Our four-person leadership team commits to having 15 minute 1:1’s with each employee twice a year, resulting in each team member having 8 separate touch points that they can count on. These conversations are generally focused on anything except work so we can truly take the time to get to know them, hear them and see them as who they are outside of the business.

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 Charlie Saffro.

Charlie has over 14 years of direct recruiting experience within the Logistics, Transportation and Supply Chain space and started CS Recruiting from the ground up over a decade ago. Today, she leads a team of 40 and manages a multi-million dollar organization. As the President and Founder of CS Recruiting, she focuses on making meaningful connections to empower others to discover their full potential.

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.

My parents raised me to be a worker and I always gravitated towards service-oriented roles where I could hustle my way to success. Over time, I learned the ins and outs of client service through waitressing, babysitting and a handful of roles in the retail world. I believe that much of my success and desire to help others came from the time I spent in the service industry and the valuable lesson I was taught over and over that the “customer is always right.” As a leader, I continue to assume the “customer is always right,” but I’ve also learned that you cannot run a successful business unless you treat your team with respect and have their back when the customer is NOT right. In addition to this, I’ve always been a “connector” and get a thrill out of bringing people together and making relevant introductions. Whether I’m introducing two people for a love connection, helping a friend find a babysitter or bringing two parties together for business purposes, I truly believe there is nothing stronger than the power of a meaningful and timely introduction.

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?

I genuinely believe that remote work is here to stay. It’s expected that there will be 40.7M remote workers by 2026 and people will continue to crave this option and seek these opportunities.

The pandemic shifted mindsets and eventually led to somewhat of a “new normal” working structure across the globe. Many companies (like ours) quickly realized that remote work CAN work and it was up to leadership to implement the right policies and send the right messages to keep their teams engaged and connected. We’ve seen other companies mandate in-office presence and while some essential businesses have an obvious reason to do this, a lot of companies have stuck to their office model out of sheer tradition or possibly….fear.

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

Focus on retaining your current team instead of always chasing recruiting new people. In successful companies, the leaders genuinely care and employees feel fulfilled and happy. It is essential that leaders are involved and focused on hiring and promoting people who can form positive, trusting, interpersonal relationships with people who report to them.

Focus and invest in creating a learning culture in your company. When people know that they will be able to use their knowledge, this actually drives them even more to extend their skills.

Empowered and informed employees will always result in happy and loyal customers.

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

If you’ve already made the transition to remote work, or this is something on your radar, it’s important to know that it IS possible and the evidence will continue to build as companies take this leap and maintain growth and profitability. Anything is possible if you set expectations, have the right leadership mentality and trust your team.

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?

I am ALL about productivity and running a business, but where I’m going with this is that we must always remember that we are people working with people. As human beings, we have psychological needs to connect with others. There is no question that the better you get to know your peers, the more desire there is to work together, and to win together.

When you have an engaged workforce that truly cares about each other, it becomes natural for them to be energized, passionate and aligned with their work. When a company focuses on creating a meaningful place to work, it allows team members at every level to nurture a strong company culture.

Many leaders don’t realize that company culture can be the biggest competitive advantage and the leading edge that one organization has over another. If you have a strong culture and team that believes in the purpose and vision of your company, you are always going to come out above a competitor who doesn’t prioritize their people.

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

Over the last several months, I’ve had many conversations around the virtual vs. office set up and I’ve been caught a bit off guard when people have challenged our decision. I’ve heard comments like “there’s no way that will work long term” or “how do you know your colleagues aren’t just sitting on their couches watching Netflix all day?” The answer is simple and goes back to the connection we establish with every member of our team on day one. We TRUST them. We set our team up for success and recognize the value of flexibility.

I believe that the future will bring more organizations that are focused on human leadership and that starts with trust and acknowledgement that the people on your team are capable if they are trusted and provided with the right support.

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?

Company policies to ban after hour emails: We ALL need to disconnect from work and you can’t expect an employee to feel comfortable disconnecting if internal emails continue to roll in at all hours. So do yourself and your team a favor. Before you send that after-hours email, think twice about the effect it might have on someone else.

Encourage employees to take small breaks throughout the day: I have a 20 minute “UNPLUG” time scheduled every day and these 20 minute blocks on my calendar are sometimes the most important part of my day. Sometimes I take a walk, sometimes I meditate, sometimes I empty the damn dishwasher, but it always results in a clear head when I sit back down.
At our company, we recognize the importance of mental health and while this is a very small way to contribute, it is one thing that can be easy managed by all.

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?

“The Great Resignation” could be your “Great Opportunity”. For every business leader I spoke with this year, no conversation was more popular than The Great Resignation. After a monster of a year in 2020, people were burnt out and didn’t want to put up with companies who offered them no support and just saw them as another cog in the machine. Crazy stuff, I know.

But while everyone’s talking about how bad this is for business, no one’s talking about what an incredible opportunity this is for candidates. Whether you’re an active or passive job seeker, right now is the time to take stock in your skills and worth. Take a hard look at yourself, your accomplishments, and all you would bring to a company and look for companies that can match that. New year, new you, right? You are your own best advocate so take the time to make this “Great Resignation” your “Great Opportunity” to find the perfect job and employer.

And business leaders: I’ve recently heard that people are now referring to the “Great Resignation” as the “Great Reshuffle.” What does that mean? Simple. Candidates are indeed leaving companies, but they’re not leaving the workforce. They’re going to companies where they feel more valued and appreciated.

So, my suggestion to you is to make your business a place where people actually want to work. As we move further into this year, I anticipate that candidates will continue to have the upper hand because they know they have options for their career.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. More Acknowledgement and Appreciation from Employers

Why: When you create a culture of appreciation, you celebrate each other and you set a standard which allows people to be who they are and it allows them to be in a place to do their best work

How we do it: Our four-person leadership team commits to having 15 minute 1:1’s with each employee twice a year, resulting in each team member having 8 separate touch points that they can count on. These conversations are generally focused on anything except work so we can truly take the time to get to know them, hear them and see them as who they are outside of the business.

2. More virtual and WFH opportunities.

Why: What we’re seeing and what a lot of research has shown is that people trust their companies, their employers, almost more now than they’ve ever trusted.

By removing the commute, our team has more time in their day and we’ve been able to offer more flexibility around working hours. There is no doubt that our team feels trusted. By allowing everyone to work from home, we offer them creative freedom to work independently and that is something that cannot be quantified.

How we do it: Our four-person leadership team commits to having 15 minute 1:1’s with each employee twice a year, resulting in each team member having 8 separate touch points that they can count on. These conversations are generally focused on anything except work so we can truly take the time to get to know them, hear them and see them as who they are outside of the business.

3. More Learning & Development Opportunities

Why: According to a LinkedIn survey, 90% of professionals say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their education and growth. There is no doubt that learning & development is tied to retention, and it can also be used as a tactic for talent acquisition. Many companies have not adopted this idea, nor have they put a budget around individual learning so companies that do offer it can use this as a competitive advantage for securing new hires.

How we do it: We’ve had an internal Continuous Training program in place for several years. Our 15 Module program was designed by our team to provide the team with ongoing training and education. These modules cover a variety of topics and cover everything from negotiation training to building your brand on LinkedIn. Over the past year, we have also allocated a budget for external training programs, and we’re excited to say it’s been a hit! We have offered our team hand-picked hour long workshops and full day events hosted by third parties like Simon Sinek and Kristen Hadeed. In addition to these interactive learning opportunities, we are constantly on the lookout for relevant webinars and online courses and encourage everyone to take time out of their week to be curious.

4. More focus on Employee Engagement

Why: There is no question that when you have a team that feels more like a family, people are comfortable expressing themselves. The ability to be authentic at your job leads to incredible work, and that output is what makes a company successful.

How we do it: Earlier this year, we implemented an Employee Engagement platform called Emplify. This software provides our team with a platform to voice feedback to leadership through quarterly, confidential surveys.

Each quarter, our team is prompted to complete a 6-minute survey that measures the drivers of engagement with a focus on Role Clarity, Purpose, Goal Support and Utilization. Once the surveys are complete, our leadership team meets with a consultant from Emplify who walks us through the findings, key insights, and predictive outcomes. They also provide us with actionable ideas to implement in the areas where there is an opportunity for improvement.

5. More Individual attention from management and leadership

Why: According to the Harvard Business Review, 1:1 meetings are an invaluable tool for managers and regular check-ins between management and their team members is becoming increasingly more important. The findings were obvious and confirmed that people do perform better when they have consistent connection points with their direct reports. Ironically, it doesn’t matter what is being discussed (work, personal, etc.), but more so the frequency of these conversations on the calendar and commitment to having these conversations on the regular.

Companies that believe in investing this time with our team members and know that by talking and interacting with them, are creating a safe and accepting environment for employees to be themselves and truly thrive.

How we do it: Our four-person leadership team commits to having 15 minute 1:1’s with each employee twice a year, resulting in each team member having 8 separate touch points that they can count on. These conversations are generally focused on anything except work so we can truly take the time to get to know them, hear them and see them as who they are outside of the business.

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?

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer

This quote has made me realize that everything is about perspective. We live our lives judging ourselves and others and when you stop to take a breath and realize that you can control your mind, the way you look at things changes. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Give people the benefit of the doubt. You have no idea what they’ve experienced so try changing your perspective and then see how you feel.

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.

I can’t get enough Simon Sinek, Brene Brown or Adam Grant in my life. These three individuals continue to inspire me and push me to think outside the boundaries. These three have taught me more about human leadership and the importance of putting your people first. I am a book and podcast nerd and love to consume content that inspires me to push the limit and understand my purpose and the influence I can make on others.

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?

Find me on Linkedin!

Charlie Saffro

[email protected]



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