4th Global Talent Acquisition Leaders’ Forum – Can We Really Go “Back” To the Office?

August Leadership hosted its 4th Global Talent Acquisition Leaders Forum on June 15, 2022, on the topic ‘Can We Really Go “Back” To the Office?’. With the economy recovering from the aftermath of the pandemic, more and more companies are thinking about bringing their employees back to the office and introducing a hybrid work model. The forum included research-based discussions on what this means for employees and employers alike.

The panel consisted of two illustrious leaders from different parts of the world:

Andreas Kaufmann, Managing Partner, Pawlik Consultants GmbH
Sheila Stygar, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition

The session was moderated and hosted by our esteemed Partners and experts in executive search, Umran Beba, Jerry McGrath, and Greg Gerson. It revealed 5 key learnings:

1) Workplace Autonomy & Flexibility Should Be Made a Reality

Today, talent wants flexibility and the freedom to make decisions that work best for them. To attract young professionals, companies need to appeal to their desire for autonomy and flexibility. This includes the liberty to thrive in a hybrid work model if the employees feel the need to. Organizations that do not embrace the flexible work model and insist on making their employees head back to the office will have a difficult time attracting the best talent.

 2) Working from Home Improves Work-Life Balance

While a work-from-home arrangement was first considered distressing, it has, over time, turned into an arrangement that allows greater flexibility to employees. During the pandemic, employees got to know their coworkers on a different level via the virtual world and learned how to prioritize different aspects of their life in a home office.

3) Baby Boomers and Gen-Z See Work Differently

A generation gap was noticed upon investigating which group of people want to go back to the office. While Baby Boomers prefer meeting people in person, Gen-Z prefers the flexibility of a hybrid work model since they’ve grown up in the era of social media.

4) Creating a Reliable Culture of Accountability Is Necessary

Company culture plays a key role in the success of an organization, and part of a good culture is holding leaders accountable for investing and checking in on their team members. Meeting the talent where they’re at and continuing to evolve in the world of digitalization is the way to go. When you have a high engaging workforce, you naturally yield better results.

5) The Hybrid Work Model Is How Employees Will Thrive

The key to strengthening the corporate culture is creating a community that can flourish in a hybrid work model. Companies need to understand the importance of their employees’ physical and mental health and give them choice on where they work. It’s time to rethink if one really needs to return to the office or step into the future. The digital workplace is here, and it is here to stay.


We would like to thank our speakers, Andreas and Sheila, for sharing these valuable insights, our moderators, Umran, Jerry, and Greg, for hosting an intriguing forum, and all those who participated in the event from across the globe.


August Leadership is a global executive search firm headquartered in New York City with offices worldwide. With a global mindset, we solve our client’s biggest talent leadership challenges.

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