People want to be heard and seen: connect through creating a personalized experience in the hiring process and beyond.
When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations alike are looking for the freedom to adopt the work model that makes the most sense. We reached out to successful business leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future of work that works.
As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Abakar Saidov, Co-Founder and CEO at Beamery.
Beamery is the leader in talent lifecycle management. Prior to founding Beamery, Abakar worked at Goldman Sachs and Francisco Partners. He now leads Beamery’s mission to transform talent by empowering companies to deliver better candidate and employee experiences at scale. He enjoys behavioral psychology, development economics and education reform, cycling, cooking and is a self proclaimed amateur outdoorsman.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
The life experiences that shaped me are intertwined with why Beamery was created. The first is moving to the United Kingdom, from Russia, aged ten years old. At that time, our family was poor and not having UK passports really seemed to limit our possibilities. It drove me to want to do something meaningful and entrepreneurial.
At 18, I moved to China to become a Mandarin interpreter. Learning a new language and embracing this new culture was an amazing, enlightening experience that further shaped my worldview.
Lastly, I read a book that gave me direction into how to solve the passport lottery, Poor Economics, by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, is a book that focuses on economics, and specifically the issue of poverty cycles and how to get out of them. The book states that the keys to addressing this issue are providing access to work, education and healthcare. After reading this, I moved back to the UK and pursued an economics degree — all the way up to my PhD.
Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?
We have to recognize that the term “work-life balance” has dated. Right now, it’s just life. There’s no door to leave at the end of the day, no clocking out. The line isn’t blurry, it simply isn’t there. I would argue that, to some degree, networks that used to be centered around church and community have since moved to the workplace. Today, employers care much more about the mental and physical health of their employees.
People want to work for companies that will make an impact. We need to leave the foosball and free beer in the past and concentrate on the new things that matter, such as child care or adjusting time off policies. Beyond the paycheck, looking ahead, companies have to spend time on their people if they are to have a larger value impact on the world.
What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?
The reasons people have been leaving their jobs recently are not the same reasons they’ll leave in the future. At the moment, the primary reasons are that people are tired and associate COVID with their company, and because there is an injection of fast growth in the job market and companies are willing to pay more for quality talent.
You could offer existing employees the personalized benefits that they want, but other employees will leave unless you give everyone those same benefits. The real reason that businesses are struggling is: it’s often easier to let someone go and pay someone else their salary. The other is that companies haven’t taken the time to build and maintain a good culture.
Bottom line? People want to be shown that their company cares about its people and is invested in their development.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
With an increasing number of ways to communicate instantaneously, it’s hard for employees to push back and be ‘unavailable’ outside typical working hours. This kind of continued pressure often leads to resignation, or burnout, so leaders must prioritize empowering employees through offering an energizing, aspirational workplace. Looking ahead, constant access to colleagues can be beneficial when working together against a tight timeline, but it will also become important to set personal boundaries to ensure that work lives and personal lives don’t become synonymous.
We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?
We should start with the question: “How do you want to create an environment that people want to be part of?”
It’s going to take a multi-faceted approach. Beyond paying an employee to accomplish their daily tasks, there should be something else that matters. There’s hope in building the kind of workplace that your employees want to be a part of and it’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek. One of the things he talks about is that we tend to look at the next generation and what their demands are and say “it’s not how it used to be.” The dissonance is that no one wants the world to be worse, but comparison often provides the foundation of our ideas for making things better.
I believe that humans are optimistic and are trying at all times to make their reality a better reality. Maybe it’s Hobbes v.s. Rousseau argument. Innately, we’re trying to improve things and that gives me hope.
Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?
Beamery’s latest Talent Index collated opinions from over 5,000 respondents in the UK and USA, revealing that there are certain benefits companies should offer to attract new talent.
Topping employees’ wishlists for 2022 were flextime and a four-day work week, suggesting companies would do well in enabling teams to determine how best to make the working week work.
Perhaps most importantly, The Talent Index findings also showed that candidates are looking to join companies that they feel prioritize employee wellbeing and mental health. Interestingly, two-thirds (65%) of the respondents shared that they feel added pressure to work while sick, and one in four believed sick days to be a thing of the past. When asked what the top priorities were when returning to the office, improved mental health support was listed as second most important.
With these employee aspirations in mind, companies need to be sure that their culture is both welcoming and supportive. To accomplish this, encourage ongoing conversations — coined today as ‘Stay Interviews’. They’re the opposite of an exit interview and function as a listening session that can help retain talent. When it comes to creating new policies and benefits for your employees, asking the right questions and using that information to guide decision-making is imperative.
It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?
Adopt a talent-first approach. Making a talent-first transition requires looking at talent through the lens of the customer lifecycle. Despite companies experiencing an exponential level of talent loss, that’s also cited to be stalling business growth, many leaders still aren’t investing enough time or attention to talent communication and experiences.
Businesses must work harder to be upfront and consistent with their value proposition, focus on the entire talent lifecycle and distinctly convey why people should want to work for them.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
- People want career growth: 83% of employees say their company should help with career progression and 44% say their employer doesn’t have a talent acceleration program to address high achievers.
- Voluntary benefits, like mental health and wellness perks, are more important than ever: According to a Shortlister report, there’s a growing demand for mental well-being programs, financial wellness, as well as behavioral health.
- Recruitment processes are antiquated: As Gen Z continues to flood the talent marketplace, and ranked recruitment processes as needing to change higher than every other generation by at least 10%.
- People want to be heard and seen: connect through creating a personalized experience in the hiring process and beyond.
- A company is really a gathering of people, unified to accomplish a common goal. When the people involved are inspiring and positive, they’ll build a larger environment that others will want to be a part of. Remember: people are joining for the experience.
I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?
“Ask more questions.” I think our failure is that as people, instead of taking the time to ask questions, we tend to assume. It creates a gap in our understanding of others’ perspectives and problems. By asking questions, you can properly inform yourself.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.
The people I find most interesting are economists. I’d meet with two people: Esther Duflo and Mariana Mazzucato. Both wrote books that changed my life– Esther about how to overcome poverty cycles and Mariana on how governments are good innovators. They come from different elements of economics and help to determine what the role of the corporation should be and how private organizations should assist on world problems.
I’m really geeky about macro trends, but it’s important to remember that there’s real answers to things out there and companies can provide real impact.
Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.