Build a workplace people love. If people want to work for a company, the right employees will stick around, be more inspired, and push the mission forward.

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 Brandi Kurtyka — Co-Founder & CEO, MissionCare Collective.

Brandi Kurtyka is a nationally recognized speaker on the care industry and the direct care workforce. As CEO and Co-Founder of MissionCare Collective, the parent company of myCNAjobs and CoachUp Care, Brandi’s team manages the largest caregiver community in the nation and connects 3M people to work annually while serving 8K healthcare providers. Brandi actively speaks on the latest research, insights, and data impacting the care workforce bringing people and stories together to drive change to help move care from where it is to where it needs to be.

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.

I grew up in a poor, working-class family in a small town. I learned a lot about life by watching my father: He was the hardest working guy at a local factory, but he could never move much beyond minimum wage. I learned the art of hard work from watching my parents hustle to make ends meet.

I also nearly lost my husband suddenly a few years ago to a ventricular tachycardia. Emerging from that frightening moment, both of us felt reinspired to focus on our mission to change the culture of care. It’s easy to get distracted and forget your path. That experience has served as an everyday reminder for both of us, as co-founders, that must stay focused on where we feel called to serve — making care better tomorrow than it is today. We realized that we weren’t done with our work yet and thankfully, my husband survived. Now we are scurrying a little harder towards our calling each day.

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?

The constant of work and scale will continue to center around building strong teams and the facilitation of people working together. What’s different is how people work, upskill, and find fulfillment at work, specifically younger generations.

Post COVID, mental health is being tested and employees seem to look to employers for wellness in a way that wasn’t typical before COVID. It’s a big adjustment for everyone, including myself.

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

Get people connected. The future of corporate work is evolving in real time on an accelerated trajectory. Companies are experiencing labor shortages, major skill gaps, challenges to train remotely, new work environments, supply chain stressors, security threats, inflation, evolving customer demands, and mixed economic signals.

With a new remote or hybrid work environment for many organizations (we’re fully remote), employees need a level of connectivity that simulates what it’s like working in a traditional office environment with a water cooler. And for hourly jobs like those of caregivers and healthcare workers, flexibility and connectedness still need to be at their fingertips.

The reality is, according to a recent Accenture Study, only one in six people feels highly connected to their organization and the people they work for and with. Only one in five people feels comfortable sharing problems or raising conflicts with colleagues. Only one in four report that leaders are responsive to their needs, communicate regularly and feels that team members are treated equally. This means that only a small portion of any team feels like they are getting what they need and connecting on a human level.

To ”future-proof” is to think about how to get your team connected to each other, to the company, and to your company leveraging technology. It’s a growing area of opportunity. In fact, one of brands (CoachUp Care) is designed around this concept of helping healthcare organizations engage and connect to their teams to reduce turnover. It’s wild, but we’re seeing a reduction of 400–600% in turnover and the central theme is simple — connectedness.

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 predict that a huge gap will occur in alignment around an employee’s expectation of an employer’s role in mental health and wellness and what an employer thinks they should provide.

Some think companies should no longer compartmentalize mental health as an individual’s responsibility while others think mental health should remain an individual responsibility.

Regardless of where an executive’s personal philosophy resides, the future of workplace will include critical conversations on mental health.

In our business, we serve providers that hire millions of direct care workers annually. According to a recent report, caregivers and home health aides are 3x more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression than the average U.S. population. If a caregiver is burnt out, they may not show up to work to deliver care. How companies think they should or shouldn’t address this — and their outcomes — varies wildly.

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

Work will likely never look the same again, especially when it comes to growth and development. After graduating from college, I followed our new Global CEO to the coffee machine each day until he took notice. I sat in meetings with people that were much more senior so I could absorb the content, connections, and strategy. Today, employees in remote work situations must take a greater role in owning their career path and professional development. And because it’s easier to unplug in a remote environment, employees need to find “coffee machine” opportunities to plug in. Employees that are raising their hand and asking to be part of things alongside a real hunger to grow will go farther faster. HR teams are certainly focused on growth paths for remote employees, but it’s harder to stand out unless you take ownership of your career and force your way into circles to learn more. That was just functionally easier to do inside an in-person work culture.

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?

The internet and new virtual behaviors instilled during COVID have shifted the art of building and maintaining professional connections. I never thought it would be easier to connect without face-to-face interaction, but I’ve found you can actually interact in a meaningful way with more people in a typical workday virtually than I ever could in-person. It takes longer to build depth in a relationship over a computer, but with greater reach and access it’s easier to build more connections, faster.

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

Making care a better place tomorrow than it is today. People can work differently, think differently, innovate, and assemble teams that could never have assembled before. I’m bullish on applying that optimism to change the culture of care.

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?

Build a workplace people love.

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

  • Build a workplace people love. If people want to work for a company, the right employees will stick around, be more inspired, and push the mission forward.
  • Rethink hiring requirements. More than ever, companies need teammates that functionally have the knowledge to do a role but are also expert problem solvers that thrive in a changing remote work environment. We’ve never really hired people for specific bullets on a resume, but rather a hunger and passion to be great. In this new world, a person’s
  • Embrace remote work, but make connectedness center stage.
  • Reimagine the gateway to education. Although employee’s need to take a greater hold on their personal development if remote, there’s an opportunity to reimagine what training, upskilling, and education can look like inside an organization.
  • Become world-class at building virtual connections.

What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

I have two from the ultimate book of life lessons — Bible. First, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. This quote helps keep the world in perspective and when in doubt, is a compass for making the right decision.

The second (can’t be a push over after all), is also from the Bible: Be as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.

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.

Ron DeSantis. There’s a lot that could be done to stabilize the healthcare workforce in Florida — my home state — and it would be neat to share those ideas directly.

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?

LinkedIn / Twitter

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