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Why WWT Is ‘Leaning Into’ Hybrid, Remote Work Long-Term
World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh explains his workforce vision for WWT and why the term ‘The Great Resignation’ isn’t very accurate.
World Wide Technology has been hiring thousands of net new employees over the past several years as the IT superstar continues to receive praise for its culture and employee-focused strategy, including earning a spot on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
WWT’s CEO and longtime leader, Jim Kavanaugh, says his company is “leaning into” allowing his roughly 8,000 employees to work virtually or in some type of hybrid workforce model for the foreseeable future.
This flexible employee strategy is aimed at creating the most attractive work environment possible and to keep its 8,000-strong workforce from potentially looking elsewhere during what is being dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’ era.
“CEOs have to think deeply about, ‘What does this new model look like? And based on your business, how far do you lean into workforce flexibility? And how much do you need people to be in office?’” Kavanaugh said in an interview with CRN. “There’s different CEOs and executive teams taking different stances on that. We’re being as flexible as we can.”
There are some WWT employees in certain jobs—such as those working in physical distribution, logistics and manufacturing facilities across the globe—who will need to be in-person to perform their jobs.
“But, in all, the majority of the other jobs, we’ve taken a much more flexible position,” said Kavanaugh. “So we are leaning into that and being flexible to make sure that we also blend it with what’s going to create a very attractive work environment, but also a highly productive, collaborative and innovative work environment.”
The Great Resignation Isn’t The ‘Right Term’
Kavanaugh has elevated WWT from a small technology startup in the 1990s into a $14 billion global IT powerhouse as its co-founder and CEO.
The COVID-19 pandemic-era trend known as ‘The Great Resignation’ remains a huge feature in the labor market, as favorable employment conditions continue to lead workers to quit their jobs at near-record levels in search of better opportunities elsewhere, including in many cases, companies offering hybrid or remote work.
“I’m not sure that ‘The Great Resignation’ is the right term to use. Because if you’re literally saying, ‘It’s a great resignation,’ you’d almost look at it and say, ‘Well, every company out there then is doing a poor job, because people are resigning at a higher rate than normal,’” WWT’s CEO said.
“The point is, yes, they are moving around more, but I would say that the term should be more like the ‘Great Workforce Transformation’ than it is the resignation. Because what’s happening, from my view, is that people just have much more choices today,” said Kavanaugh.
With more options than ever for many in the IT world, WWT is looking to retain and hire the best possible employees, a big reason why Kavanaugh will continue to mostly operate WWT in a hybrid workfroce model.
“We’re still working through those details as we continue to hire people in pretty much every area of our business as we continue to move forward through, I would say, a lot of these uncertain times,” said Kavanaugh.
With over three decades of a successful track record of sales growth, innovation and retaining top employees, Kavanaugh is spending a great amount of energy making sure World Wide Technology “maintains” its culture in the new world of hybrid work.
“We never want to lose our culture,” said Kavanaugh. “It’s nothing that I think anybody can take for granted. You need to continue to work on that in a very significant way.”