A few weeks ago, we had Adam Day who is a consultant, and leadership coach for The Medici Group on our happy hour podcast. He’s worked for brands such as Nike and WeWork where he focused on team performance, diversity, equity and inclusion, and how companies can elevate their workplace experiences through the integration of HR, design and technology. We discussed the future of work and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and what he’s hearing from leadership at different companies. Here are some high-level workplace trends that Adam envisions in 2021 and beyond.
- College, Careers & Retirement are Transforming: The beginning and the end of careers are transforming. We are rethinking college education just as we are rethinking retirement. In both, we’re moving from something standardized and binary, to something that is more fluid, customized and hybrid. There are opportunities to explore more, and contribute more, in these key career moments.
- Remote Work: Talent is dispersing and taking the keys. Remote work improves an organization's access to talent and the ability of workers to live in new places. In many sectors and roles, how work gets done is governed more and more by talent rather than management. This is a huge opportunity for lifestyle changes and access to global opportunities from anywhere.
- The Hybrid Office: The death and rebirth of the office. The office has always been a cost center. You hire people and add desks and offices. Now we realize that the purpose of the office isn’t desks for workers, it is to convene, connect and collaborate--and it is voluntary. Now the office is like any other service offering--it will need to prove its value for your time.
- Data & Privacy for Employees: The promise and perils of workplace analytics. What the organizational data companies have now is incredibly powerful. If it is used too aggressively to monitor and enforce, it can backfire. But it can also empower growth and shine a light on things that were previously unseeable. We’ll need to find ways to share the benefits while preserving adequate privacy.
- Diversity Drives Innovation: Numerous studies have proven this to be true. This is a core mantra of the Medici Group, and we see it play out with clients around the world. The pace of change is accelerating. Almost every company is adapting or transforming its business model. And that process requires the recombination of experiences and ideas--and older employees have a lot to contribute, not just in their domain expertise, but how that informs unrelated challenges. They can solve problems others don’t see.
Recommendations on what matters in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion space:
- The leadership team reflects the diversity of the employee base and consumers the company serves, and they consistently affirm the value of diversity and inclusion in the organization.
- Executive compensation is directly tied to diversity targets--recruitment, retention and promotion.
- The company regularly assesses and adjusts pay equity across all roles and levels.
- The head of DE&I controls aspects of HR budgets, and has resources to drive impact (as opposed to an executive position without any real influence).
- Company leaders see DE&I as the way to drive performance as well as innovation. They create space for hard conversations, and bring DE&I values to life day-to-day.
- There is a culture of inclusion. People can bring their whole selves to work and have that diversity be respected and valued and seen as a benefit to the company.
Capabilities needed of future leaders and workers:
- Trust: Knowing how to trust, manage and motivate remote teams.The pandemic and remote working has exposed a lot of bad management. Micromanagement or hierarchical mindsets don’t work well with distributed teams in environments of rapid change. Companies need managers and leaders that can navigate this environment and unleash the potential of their workforces. This is about mindset and experience and age can be an advantage. The days when managers had to see the whites of your eyes to make sure you’re working are over.
- Collaboration: Working at the intersection: being confident and capable of collaborating across cultures and disciplines. With more years of work experience, there can be a tendency to stay in one track. It will be an advantage to be able to leverage your expertise across other domains in useful and innovative ways. The more specialized subfunctions become, the more there are needs for translation across divisions to facilitate making trade-offs and combining insights.
- Be Curious & Challenge Assumptions: Embrace the unexpected--inclusively.
Too many companies have seen teams perfectly execute the wrong plans. Leaders are desperate for employees with the curiosity and drive to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and make it happen as fast as possible--and do that in a way that is inclusive and collegial. No one has time for great ideas that are offset by disrespect or exclusion. If you’d like to listen to the entire conversation with Adam, you can watch the replay on our Events page.
Below are recommendations of books, companies and future of work and DE&I experts Adam respects.
Relevant books on future of work, diversity, intergenerational workforce:
- The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation (Frans Johansson)
- The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World (Frans Johansson)
- Range : Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (David Epstein)
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Carol Dweck)
- Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement (Rich Karlgaard)
Companies focused on improving the future of work (that Adam has hired, admires the founders, and/or have worked for):
- The Medici Group: The Medici Group | Diversity Drives Innovation
- Imperative: Imperative - The Peer Coaching Platform
- Syndio: Syndio | Fairness at Work | Pay Equity | HR Analytics
- Humanyze: Workplace Analytics
- Teal: Community, Guidance & Tools for Career Growth | Teal
‘Future of work’ and DEI practitioners worth tracking:
- Shari Dunn https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharidunn/
- Lily Zheng https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilyzheng308/
- Ben Waber: https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminwaber/
- Lakshmi Rengarajan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lakshmi-rengarajan-077b3aa/
- Frans Johansson: https://www.fransjohansson.com/
- Janelle Aaker https://www.linkedin.com/in/janelle-aaker/
- Phil Kirschner https://www.linkedin.com/in/philkirschner/
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Emily’s vision for illume hire developed as part of her journey from a startup-curious sales and marketing professional to co-founder and CEO. Her passion is to provide the tools and community to support other mid-career professionals to maximize their mid-career momentum. In addition to her work with illume hire, Emily is part of the founding leadership team of Age Equity Alliance, a non-profit focused on age diversity in the workplace