The Great Resignation, Big Quit or Great Reshuffle is aptly titled responses to the mass exodus of the job market in early 2021. Workers voluntarily left their jobs en masse despite the job market starting to rebound following the involuntary shutdowns of businesses in response to the pandemic. Anti-work groups were rising on social media establishing a new ideology against the very concept of work. In coordination with low wages, poor conditions and minimal appreciation or the everyday worker, the Great Resignation, albeit no surprise to the trends, left businesses scrambling to hire anyone semi-suitable for a position.
Core values send a message: “You are Important!” As anti-work groups are dedicated in pointing out the flaws of organizations deficient in their moral code, Dennis Franczak, CEO of FuseIdeas commits 25% of his profits to the employees. Franczak credits his wife, enhancing his visionary approach to human value. It was his wife who elevated his leadership style with a proclamation: Employees are not robots, treat them as humans.
“The Relentless Pursuit of Success and Glory” has been the cornerstone of his brand and culture since its beginning in 2006. The brand represents the creative brains behind innovation, launching platforms such as ESPN360 and DisneyNOW, both ahead of their time as digital streaming platforms. Franczak discovered a passion for marketing and the intricate nature of advertising in the Air Force, serving his country as a Second Lieutenant. The core values driving leadership-into-performance in the Air Force do not directly transition into advertising. FuseIdeas elevates human values, a culmination of Franczak’s commitment to transformational leadership.
Francak’s response to the Great Resignation is more-of-the-same. Understanding the employee, empathizing with the worker and valuing the human being are enough, he believes. The mass exodus from the labor force has always been driven by employees arguing they have no voice – they feel unheard and neglected – where the simple approach is to ignore them and look for talent elsewhere. Even when Franczak’s employees venture to a competing firm they tend to return. Irrespective of age and generational gaps, employees come back to the company where they feel valued, and where they are elevated by core values.
Entitlement and excuses are signs of failure. Failing is a way of life. Being laid off from a job is a way of life, Franczak stated during our conversation. Trauma from the pandemic, the uncertainty of labor and unrealistic expectations altered his perception of how people think. Now, his leadership style and approach aligns with transformational values reflecting the core values of his clients, employees, and exceptional stakeholders.
“We have a lot in common with our clients: We share their passion for success.”
The transformational leader has been challenged during the pandemic era of employment. The Great Resignation is not mythical, but an emerging ideology in the workforce. Franczak refused to recognize employees as transactions – again attributing his wife for her role as a mentor – where the employee is a human with thoughts, feelings, emotions and untapped motivation. The culture-driven employee fits in his organizational promise.
The mindset shift of the pandemic saw managers blaming the employees for their behavioral changes. Franczak, in contrast, saw an opportunity: Understand how people think and build a culture to accommodate their needs. The results are exceptional as FuseIdeas represents some of the biggest names in their respective industries, from ESPN to the Boys and Girls Club. The accomplishments, brand image and innovative marketing intelligence are secondary to a culture-driven organization empowering the modern worker.
Success and glory are absent of hyperbole under Franczak’s vision. FuseIdeas retains employees. More significantly, the brand is a symphony of hard work, motivation, excitement and reward. Employees resigned in 2021 as they were fed up with wages, bosses and conditions. This idea emerged that working for a boss, or even working at the bottom of an organizational chart is demeaning. Instead of degrading the employees for thinking this way, often due to no fault of their own, more can be done to embrace them, which Franczak attributes to his wife’s recommendations and his deeper understanding of human capital in business.
Any corporation’s social responsibility will promise the same to up-and-coming generational enthusiasts claiming their position in a diverse and dynamic workforce. By actively listening to Franczak’s philosophy, the CEO distinguishes fantasy from reality. Robotic employees will not build a brand, cannot sustain a mission, and certainly will not share the vision. As his wife implored, human dignity, compassion, and a relentless pursuit to empathy symbolize the path to success.
The Great Resignation runs parallel to a divided country. The unfortunate reality is that humans are easily influenced by others, where disgruntled employees leaving the workforce are sure to motivate others to do the same. Generational gaps have become obvious. Entitled workers want credit for blood they had not shed, for never breaking a sweat and for never over-extending themselves to the point of tears. The soon-to-be-retired generations have, expecting the talented youth of today to follow suit. Franczak believes in second chances – he also supports the core ideas of work – and the value of hard work will always supersede a fabled idea.