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- Gary Vaynerchuk said companies should fire the “assholes” creating “toxic” work environments.
- It’s a better way of retaining workers than cutting working hours, he said.
- He has also said recently that companies need to appeal to Gen Z better, given their many work options.
Gary Vaynerchuk has a lot of theories about what workers want from their employers.
The entrepreneur and internet personality, who was an early investor in companies like Facebook and Uber, regularly posts TikToks about the workplace and how people have transformed their relationship with it over the last few years. In TikToks posted this week, Vaynerchuk railed against “toxic work environments,” slamming companies for retaining employees and management that compromise the “joy” of their staff members.
He also continued his ongoing commentary about why Gen Z is moving away from traditional working arrangements, helping to perpetuate the “Great Resignation” and a broader labor shortage. Young people re-evaluating their relationship with work is causing companies to scramble to get employees in the office, or even to get employees in general.
“Joy doesn’t come from four-hour workweeks,” Vaynerchuk said in one video, seeming to reference the current movement for a four-day workweek. “Joy doesn’t come from free doughnuts. Joy comes from firing dickheads.”
Vaynerchuk’s comments alluded to companies’ largely fruitless pursuit to retain employees and bring them back to work in person over the last two years, looking to draw remote and hybrid workers back after a pandemic shift home. In the years since COVID spread across the world in 2020, remote job openings are finally dwindling, even as workers have begun to stake their job prospects on it; for instance, most people said they would look for a new job if their employer made them work in person, a Pew Research Center survey found last year.
The “doughnuts” jab in particular targets the expensive, often futile attempts from companies to entice employees back to their cubicles — efforts that involve arcades, pizza parties, and even spa amenities.
Vaynerchuk insists that companies should make more substantial structural changes to their work environments if they want to attract employees, especially young employees, who he says have a plethora of options given their online savvy. Namely, he says that companies should pay them more than they can get working for themselves, and prune their payroll of employees responsible for a toxic environment.
“Gen Z is not lazy, they understand their options,” he said in another video this week. “‘Hey, you want to come work this dickshit job and make $52,000 a year? Or do you want to stay at home and make TikToks and make $60,000 a year?’ Companies are completely fucked — if you don’t give a fuck about your employees why the fuck should they care about you?’
“It’s very hard because a lot of times people bringing a lot of negativity to an organization are also top performers,” he said. “I think it’s very possible to have a work environment where people are going very hard but are very happy, but I only think it comes from the way we treat each other.”
Forget perks, focus on fixing your toxic workplace
A Harvard Business Review report from last year analyzing feedback from 13,000 employees on 2,800 managers found that “uncaring and uninspiring” leaders were a major reason workers quit their jobs.
“We find that folks that seem to be more satisfied working from home are also folks who report that they don’t have a good relationship with their direct supervisor, whereas those folks that have a more favorable impression of their relationship with their direct supervisor report enjoying being in the office more often,” Jason Schloetzer, a business professor at Georgetown University who co-conducted a similar survey of about 70,000 remote workers, told WorkLife.
Vaynerchuk’s reference to a four-day work week — which research shows is good for employees’ well-being and that recent major pilot studies have found to be good for workplace productivity — also hints at a criticism some experts have levied recently.
American politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders have thrown their support behind the idea, for instance, citing major recent studies, but some researchers say that the push for a four-day work-week is more practical for white-collar workers, as opposed to blue-collar workers, many of whom have more rigid schedules and more immediate needs, such as breaks between long shifts and vacation time.
“Nobody’s talking about the four-day week in my world,” Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of the UNI Global Union, said at the World Economic Forum in January. “Flexibility is what everybody wants.”
And Vaynerchuk is betting that people also want to be treated right while on the clock.
“I think the way you’ll get to that joy is if everyone’s nice to each other and if you have the ability and the conviction to fire the three people in here that are assholes.”