Focus on Employee Health: Companies will be able to attract and retain talent in a workplace that focuses on employee health — physical, mental, and social. Healthier employees are happier employees, and happier employees are more engaged in the mission of the organization.

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 Dawn Myers.

Dawn Myers, co-founder of Guided Leadership Solutions provides business coaching, consulting, and HR fundamentals to Law Firms. She is also a public speaker and provides expert witness testimony for employment attorneys. In addition, she teaches Human Resources at San Diego State Global Campus.

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.

At the age of 36, I was diagnosed with dysthymia (life-long depression due to a chemical imbalance). Through therapy I realized that I had been constantly looking for the approval and praise of others, hoping it would fill the void my depression created. That discovery, along with the tools I gained, allowed me to take the leap and find my dream career in Human Resources.

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 will remain for years to come is the demand for a culture that provides care, compliance, clarity, and consistency.

What do you predict will be different?

Mental health will no longer be ignored in the workplace.

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

Employers that find the balance between caring and compliance (CYA Squared — Cover Your Ass & Care for your Associates) will come out ahead. By recognizing their employees as people that want to be seen, heard, cared for, and providing the proper boundaries to protect them and their organization.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward?

I believe the biggest gaps will be with giving employees autonomy. Employers are being forced to increase wages but aren’t naturally willing to let go of control and allow their people to make mistakes.

And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

Leading through relationships rather than authority will be the way to overcome the fear of letting go. Employers must get to know, like, trust their employees and allow them to do the same. This can easily be done through regular 1-to-1 meetings that cover more than the work that needs to be accomplished.

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 requires the “ultimate letting go.” It also provides a challenge for employers in the way they communicate and stay connected with employees that may be across the globe.

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 believe the “typical workweek” will be a thing of the past for many (and it should be). We have seen this in the past with banks being open on Saturday for example.

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

The hard lessons that we have learned from the COVID crisis are going to pay off in relationship to the future of work. We have become more innovative, flexible, and open to change which all support a positive future.

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?

Just recognizing and discussing mental health in the workplace is huge. In the future, I see employers providing supplemental mental health plans (and/or therapy) as well as giving mental health days off for employees to recharge.

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?

These headlines are shouting “it’s time for a change!”

How do company cultures need to evolve?

We evolve by asking our employees what they need. Get them in the conversation and quit trying to make decisions from our Ivory Tower.

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. Hybrid Work: Employees working in the office and remotely — this will allow the employer and employee to “get the best of both worlds”.
  2. Automation: Finding ways automate and implement processes to increase efficiency and productivity .
  3. Focus on Employee Health: Companies will be able to attract and retain talent in a workplace that focuses on employee health — physical, mental, and social. Healthier employees are happier employees, and happier employees are more engaged in the mission of the organization.
  4. Relationship Hiring: Relationship building is not just for networking and selling, it is for hiring as well. Get visible on social media platforms and in industry specific groups. Speak to your ideal hires and illustrate what makes you different than the competition. Although this takes longer and needs to be done on a continual basis, the payoff is far greater than posting an ad.
  5. CYA Squared: (finding the balance between Caring for Your Associates & Covering Your Ass) Employers that create a balance between caring and compliance lower their risk of lawsuits and increase their employee engagement. Employers that swing the pendulum too far to one side or the other open themselves up to risk on either side.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

Clear is kind — Brene Brown.

How has this quote shaped your perspective?

This quote has allowed me to have the courage to speak the truth to those around me. Knowing that by not being clear (about my expectations or my needs), I am not being kind and that changes my whole perspective

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?

I would love to have time with Brene Brown as her research and stories have helped shape me as a leader. He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

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.