Flexibly in time management. Most employees take pride in completion of assignments; however greater work/life balance is necessary. Trust is paramount!

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 Constance Jackson.

Constance Jackson is a Senior Corporate Compliance Analyst at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s Legal and Compliance Division. An industry career veteran, she also serves as Vice Chair of the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals DE&I initiatives, which is comprised of a wide range of insurance professionals and regulators. Prior to insurance, Constance worked at American Red Cross in a civilian role at Fort Leonard Army Hospital as Assistant Field Director of Social Services. Outside of work, Constance is passionate about her successful event planning pastime, under the CoJack mantra.

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 college education is perhaps one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I was the first one in my family to attend a top ten university. Education was the gift most desired, however was not readily available to many in my community. I am humbled by my journey to pursue every morsel of knowledge that I could absorb. Setting a path for many others to feel empowered that they too could achieve the same.

Secondly: While working in New York, I witnessed a magnitude of diversity, and multi-cultures. I managed a 22-employee operation that resembled the United Nations — Europeans, Middle Easterners, Native Americans, Africans, Island Caribbeans, Latinos. This wonderful exposure was powerful and informative, yielding an enriched perspective on humanity. The experience illustrated how we are more alike than different.

What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now?

The American Dream is changing with each new generation, as it should. The workplace must keep track of how both individuals and families are evolving and how to satisfy their needs and desires. In the next decade, I foresee social media growing at rapid speed with small-to-big companies implementing mandatory online initiatives. The difference, (which is already apparent) will be in how we work to reach our goals. Expect a rise in young entrepreneurs. High tech and corporate America may be forced to compete against an increase in self-employment. Undoubtedly, companies will have to offer broader, enterprising options; set aside flexible hours for women and families to work from home and alternative remote locations. Creativity and less structure will be the day’s agenda. I also predict the work week will be shortened to three-or-four days. Obviously, office environments may change in the years to come, but work will remain a purposeful, vital tool to maintain our livelihoods. People will consistently look for meaningful ways to live out their dreams.

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

Flexibility is crucial. Revise the entire interviewing and hiring process to be less restrictive regarding potential employees with employment gaps; place a higher dollar value on work experience; create a relaxed, comfortable working atmosphere. Lastly, employers have no choice but to actively seek and recruit a diverse, ethic- and gender-rich staff to represent today’s blended society. Worldwide representation also means much more inclusivity and equalities of pay and promotional opportunities. Those previously missing from the room, must be seated at the table.

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?

Reconstruction of the workday is going to undergo a major makeover. The two-year pandemic-induced work from home model revealed a much-overlooked need for work hour flexibility. Studies point to a greater productivity rate across various industries as a result.

Positive change is always good. Hire leadership who are willing and open to a high-level form of management as opposed to micromanaging, aggressive, and do as I say tactics. The hands-on micro manager- aggressor is no longer company-friendly or acceptable behavior. If nothing else, the pandemic has raised the stakes and redefined the quality of life. If organizations don’t learn to adapt to this new, all-encompassing standard; they will struggle to maintain adequate and qualified workers.

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

The work from home phenomenon has forced both young and older workers to take an in-depth look at what’s really important and pursue their goals.

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 strongly believe the current work force is obsolete. Not because of any one episode or event but primarily due to lifestyle changes. If employers fail to make modifications to changing trends, there will unfortunately be a shortage in staff and stability of workflow. The pandemic initiated the new WFH environment. However, I see mature, professionals leaning toward entrepreneurial and consulting interests. Employers must allow greater flexibility, and authority in time management. WFH has proven to be more productive. Employees seek individualization and personal freedoms in their work environment. The days of stamping timecards is over! Employee management needs to be individualized.

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

As a minority and mature adult, I welcome a major positive shift in the work force. My organization AGCS has already created several arenas for staff concerns to be heard, inclusivity and involvement of corporate initiatives and goals are being dwindled down to various employees, rewards and bonuses for creativity and solutions. We have great talent whose skills are recognized and utilized to the fullest. I am extremely excited to see the continued growth of an organization who values their staff.

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?

My organization AGCS is in the forefront of addressing the health and wellbeing of its staff. Large corporations must recognize “burn out” from stress, family matters and societal issues. We offer Wellness Day, Diversity Day, abundant PTOs, major holidays and even a free day to allow for employee distressing. We offer many avenues to address mental wellness, free therapy, discounted health club memberships, motivational classes, and employee outlets to express concerns. Employers must not only provide these strategies, but ensure staff is comfortable taking advantage of these opportunities without the fear of retribution or judgement.

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, Reconfiguration and Reevaluation is unquestionably real in today’s climate. Collectively, employees are rethinking how they prefer to spend their time. The pandemic unleashed a mountain of new and harsh realities. Overnight, work took a backseat to happiness and the importance of family. Employees must be granted greater flexibility, authority in time management. Trust and belief in expertise of innate skills can always be tapped into. Millennials want control of their destiny and employers should applaud this independence as real growth or be prepared to feel the impact of the Great Resignation.

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

1). Working from home, modified office schedules has proven to be productive.

2). Flexibly in time management. Most employees take pride in completion of assignments; however greater work/life balance is necessary. Trust is paramount!

3). Employee development, mentorships and recruitment; diversity in hiring practices. Talent is widespread and comes in a variety of colors and identities. We need to be receptive to change.

4). Improved salary and bonus to remain competitive. Rewarding hard work is encouraging and produces good results.

5). Installing avenues for employee concerns and ideas to be shared provide a sense of care and value. When an employee is appreciated, they feel included and needed.

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

My favorite and most inspiring quote is from the bible: Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. In the face of adversity and difficult decisions, my fear is erased, and I am immediately uplifted by this scripture.

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.

Dr. Dorian S. Boyland, a former Major League Baseball Player and philanthropist, is the CEO of Boyland Enterprises, one of the top-selling car dealerships in the country. Having had the privilege and pleasure of growing up together, I consider Dr. Boyland a brother, best friend, and mentor. To this day, his demeanor is still the kind, down-to-earth person I knew in high school in spite of his wealth and remarkable success. He has invested millions to keep children and teens in school and on track. His infectious humor shines through his radiant smile. History has shown there is knowledge in our past. Dr. Boyland is the finest example. There is so much to learn being in the presence of someone who believes “just being a good person will take you a long way.” Charisma, brainpower, and determination are Dr. Boyland’s attributes. I would love to explore in a private conversation with this dynamic individual.

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 Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/constance-jackson-41039451/

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