…The Coaching Manager — Coaching has been thought of as a resource for executive-level leaders, but what if every manager coached their direct reports versus managed them? A coaching approach would help companies experience improved communication, better conflict management, and creative solutions to challenges.

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 are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Amy Galvin.

Amy Galvin is the Co-Founder and Chief Culture Officer of Luxury Living Chicago Realty, where she actively pours her heart, empathy, and humanity into the company. Her goal is to create a workplace where team members understand how their work contributes to the company’s greater good, enjoy collaborating, and thrive personally and professionally. In addition, Amy is a certified professional coach and trained facilitator of The Fair Play Method and serves as a coach supporting working mothers who desire a more empowered work/life experience.

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.

In 2007, along with my husband, I co-founded Luxury Living Chicago Realty — a six-time Inc. 5000, fastest-growing company in America. In my time leading the organization, I intentionally grew our female workforce from 40% to 72%, creating a workplace where women have a seat at the table and a culture supportive of working mothers.

Never did I imagine I would employ 50 people, achieve multi-million-dollar revenue year after year, or have the opportunity to become the leader I am today. All beautiful opportunities I am grateful to have experienced.

Motherhood has also shaped who I am. I’m a mom to Mia (12) and Lana (10). My daughters are my “why.” Every day, I intend to live my life with grace and show them what a modern woman can achieve in this world.

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?

Work and what we do professionally will always play a central role in our lives. I believe employees will continue to show up to do their best work for their companies.

What is evolving is how people want their work to be more meaningful. They want to know they are making a difference at their company and even in the world.

I predict the future workplace will have much more automation for repetitive work, something bots can do. Automation will liberate people to be more creative and focus on more complex work.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

Invest in your team’s well-being. Allow them to be authentically themselves and bring their whole selves to work. You’ll get more engaged and invested employees when they are free to be who they are.

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?

I listened to a podcast with organizational psychologist and author Adam Grant and psychotherapist Esther Perel. They were saying what people want from work today is what people used to get from religion: belonging, purpose, meaning, and community.

The workplace is where people come to have many of their needs met and fulfilled — financially, emotionally, energetically, and even spiritually. That’s a lot of pressure to put on an employer. I feel this pressure, and still, I am called to support my team in this way. I’ve seen first hand how inspiring and motivating my team beyond their day-to-day job responsibilities fully empowers them to do great work and live life to its fullest. It also builds trust between us because they recognize I have their best interest at heart.

Leaders who recognize the true humanity needed to run a business will prevail.

As far as strategies to reconcile the gaps, it’s really simple: talk to people. Ask them questions. Get curious about what they want, need, and how they are currently feeling. Leaders are afraid to ask questions because they don’t want to rock the boat. However, if you lead with your heart, you can never go wrong.

It’s important to point out, it’s not always about solving everyone’s problems. Most of the time, your employees simply want to be heard. Even if it doesn’t result in a massive change, creating a culture that allows sharing can significantly impact your employee’s experience. Also, you’ll probably realize there is something small you can shift to better support them where they are currently.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

Working from home is great because there are certain efficiencies built into the arrangement. No commute, more flexibility, and more time to be productive. But with that comes the responsibility and accountability to know when to stop working and put boundaries between work and home life.

Working from home is here to stay, but there are times when in-person opportunities are needed. Training, collaboration, and simply feeling the energy of another human are reasons to be in person. Flow state work can be done independently at home.

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?

It’s time for companies, the government, and society at large to put policies in place to support working families.

We need to be mindful of the new “mommy track” occurring because of the pandemic. In the last two years, women have disproportionately lost jobs, reduced their work hours, and increased time spent on child care and household responsibilities. This situation puts them at a disadvantage for professional growth or altogether pushes them out of the workforce.

I recently heard a statistic that millennials are 35% of the workforce and 90% of all new parents. Couple that with the return to office uncertainty, disruptions in childcare due to COVID-19, and the stress of becoming a first-time parent, and you’ve got a recipe that doesn’t work with the way we work.

Some truths are coming to light right now about what it means to be a working parent in America. I believe we’ll see a reimagining of paid leave and flexible work policies in the near future.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

People are more invested in meaningful work, and they want more accountability from their organizations, which will lead to more supportive and inclusive work cultures!

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?

At Luxury Living Chicago Realty, we have a three-pronged approach to supporting our team’s health and wellbeing.

It starts with having high-quality medical benefits so employees can get the care they need. We are also getting ready to roll out a mental health and wellness program, Nivati — fully-funded by the company — to help our employees battle burnout, stress, and the fallout from living through a pandemic for the last two years.

An additional way we support health and wellbeing is through learning and development. We emphasize our team’s personal and professional growth and provide training and learning programs to help our team upskill, expand their minds and inspire them.

Then, there is plain old fun. We try to surprise and delight our team by doing things like sending them popcorn on National Popcorn Day, taking breaks during the workday to play Team Building Bingo, or hiring a comedian, tarot card reader, and other entertainment to help them escape and decompress.

We have also added one Mental Health Day per quarter to our paid time off policy in 2022.

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?

There is a saying that “culture eats strategy for breakfast, innovation for lunch and your company for dinner.” In the post-pandemic world of work, it has become abundantly clear: culture is the key to a company’s success in recruitment and retention. You cannot set and forget your work culture because what works today will not work tomorrow.

I am always curious about what my employees and teams need and what they are experiencing. Following this curiosity, we invested and rolled out an employee engagement tool, TINYpulse. TINYpulse anonymously surveys our employees consistently to get constant feedback on how we’re doing and what the team needs. Once we know what to prioritize, we can review and update current policy or culture initiatives.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Women Returning to the Workforce — The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) reported 27 times more men than women joined the labor force in January 2022. This signals men have recovered all of their job losses since the start of the pandemic, while women now make up all labor force leavers since February 2020. Women have had a net job loss of more than 1.8 million since the start of the pandemic. The NWLC estimates it would take nearly ten months of growth at January’s rate for women to recover fully. I have invested my time in mentoring and coaching women during the last two years to help create opportunities for women to remain in, or rejoin, the workforce.
  2. More Robust Paid Family Leave Policies — While this is playing out in Congress right now, I’ve been following the #ShowUsYourLeave campaign on social media. It’s eye-opening to learn the policies in place at large corporations. This new transparency has given me many ideas on what to do within my own company.
  3. Ending Burnout Culture — Employees do not want to work for companies that list “multi-tasker” as a requirement for the role in the job description. It’s time to stop the hustle-hard work environments of the past and help our employees flourish by supporting work/life boundaries.
  4. The Coaching Manager — Coaching has been thought of as a resource for executive-level leaders, but what if every manager coached their direct reports versus managed them? A coaching approach would help companies experience improved communication, better conflict management, and creative solutions to challenges.
  5. Returning to the Office — There were several starts and stops to returning to the physical office in 2021. As COVID cases (optimistically) start to decline this spring, we will likely hear about more companies putting an official date on the calendar. We’ll see how organizations push their employees to come back, offer perks, or enforce mandates.

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?

When you put intentions behind everything you do, you empower yourself and the people around you. My business and spiritual coach, Gina Marotta, taught me a simple mantra: ”I intend. I empower.” I wrote this mantra on a pink sticky note, and it’s on my computer screen as a reminder.

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, or in the US, 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.

Reese Witherspoon! I love what she has done with her Hello Sunshine brand. Reese is changing the world by funding, amplifying, and creating content to uplift and provide opportunities for women. Plus, she does it with her authentic style.

Reese and Hello Sunshine are supporters of the Fair Play Method. I am a trained facilitator for Fair Play, a hands-on strategy for dividing tasks and achieving household harmony. It’s a movement for women to help change cultural norms, create an equitable shift in domestic workload, and unlock potential through a freed-up mental load.

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?

You can connect with me on Instagram (@amygalvin05) and Linkedin (linkedin.com/in/amygalvin05). I also share my thought leadership in my weekly email newsletter (https://dedicated-hustler-9737.ck.page/3190a3e286) and my blog (https://www.amygalvincoaching.com/blog).

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.