for remote work. Here’s the full report.

Editor’s Picks

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Patrick Donegan Chief Strategy Officer

Patrick Donegan

Chief Strategy Officer

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