6 Big Decisions CEOs Will Confront in 2022 - Senior Executive
Leadership 6 min

6 Big Decisions CEOs Will Confront in 2022

CEOs from across industries share the decisions they already know they’ll have to face next year. That includes avoiding supply chain disruption, recruiting during the Great Resignation and reopening the office.  

by Kaitlin Milliken on December 29, 2021


  • With 1 in 7 workers planning to quit, CEOs are looking to attract talent to their teams

  • CEOs are rethinking their logistics strategy to account for a supply chain crisis

  • Executives are making choices about how to approach hybrid work

  • Executives also have burnout, benefits and acquisitions top of mind

With hiring wars raging, supply-chain obstacles and another wave of COVID, business leaders are already bracing for the challenges of 2022. 

That includes the rush to fill open positions, as a grim recruiting outlook persists into the new year. A survey from job seeker resource ResumeBuilder.com found that 1 in 7 workers — approximately 15% of the workforce — plan to quit their jobs before the start of the new year.

According to a report from recruitment technology and services company Appcast, a job seekers market is likely to persist into 2022 with candidates expecting higher wages and incentives for their work. 

Execs should also plan for supply chain disruptions over the next year, with Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell predicting the crisis to last through 2022. While the demand for consumer goods is above pre-pandemic levels, labor shortages and supply-side constraints have led to persistent bottlenecks. Business leaders have said they are rethinking partnerships to get goods to customers in a timely way. 

Senior Executive Media asked CEOs to share how they are approaching hiring and supply chain, as well as other decisions they already know they must make in 2022. See what else they had to say. 

How to Attract Talent and Fill Open Roles

“The most common theme for us and a lot of businesses are the challenges with hiring, employee retention, the labor market… Employees want to be listened to… It’s not just surveying your employees, but also really taking their feedback, expressing to them that it’s heard and taking actionable steps based on their feedback. 

Obviously we’ve got to pay more, we need to be always pushing the envelope when it comes to wages. Work from home is a big part of it. We have a call center with 300 call center agents, and we went from working in a single office in Tampa to…across the country. So these are all things that we’ve sort of adapted and had to make decisions [about] on the fly.”

— Omar Soliman, CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk, a waste removal service. 

How to Weather Supply Chain Disruptions

“One of the biggest decisions that we will have to make as an organization in 2022, is going to be around investments, changes or modifications that we will need to make to our overall distribution strategy…in relation to the global supply chain…challenges that are happening around the world. 

We believe strongly that people that win in consumer goods are going to win not just because they have the best solution for the consumer. It’s also really important to get that solution to the consumer. And we’re going to have to…be more effective and efficient in getting products and solutions to your consumer faster and more affordably.” 

— Scott Hagen, CEO of Victrola, which produces audio equipment and record players. 

How to Reopen the Office While Planning for a Remote Future

“We’re going to be coming back to the office [in 2022] — unless some unknown input [challenge caused by COVID] arises. Then that [reopening] is slightly differently [across our offices]. We’re in 22 countries so it’s slightly different in every office around the world… 

The big question for us that’s interesting is we’ve grown so much during COVID. We doubled in size. We’re already over capacity. And for example, our headquarters…we’re at technically 20% over capacity. We’re looking at acquiring a much larger headquarter building. What we’re…[also] contemplating is, what’s the reality of work from home and flexibility? Not what it is today, but what will it settle at [long term], because that’s what we have to build plans against.”

 — Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, which focuses on recycling materials that typically become waste. 

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How to Provide Benefits for Distributed Teams 

“We’ve always been a little ahead of our times: We’ve had an unlimited vacation policy for five years now. We’ve been remote since we started 15 years ago. But there are some basics that we’re working on. One of them is health insurance.

We used to have group health insurance, and then Obamacare came along. And it actually made more sense for [employees] to buy individual policies because they were getting more coverage. We’ve just been subsidizing.

I want our employees not to worry about these things. I want it to be fair for all our employees across different state lines. Once employees are also used to something, it’s not like you can take something away; you can only enhance it. That’s the kind of stuff we’re really thinking about — just how to make it a better workplace for your employees.”

— Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media, a digital PR and marketing firm.

How to Create Work Life Balance for Employees

“Work life balance, that’s been a challenge for everyone. … When we started operating 100% remote…it’s very easy to get pulled into that trap where suddenly it’s seven days a week and you cannot disconnect. … We have a 95% female workforce — some of the brightest, most capable, competent people that I’ve ever met in my career… They’re trying to balance that personal life. They’re trying to balance children running through the house, while we’re on a Zoom call… You can’t lose sight of it as a leader.” 

— Jim Marcum, CEO of David’s Bridal, a wedding attire retailer. 

Where to Find the Best Acquisitions

“In 2022, we need to outline and begin executing on our formal strategy around M&A [mergers and acquisitions]. So in 2021, we raised a $200 million series B led by Softbank. We are also growing quickly enough where to meaningfully deploy capital, it will need to involve some M&A. … We also need to think through just how much we are investing in technology and product.” 

— Jeremy Johnson, CEO of Andela, an online marketplace for hiring engineers. 

What decisions is your executive team planning to make next year? Respond in our Leadership Think Tank, or send your thoughts to editor@seniorexecutive.com.

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