Tim Minahan
EVP Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer Citrix

I am recognized as a game-changing technology executive with proven success creating new markets, driving visionary Cloud transformation, growing platform businesses, and leading high-performing teams to unprecedented success.

As a change agent for digital transformation, go-to-market strategy, demand generation, sales execution, M&A, and supply chain, I have generated billions of dollars for both fast-growing start-ups and premier technology brands.

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On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks with Tim Minahan about his take on what is causing employees to leave their jobs. We’ll also get into what you can do to stem the tide.

Tim is the executive vice president of business strategy and chief marketing officer at Citrix, the leading provider of digital workspace technology. Tim comes armed with survey results of 1,500 knowledge workers across North America to help get to the root of why employees are leaving.

Why are employees leaving? The quick summary: Burnout, opt-out and time out.

To learn what all that means, you’ll have to tune in.

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Listening Time: 31 minutes

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Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The RecruitingDaily Podcast with William Tincup. Of course, comments are always welcome. Be sure to subscribe through your favorite platform.

William Tincup:
Ladies and gentleman, This is William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today, we have Tim on from Citrix, and we’re talking about why are your employees leaving? That’s good. Let’s just stop there. Why are they leaving? But really the other part is, and what you can do to stem the tide. Fascinating topic. Let’s just start and jump right into it. Tim, would you do us, the audience favor and introduce both yourself and Citrix?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah. William, thanks for having me on. This is a topic I’m very passionate about. I’m Tim Minahan. I’m the Executive Vice President of Business Strategy and the Chief Marketing Officer here at Citrix. For those unfamiliar with Citrix, Citrix is the leading provider of digital workspace technology, empowering employees to have secure access to the work resources they need to do their best work, whether they’re working in the office, whether they’re are on the road or as we’ve all seen recently, whether they’re working at home.

William Tincup:
Well this is two different … I mean, it’s two different things but obviously interconnected, but let’s just talk about the why are they leaving? I’m sure you do stay interviews and exit interviews and all this stuff just for yourself, but also you have a bunch of peers that you’re talking with as well. What’s the perception? What’s your take on why folks are leaving?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah, so William, we actually just did a survey of 1500 knowledge workers across North America to get to the root of that, right? You looked at some studies and you say as many as 40 to 50% of workers in the US have left or planned to leave their jobs. And there’s a number of different reasons, but it really boils down to, I would summarize it in three things. Burnout, opt-out, and time out, right?

William Tincup:
Oh, that’s nice.

Tim Minahan:
From a burnout perspective it was well over a third said that they left their jobs because they’re just burned out by the prolonged stress of working in this prolonged pandemic environment, as well as the over demands in the workplace. You and I earlier talked about the productivity has improved for the first time in more than a decade. And a lot of that is we’re just working longer hours, right? And you got over demands in the workplace. We’re always taking those Zoom calls. “Hey, you’re at home. Of course you can take a call at nine o’clock at night” and we never [crosstalk 00:03:18]-

William Tincup:
Yeah. “Where are you going? What else you got going? What else is you doing today?”

Tim Minahan:
Right. We’re always on. And as well as we’re so dependent on technology and that that takes a toll, this Zoom fatigue is a very, very real phenomenon. It’s not just Zoom, right? It’s noise from all the tech, all technology. We’ve got chat and communications and things that are disrupting us from doing meaningful work. And so there’s the burnout part, right? The opt-out part is a lot of folks either took time during the pandemic to retrain themselves, to get new skills, others just want a new challenge. They’ve been at their employer for a while, and they’re looking for that promotion, or they just literally want to take a new challenge.

Tim Minahan:
And interestingly in the study, one other area is that a number of respondents said they ditched their jobs really to feel like they can get some control over their lives which got out of out control. Then the third one is is time out. And you think about the dynamics of the workforce. We often forget if we can think back, unfortunately, 24 months ago we had a global talent shortage, right?

William Tincup:
Right.

Tim Minahan:
McKinsey was admitting that we had a shortage of 95 million medium to high skilled workers, especially those in the most in demand skills needed to digitize and modernize your business like cloud and AI and security and all that stuff. Guess what? That hasn’t gone away.

William Tincup:
We didn’t fix that during COVID.

Tim Minahan:
Right. On the opt-out part, people have retrained and are trying to get in that. On the timeout part, they’re saying, “Hey, look, you know what? My home assets have increased. My stock portfolio’s increased. I need a sabbatical.” Or others are very close to retirement. They’re like, “You know what? I’m uncomfortable going back into the workplace” Or, “You know what? I don’t want to put off retiring anymore. I know what I know what’s possible now.”

Tim Minahan:
The last part is I also know what’s possible. I don’t need to live in New York or San Francisco, whatever, I could go live in Bend, Oregon, or somewhere else where I can work when I want. And a lot of them are looking at working on their own terms, choosing their employer, choosing what projects they want to take, moving to more of a freelance or gig type environment. And that’s very exciting. It’s a very liberating moment for employees right now, who realize that the age old constructs of the employee company agreement that were set way back after World War 2 no longer apply.

William Tincup:
Right. To reset that they’ve got to create a new social contract or a new way of working with the people that they have. Was it a third, a third, a third when you think of burnout, time out, and opt-out? Is it in your mind broken up into those three things or was one more or heavily weighted in one more than another?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah. I mean, there’s a little more heavily weighted towards the first two, burnout and opt-out, but time out is a very real thing too, being always on.

William Tincup:
Yeah, and the key is out.

Tim Minahan:
Out.

William Tincup:
Is at the end of all. They’re choosing a different path and it’s out. Okay, now that we’ve, and first of all, I love the way you framed that up. Now, what can we do to stem the tide? What are some of the strategies and even tactics that we can use and implore to think about these three things and what we can do strategy wise to maybe help on some of the outs? If someone’s going to quit and they really want to quit, they’re going to quit. All right. Stated and covered, yeah, we get that, but there’s a lot of folks that are on the fence.

Tim Minahan:
Yeah, exactly. And what was so interesting in the study, it showed that what’s motivating folks to take on their new task or stay with their current employer is not what you would expect. They aren’t bailing for traditional reasons like money or a better title. Salary and benefits certainly are important, but they’re not what inspiring workers to seek new rules. Among those surveyed, who’ve changed jobs in the last 12 months, more than half actually took a pay cut and 60% joined startups and accepted equity in exchange for salary. They’re really go after, “Hey, I want to create something. I want to be part of something.” There’s that aspect of it. The second aspect which we all talk about quite a bit, right? Is flexibility is key, right?

Tim Minahan:
Today’s workers, they’ve gotten a bite of the apple on what’s possible. They realize they don’t need to waste hours or depending upon how long you’ve been working, years of your life, commuting into an office to punch a virtual clock, that they can do work and in some cases better work on their own terms from remote locations. The workers want flexible arrangements that allow them to choose where they work best. An overwhelming 80% of respondents said it was very important or somewhat important that they be able to work from anywhere and more than half said they would actually take less money to do so. And we’re already seeing that some are willing to do that. The big thing on stemming the tide gets down to companies are going to compete for the best talent and retaining the best talent based on employee experience, right?

William Tincup:
Right.

Tim Minahan:
It’s something we’ve talked about for a while, but it’s never mattered more, right? Employees want flexible work arrangements. They want access to technology that helps them foster and do their best work, not create noise and complexity. They want a culture that, and I think this is a big topic maybe for another podcast, they want to culture that no matter where they’re working, that it’s equitable, right? They have equitable access to all the work resources, the apps, the information they need, but they also have policies that say, “Hey, you know what? If you’re not in the office and we’re doing a meeting, you’re just as engaged and involved and informed as those people sitting around the conference room table.”

Tim Minahan:
And that me is a big shift as we talk about this hybrid work model that companies really need to figure out. I know here at Citrix ourselves, we’re retrofitting all of our conference rooms to be hybrid oriented. We have cameras now in the middle of the table, we’re operating on Teams whenever we do a meeting, we have cameras on the on the white board. We’re trying to develop protocols that remote people participating in a meeting get to respond, or ask questions first, those types of things, which you haven’t really thought through. And similarly, making sure that they have the same advantage to advance your careers. And so I think this employee experience discussion was one that pre pandemic, folks thought, “Okay, I get it. Yeah, it’s competitive market. We want to do this,” but now it’s a necessity, right? There’s no option or you’ll be constantly understaffed and unable to grow your business.

William Tincup:
On the culture side, first of all, wonderful both strategy and tactics. But the questions that you’re getting in, you’re rethinking culture, you brought up obviously it’s going to be multi-pronged, but you brought up inclusion and to make sure this is something that’s important to them. If you don’t change well, okay, then they’ll change. And that means they’ll leave you.

William Tincup:
Is there other aspects of culture? Because we used to define culture as a place, like it was the office, it was lunches. It was whatever whatever companies would do to create culture at our place. And obviously that necessarily, I’m sure there’s still aspects of that for folks that do go into the office, but what other facets of culture are there that you’re starting to see from either your own employees, but also from just what do you see in the market?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah. You’re right. The age of free snacks and foosball tables being the core of culture is certainly over. Number one, the biggest aspect of culture is I think right now what we’re seeing is empowering employees to work in the way that they do their best work, whether that’s in the office, on the road or remotely. Number two is ensuring that you’re creating an equitable culture. That’s not an office first culture. It is an equitable culture that allows that. And that means not just am I providing reliable and secure access to all the work resources? So an employee that’s working remotely has the same advantages if you will, to do the best job as someone who’s sitting in the office at a desk on the corporate network, but also the the policies and behaviors. We’ve traditionally had an office first culture as a business industry.

Tim Minahan:
And that’s one that people really need to think through on how they’re going to do that, how they’re not going to disadvantage people who are working remotely, because they have so many other other alternatives when it comes to places that they can work. And I think that the last part, when you talk about culture certainly is purpose, right?

William Tincup:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Minahan:
It is having a common purpose that’s inspiring, that’s not just delivering profits, but is also delivering back to the world and that’s a big deal that folks are looking for. They want to be part of something big. Hence the earlier point that so many of them have joined startups and accepted equity in exchange for salary because they’re joining more innovative cultures.

William Tincup:
Do you perceive purpose and inclusion … Let’s just pick those out real quick. Do you perceive that those are generational or do you think that’s because COVID has made us a bit more reflective about life?

Tim Minahan:
There’s not as big a generational aspects as you might think.

William Tincup:
That’s my take. Yeah. People want to go there quickly, like millennials and Gen Z. They’re the reason for all this. Like no, I’m actually not in either of those generations and kind of feel the same way, but I want to get your take. Go ahead.

Tim Minahan:
There are certain events in history that have fundamentally changed how we live and work. And we talked about World War 2 and people coming back and building the industrial complex after that, you certainly talked about the internet. Obviously, unfortunately 9/11 changed dramatically how we travel and how we secure. And certainly the pandemic has, while we would never wish this and we all wish it to to be eradicated it now, if there’s any iota of a silver lining that it has dramatically accelerated digitization of business, as well as caused us to rethink work models and the role of what constitutes a workforce and where we do work, how we do work and who does the work.

Tim Minahan:
It has really accelerated that by more than a decade. A lot of the things we were talking about and we’re doing now, remote work and telecommuting has been around for a while, but there was taboo associated with it. Well, guess what? When we all did it and we found out that there was no loss in productivity and it was a better lifestyle. It was better for the environment. It was better for corporate costs. Companies could now begin sourcing talent that weren’t within commuting distance to one of their work hubs. Suddenly it began to liberate employees, liberate companies to think differently. The exciting part to me is as we maybe see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, is organizations are viewing this, savvy organizations are viewing this as now there’s a way to innovate. Now there’s a way to advance digitization of my business and engagement models as well as rethink my work models. And that’s incredibly exciting.

William Tincup:
You mentioned employee experience and how this is all going to point back to employee experience. The one that has the best and I want to get to the best, but it’s probably the more appropriate for their employees or the most appropriate for their employees. How do you know if you’re getting employee experience right? Outside of turnover, I guess you could point at that and say, “It’s not working,” but like, how do you know what things need to be modified to fit your unique group of people?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah, it’s a great question. And it’s one that has a simple answer, which is ask the question. Ask your employees what’s holding them back from doing their best work and in some cases it’s technology where that was a key part of this study that felt that there’s just way too many apps, way too complex security protocols, et cetera, that 31% said that they were frustrated by overly complicated technology and processes. How do you begin to streamline that? Right now that we talk about, “Hey, they want to embrace flexible work.” Well, then what role does the physical office play? How does that need to be reconsidered?

Tim Minahan:
Transitioning from a place where we go to punch a virtual clock, just because it’s what we’ve always done to one where we actually make it purpose built. We do things like collaboration spaces or customer experience centers and reformat the office for what makes sense to come together in person while enabling employees to be able to work more flexibly when they do need to do mindful and meaningful work, right? Innovate, creativity, et cetera. There’s an opportune moment for those companies that can take a moment to listen to their employees and then rethink the three aspects of the workplace, which are the physical workspace we just talked about, what’s the role of the office? The digital workspace, which is, okay, how do we, regardless of where an employee is, make sure that they have access to all the information and applications and resources they need to get their job done? Then the culture aspect, which we talked about.

William Tincup:
As you’re listening, so at least historically it’s been listen once a year, some type of employee satisfaction survey, then we went to pulse surveys and we’re at a new place now. First of all, I love the answer of, okay, just ask, and they’ll tell you one way or another, you might not like the answer.

Tim Minahan:
Sure.

William Tincup:
Assume that you won’t like the answer and that’s fine. What’s the velocity or how the mechanism to make sure that folks are listening? Giving their employees a chance. And again, maybe it’s not even employees, it’s just talent. However you define that. But if it’s freelancers or gig workers or whatever, just talent. How do you listen to talent? How often should HR, but leadership really, how often should we be checking in to find out what we’re doing, if it’s working, et cetera?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah. The counterpart to the simple answer I gave and just ask the question, is that you need to demonstrate that you’re listening and do something about it. The answer to your last question, over surveying folks on a more frequent basis is only good if they have confidence that you’re listening and you’re taking action to-

William Tincup:
That’s right.

Tim Minahan:
… improve their environment. The frequency, I think really depends on that, right? “Hey, we’ve heard this, we’re going to take these three actions and then we’re going to come back and see how those three actions have changed your work environment, has made you more engaged, more productive, more creative,” whatever the objective was, more efficient. I think the risk we run into, right? We have all these tools, but it’s not the tools, right? Your pulse surveys, et cetera, like you said, it’s what you do with those insights to demonstrate that you’re very, very focused on improving the employee experience.

William Tincup:
Right. It’s interesting because we got back to a very similar thing. When we talk about purpose, when we talk about inclusion and we talk about listening, a lot of that leads to action. It’s nice that again, you can be a purpose driven company and have a really wonderful mission statement, et cetera. If you don’t live it or your values, if you don’t live them, people notice, A, and now folks have … I think they have a less tolerance. If that’s a thing.

William Tincup:
They’re just not willing to stick in a job or stick in a place for a long period of time and hope that the company gets it and changes. When it gets to the listing and I absolutely agree with you, pulse surveys are as good as your ability to then do something with the data and create action. What’s your strategy to then communicate that not only are you listening and you’re taking action, but how do you communicate the action? How do you communicate that go full circle or close the loop with employees and make sure that they either see or feel, or hear the actions?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah, the need is to be able to demonstrate an action plan and put milestones along the way, right? Some actions are easy that you could change overnight. “You know what? We want healthier snacks in the break room.” Other actions, we want to streamline the recruiting process or the procurement process or whatever the case may be, may take a little bit longer time, but setting a clear action plan, identifying milestones along the way and doing check-in points as you reach those milestones instills the confidence that, “Hey, you’re listening. We recognize that things aren’t happening overnight. You’ve given us an idea of when we can anticipate improvements or enhancements to help us have a better experience.”

Tim Minahan:
And you’re going to report on how you’re performing against that on a regular cadence. That’s important. That’s almost, not quite, almost as equally as important as taking the action itself, right?

William Tincup:
Right.

Tim Minahan:
Having clear communication, setting expectations so that people know, because in the absence of that, too often they just assume that nothing’s happening or you’re not listening.

William Tincup:
Right. Why give you the feedback or why even raise my hand or send that email or whatever, make that suggestion if nothing’s going to be done? And if you don’t feel like something’s being done, then that’s your perception, that’s your reality. It’s interesting. I know a bunch of HR leaders that are moving to an annual report, but for employees. Not the traditional annual report for investors, but an annual report that’s internal that basically says, “Okay, here’s what we were faced with this year. Then here are some of the things we heard, here were the actions, and then here’s where we’re at in those process process of change, of changing those things.”

William Tincup:
It’s fascinating to think that communicating back to your audience, communicating back to the employees to just show it didn’t get fixed overnight. Healthy snacks, yeah, I can get those from Costco. Got it. That’s an easy fix, done. But something like equitable hiring or pay equity, that’s not as easy as turn on, turn off, but you can show where in the journey you are, and so I find that fascinating. I wanted to ask you a question around ERGs and SIGs and what role they play in terms of listening and finding out not only what’s important, but what maybe maybe needs some action and even a plan?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah. I mean, ERGs and SIGs provide a very valuable resource in the corporate world today, which is ultimately they provide forums that allow us to gather the insights and the preferences and provide a blueprint for how do we create a more equitable and engaging employee experience for all groups? Not just generically, but understanding that there is diversity in the workforce and both in terms of your traditional thinking of diversity, but also in thinking of whether it’s age or whether it’s preferences on how they work. I do my most meaningful work when I can shut the door and I really have time to to think through a problem and do a whiteboard and that thing.

Tim Minahan:
Others thrive in a heavily populated team environment, right? And your workplace is constituting all of those, right? Someone said this recently during a podcast. They said customers have put so much investment in enhancing the customer experience and personalization yet they treat their employee base like a block of cheddar cheese. Which is just a horrible experience, one solution for everyone. ERGs and SIGs really allow us to open our eyes to things we might not be aware of and understand that to create a truly great employee experience, you need to enable every employee to perform at their best.

William Tincup:
Last question before we roll out and we’ve talked listening and then taking action, and then showing them where you’re at on a journey or the plan, et cetera. What if they don’t know to tell you? This is going to be an odd question. It’s based in observational research. Right? If someone doesn’t know to tell you, then it can be something that’s important to them. They just don’t know how tell you, they don’t express what they need, et cetera. How do we as HR leaders, how do we innovate and maybe even test things and put things in front of the audience, in front of other employees and say, “Hey, we’re thinking about this. What do you think?” That’s not necessarily listening, that’s leading and innovating, and then letting the employee base then say, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. Let’s do that.” What’s your take on how, first of all, do we do that? If we do that, how do we do that?

Tim Minahan:
Yeah. It’s a great question. One is certainly having candid listening forums. We’ve been doing that quite a bit here at Citrix over the past 24 months in light, in large part, because we needed to get folks engaged. It’s much more difficult, the downside to everyone working remotely, right? You don’t have the casual pulse check. You need to find other other ways to do that. The other is again, getting back to purpose, creating a clear vision, establishing key milestones and then getting the employees engaged in helping to solve for those key milestones or attributes that you need to advance towards your vision, right?

Tim Minahan:
It’s not just something that happens in the engineering team when you talk about how do we improve the the customer experience? It’s something that happens cross-functionally. If you can identify those priorities for your company and then get teams engaged, that becomes a really great way where the employees feel part of … They’re not only bought into the vision, but they feel part of the solution.

William Tincup:
That’s wonderful. Thank you so much, Tim. I know you’re crazy busy and I appreciate you coming on to RecruitingDaily Podcast.

Tim Minahan:
No, it’s exciting. Thanks, William.

William Tincup:
Absolutely, and thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Until next time.

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Authors
William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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