The Future of Work Podcast With Jacob Morgan | Futurist | Leadership | Workplace | Careers | Employee Experience & Engagement |

There is a big debate these days about whose responsibility it is to create a sense of purpose for employees at an organization. Is it up to the employee or the employer? Many people believe that in order to create a workplace where people actually want to show up the employer needs to give employees challenging, exciting and inspiring work that creates a sense of purpose.

But, the truth is, the employee controls the work. It is the employee who picks which jobs to apply for, whether or not they want to go in for an interview, if they say yes or no to the job offer. The employee has a choice in what field they want to study in school and at most jobs they are told up front what they will be expected to do. What you do in an organization is not usually a surprise after you get hired. If you apply for a sales position, for example, you are going to be doing sales work.

The employer simply controls the environment in which the work gets done. They can control three main environments: culture, technology and physical space. Through these three main environments organizations can have an impact on how you feel at work, how efficiently you get your work done and where you get the work done. But the work itself is up to the employee.

Direct download: who_controls_work_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:37pm PDT

Since we are starting the week with a holiday, I thought we could do something a little different. I have interviewed a lot of fascinating guests over the years ranging from the CIO of IBM to the Chief People Officer at McDonald’s to the CHRO at Allstate and many, many others. And towards the end of most of my interviews I ask the guest to give us some advice in the area of their expertise. We have received a lot of great advice over the years and so I thought it would be fun to compile a full episode of advice from past podcast guests. I hope you find it interesting and helpful, there are some great tips and thoughts in these clips.

The first clip is from my interview with bestselling author Jon Gordon. Our conversation for this episode revolved around his newest book, The Power of Positive Leadership. The section that I chose from this interview was when Jon gave us 3 key principles to focus on from his book in order to help us be more positive leaders and transform our organizations.

His three key points were, talk to yourself instead of listen, focus on the fact that we create our world inside out, not outside in, and the importance of grit.  

The second clip I chose for this week is from David Deming, the Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In our conversation we talked a lot about the future of education, the current economy and skills needed for employees of the future. He had advice for both leaders and entry level employees.

One piece of advice he gave to leaders was, “don’t be afraid to take a chance on somebody who doesn’t come from the standard background but who could potentially be a good fit for a position that you’ve got going on. Because I do think that in this world of constant technological change and uncertain measures of employee productivity, it’s easy for good people to fall through the cracks”

One topic that is really timely at the moment is privacy and security in our increasingly connected world. So I chose a clip from my interview with Dr. Alissa Johnson (aka Dr. J), the Chief Information Security Officer at Xerox. In the clip you will hear her tips and tricks on how to protect ourselves in this connected world. As she mentions in the clip, the advice may seem simple, but they are all things most people are not currently doing.

I also chose a few clips with advice on people analytics because it is another hot topic nowadays. The two clips that I chose are from Natalie McCullough, the General Manager of Workplace Analytics and My Analytics at Microsoft and David Green, the global director of people analytics solutions at IBM Kenexa Smarter Workforce.

Part of Natalie’s advice was to, “really start on this journey with a sense of transparency and growth mindset. So, approach the data with the very open question of “what can I learn from this data?”. A bad way to start is to start with a fairly defensive mindset, which I’ve also seen.”

David gave some advice that was simple and straight to the point. “In terms of how can organizations get on with this...I mean honestly, just start”, David said, “Read up on it, be inspired by what other people are doing, don’t copy them necessarily, but be inspired.”   

When I interviewed Seth Godin, author of 18 bestselling books, speaker and founder of altMBA he gave us advice on what entry level employees can do to bring more passion into their careers and be more successful at work.

He said, “I think it’s really important that we get this perspective and begin to take responsibility, that we never, ever say, “Well, I have student loans and a family to support and bills to pay, therefore, I will sacrifice my life and my future by doing braindead work that I don’t believe in, half-assed and waiting it out”. Because what are you waiting it out for? When will you stop waiting it out?”

Other clips that I included in this podcast mashup are from the Chief People Officer at McDonald’s, the Co-CEO at Gensler, the Senior Economist and Team Leader of the Labor Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit at the ILO, author of The Coaching Habit, and author of MegaTech: Technology in 2050.

Direct download: Mashup20july2027th202018.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:06am PDT

Technology is a vital part of our organizations today, but a lot of times we neglect the technology problem and focus solely on the human problem. The truth is both are connected and we have to learn how to fix them both.

Employee experience, corporate culture and effective leadership are all a huge focus point in many companies today, and rightly so. However, most companies are focusing solely on the human problem, when they should also be looking at the technology problem as well.

Think about technology in your workplace. When you don’t have the tools and technology needed to complete a task or project it can become extremely frustrating. You may become resentful or even angry because of the outdated technology you are being forced to use. Technology is part of creating a positive employee experience. If you want your employees to be happy, successful and productive, you have to ensure they have access to the resources they need to complete their projects and tasks.

Technology plays a huge role in how we communicate, collaborate and interact with one another in our workplace and in our personal lives. When the technology component breaks down the technology problem becomes a human problem. We have to start investing in technology and advanced tools that help our employees do their jobs more efficiently.

Direct download: technology_becomes_human_problem.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:13am PDT

Trynka Shineman is the CEO of Vistaprint, a 20 year old global company that provides online custom printing, marketing materials, and a lot more. She brings more than 20 years of experience in market research and analysis, strategic planning, database marketing and e-commerce to her role. Prior to her current position, Shineman held a variety of roles at Vistaprint including president, chief marketing officer, and chief customer officer.

Before joining Vistaprint, Shineman was a director and senior manager for PreVision Marketing, an Inc. 500 and Software 500 innovator in direct marketing where she developed programs for several major accounts.

Vistaprint is an online supplier of printed and promotional materials as well as marketing services to micro businesses and consumers. With 7,000 employees, their focus is on helping business owners market themselves. They focus on small businesses - with less than 10 employees. Working to help with the small businesses’ branding - from outfitting a store, advertising in the market and of course, business cards.

What is like to work at Vistaprint?

The main office is located in Boston and is orientated towards teams. When one walks in they will see white boards with what people are working on. They will see that change is a common factor.

One thing that Vistaprint does that is not common is something called a Vista Break. Every 5 years, every employee gets a month-long sabbatical. The expectation is that the employee is unplugged during that period. It is the ability to have 4 weeks of uninterrupted time. It recharges people.

Shineman shared the 3 pillars of the company which are:

  1. How are we working? – placing more emphasis on teams rather than the individual

They use a Kanban board. It is a work and workflow visualization tool that enables you to optimize the flow of your work – it is one way to visualize the work. It assists with defining the outcome for the team.

Shineman also talked about Agile for HR – moving from being reactive to more proactive and building experiences that make an impact on the organization.

  1. The employee experience- how do people get feedback? Setting expectations that they aspire to as an organization

A main focus is co-creation - working with others. Whether it is others within the organization or even with customers.

  1. The role of the leader. How does it need to evolve?

What are the key qualities and skills in a leader? To provide clarity and right competence and right level of autonomy. How to create a clear goal? What is the role of a manager? Removing impediments, being authentic and open, servant leadership, leader as a coach, a helper or mentor

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it is like to work at Vistaprint
  • Why they don’t do annual performance reviews and what they do instead
  • How Vistaprint views Employee Experience
  • What a Kanban board is and why is it helpful
  • How to use Agile in HR
Direct download: Trynka20Shineman20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:03pm PDT

Frances Hesselbein is the President and CEO of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, founded as The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management and renamed in 2012 to honor Hesselbein’s legacy and ongoing contributions. Mrs. Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, by President Clinton in 1998 for her leadership as CEO of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976–1990, as well as her service as “a pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity.” Her contributions were also recognized by the first President Bush, who appointed her to two Presidential Commissions on National and Community Service. At 103 years young, she is one of the most highly respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership development.

From 2009–2011, Mrs. Hesselbein served as the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point, in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. She is the first woman, and the first non-graduate to serve in this chair.

The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum at the University of Pittsburgh is a continuation of the legacy of Frances Hesselbein and reflects the vision of a university-based center for teaching, applied research, and public service where leaders and aspiring leaders from around the world can gather to advance the art and science of leadership and put these principles to practice in public service.

Mrs. Hesselbein’s advice for leaders today is to totally be committed to a mission, b values based, and be demographic driven – the doors are open, we need to find ways to include all our people.

What role do leaders play to support organizations?

  • At every level, the CEO will bring on a team that respects its people.
  • They must create a mission that is short, powerful and compellin One that “Can fit on a T-shirt”
  • The leaders must live the values

Some of the greatest changes that have occured over the course of Mrs. Hesselbein’s career are that there are doors opened that were never opened before, we are including women in every level, there is a respect for all people and that has become a battle cry for her organization.

In many of Mrs. Hesselbein’s speeches she talks about 2 institutions that have sustained democracy. These are the 2 powerful forces that help us sustain our democracy and we don’t let anyone put them down. They are:

  • The educational system – public education.
  • The US military.

Mrs. Hesselbein says, “Work is love made visible. There is something about working with people, for people, working to sustain something, to open doors. To work is to live. We find what we love to do and pour everything we have into it. And work is love made visible”. And she truly lives this statement out. She has given her all to serve her community, her organization, and the world. She is an advocate for women and minorities and she is passionate about everything that she does.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to create meaningful work
  • The current state of work
  • Why the future of work is so ‘bright’
  • Trends in leadership
  • Where Frances grew up and how she got her start
  • Changes Frances has seen over the course of her career
  • Frances’ advice to leaders inside of organizations

 

 

Direct download: frances20hesselbein20podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 4:02pm PDT

I constantly hear stories about how people feel they are working for an organization where they feel like they don’t have a voice or where they don’t feel like they can be themselves. It doesn’t have to be this way! We have to learn how to speak up at work.

It is so important for every employee to participate in group conversations, to give feedback to managers, to be honest and to give their opinions and point of view. Not only will it make employees feel heard and appreciated, but it will also help the organization to be the best that it can be.

Many people find it intimidating to speak up at work and to voice their opinions, but the truth is most of the time it will be met with a positive response. Speaking up could bring up issues, challenges or ideas that your managers and coworkers have never considered before. It could spark change or at least start a dialogue.

If for some reason you get a negative response from speaking up, then maybe that isn’t the organization for you and you need to think about making a move. Either way, whether you get a positive or negative response, speaking up is in your best interest. The worst thing you can do for yourself, or your organization, is to just stay quiet and let everything just get shaped around you without having a say.

Direct download: Why_you_need_to_speak_up_at_work_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:17pm PDT

Harriet Harty is the CHRO for Allstate Insurance Company Harriet Harty is the CHRO for Allstate Insurance Company. She is responsible for developing their talent strategy and the tools and programs to enable the enterprise to attract, develop and retain engaged and talented employees.

Since joining Allstate in 1995, Harty has held a number of key human resources positions. She was senior vice president, with responsibility for executive, broad-based and sales compensation; benefits; communications; finance; talent and leadership effectiveness; and home office client partnership. Previously, she led the human capital solutions function, which included strategy, employee value proposition, workforce relations, workforce insights, workforce technology and the AskHR call center. Harty began her career in the compensation area, working her way up to leadership of the compensation and executive compensation function.

Allstate was founded in 1931 and is the largest publicly held property and casualty insurer in the US. It serves more than 16 million households.  It is a company with 35 billion dollars in revenue with 43000+ employees globally - most in US and about 8000 outside of US.

Differences at Allstate in the last 20 years from her experience?

  • Innovation – it is part of their everyday “business as usual” now as compared to years ago when it was something considered out of the box thinking
  • Less ‘silo’d’ – you can see the power of working across teams.
  • They have defined their purpose in a more articulate manner.
  • Added technology – the ability to quickly react is much larger due to technology.
  • Changes to physical space – they have revamped offices. They wanted space to be more collaborative, instead of high walled cubicles
  • This change brought down the hierarchy and changed the culture. It made supervisors much more available to employees

 

Harty has been at Allstate for more than 20 years for 2 main reasons. First, she

has always had the opportunity to grow and develop herself, through different

assignments, a project, etc… And secondly, because of the people. She considers

the people of Allstate her second family.

 

Some trends Harty is paying attention to at the moment are, the changing workforce (the demographics, how many baby boomers will be retiring) and disruptive technology that will have an impact on jobs.  Allstate is beginning to focus on training employees skills that will help them in their job today, but also 5, 10, 15 years in the future.

What skills will leaders need in 2025?

  • Agile mindset – being able to act quickly and decisively to conquer something
  • Innovative – someone that can think out of the box, challenge the status quo and take a lot of risks
  • Versatility– knowing how to motivate your group and team.

To leaders, Harty says, “It’s ok to be uncomfortable – there is likely a lot of uncomfortable coming.” This is where you can learn and move forward.

Her advice to employees is similar to the advice for leaders– be uncomfortable. Also, take advantage of the training available, talk with your leader about your aspirations, and jump in – rather than be on the side lines.

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Allstate’s HR department structure
  • Traits of future leaders
  • Six leadership principles for all employees at Allstate
  • How Allstate has evolved over the last 20 years
  • What it’s like to work at Allstate and why Harriet has been there 22 years
  • Skills leaders and employees need for the future
Direct download: Harriet20Hardy20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:33pm PDT

When an organization gets to a point where they realize they need to change things up, they typically start by looking at people in leadership and management positions. They feel that the issues in the company can be solved by changing the people at the top. But the truth is, instead of starting with people we should first take a look at the system.

The system that you build is typically more powerful than the people who are within that system. Just bringing in a new manager or a whole new team does not guarantee things will change for the better, in fact things may just get worse. It’s not the people that are directly impacting change, it is the system. You have to change the system in order to have change in your organization.

Once you figure out that the system needs to be changed, that is when you need to turn to people. You need bold, visionary people in leadership positions who have the will and the ability to change the core system of the organization for the better. People who are not going to just settle for what the company has done in the past, but who are always striving for something better.

If you want to drive true organizational change inside of your company, you have to start with redesigning, rethinking and rebuilding the system

Direct download: How_Do_You_Drive_Change_Inside_Of_An_Organization_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:58pm PDT

Alan Trefler founded Pegasystems and as CEO has built the company into a $750 million provider of customer engagement solutions with 4,000+ employees based in Boston with 30 global offices, growing about 20 percent annually.

Trefler’s life’s work has been to design a platform for living applications that businesspeople can evolve to manage the constant disruption and change in today’s customer-centric economy. Trefler’s book, Build for Change, describes a new generation of customers with unprecedented power to make or break brands and changes businesses must embrace to succeed.

Pegasystems (aka Pega) is the leader in cloud software for customer engagement and operational excellence. If you’ve driven a car, used a credit card, called a company for service, opened an account, flown on a plane, submitted a claim, or performed countless other everyday tasks, chances are you’ve interacted with Pega. For the past 30 years, their technology – CRM, digital process automation, robotics, AI, and more – has empowered the world’s leading companies to achieve breakthrough results.

Trefler’s interest in computers originates from collegiate involvement in tournament chess, where he achieved a Master rating and was co-champion of the 1975 World Open Chess Championship.

What is it like to work at Pega?

It’s changed over the years as technology has evolved. They have offices in 31 countries around the world. They have created collections of collaboration rooms so they can share with distributed teams. They are guided by their own software, designed to manage various tasks. They focus on being able to do case/work management to make sure people are aligned. They focus on trying to manage work around customer service.

Trefler believes that although there was a time when you would hear ‘silicon valley’ and think of innovation, today when you think of it, most people would think of ‘entitlement’. They’ve been so successful they have begun to ‘read their own press clippings’ - which is a very dangerous thing.

When asked to define leadership, Trefler says, leadership is defined by character and leadership by the ability to show a level of reliability. Ultimately, it involves people choosing to follow. We have moved past the era of coercion. The elements include being highly informed and knowledgeable - and being able to describe the sensibility.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • The connections between chess and business
  • Thoughts on universal income
  • Skills of leaders in 2025
  • Alan’s thoughts on the skills gap
  • What Alan would do differently if he had to create his company from scratch today
  • Alan’s view of Silicon Valley
Direct download: Alan20Trefler20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:33am PDT

Arun Chidambaram is the Global Head of Talent Analytics at Pfizer. His main area of focus is building and sustaining analytical capability within HR for large global corporations. Chidambaram has deep experiences in quantitative and visualisation methodologies, advanced analytics and research, experimentation and modelling, building collaborative and strong relationships across matrix organizations, and driving key business strategies and organisational change initiatives through workforce insights. He recently co-authored an article on TLNT titled “The Challenges in building a strong function around People Analytics function”.

Chidambaram has a background in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research with 20 years of experience in management, consulting, and human resources in positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to joining Pfizer, he held several leadership positions at Harley Davidson, Merck, and ESPN.

What is the role of leadership in People Analytics (PA)?

  • Be patient -  but efficient
  • Holistic leadership function, you must understand every aspect of people analytics. “I lead a bunch of very smart people who are in high demand, and then I report to very smart people,” says Chidambaram.
  • You need to keep track with where everyone else is working to make sure you are in the right place, working with the right people
  • You need to work with many departments - and be able to collaborate effectively with each.

How big are PA teams? Chidambaram says 90% are located in HR. In some organizations, there are 3 people in the team who support specific departments. Then they each go partner with those teams and come back with projects. Once people know about the PA teams, the number of projects increases greatly.

What will be the future of PA? According to Chidambaram, if you are early in your journey, then you have to have some HR background. How decisions are made, experience dealing with confidential information, etc.

Currently Chidambaram reports to the CHR. “Eventually, it will go to its own department and CIO and CHRs will need to be driven by data.”

How do you get started? Partner with a business analytics leader, talk about privacy and using data sets. Work on projects, let your team see the benefits and then move into larger roles when the time is right.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What people should know about People Analytics
  • The role of AI in PA
  • What is the Zone of debate?
  • How HR and PA work together
  • What data PA looks at
  • The 5 stages people in PA use
  • Hypothetical situations to show how PA can be used in any organization
Direct download: Arun_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:39pm PDT