…Reinvesting in the work experience — With “work” no longer being a place, many organizations are now redirecting their investment from office rentals to tools and technologies that enhance the work experience and foster team spirit, belongingness, and culture.

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 Eric Tinch.

Eric Tinch, SVP, Human Resources and Global Digital Transformation at Sutherland.

An experienced global transformation leader with over 25 years of experience designing, deploying, and implementing organizational strategy, change management solutions, talent management methodologies, organizational effectiveness programs, cultural renewals, global operations, large-scale transformation programs, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) solutions and succession planning efforts to support company revenue, profitability, growth, and core values.

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?

Life is a transformative journey and many things shaped me into the person I am today.

My upbringing was shaped by my parents, who both grew up on farms and understood the value of hard work. Growing up in such an environment helped shape my appreciation of hard work to achieve a tangible outcome.

In addition, I worked for the CIA for about 10 years early in my career, where survival is all about flawless execution. These early life and career experiences have taught me not to be afraid of tough challenges and to appreciate the value of thorough execution.

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?

Change is indeed the only constant, and the workforce will continue to have to upskill themselves as new business models arise.

While business objectives remain the same, the steps we take in which to achieve them will be vastly different. We can expect to see far more advanced applications of technologies like AI, that will take over repetitive, mundane tasks and redirect employees to higher-level, strategic tasks. This will require employees to be equipped with digital skills. In addition, many organizations are still exploring the ways technology can benefit their business and in the next 10–15 years, we will certainly see use cases that are not in existence currently.

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

Be open to change and new ways of working. A future-proof organization is one is that is anchored in technology and that is not afraid to transform itself digitally and redefine business strategies.

It’s always easier to stick to legacy processes or traditional operations but many organizations are often taken aback by the positive impact of technology. A good starting point is by integrating AI-enabled tools within different aspects of the business to achieve data-driven breakthroughs. The benefits outweigh the costs, as such organizations are able to stay ahead of the competition while leading the charge in both customer and employee loyalty.

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 believe the biggest gap will be a “perceptive” work balance or flexibility. The pandemic helped showcase how working anywhere can be productive and profitable with the right organizational parameters. There are many strategies surrounding recognizing and ultimately reconciling these gaps.

Organizations will have to redefine the meaning of work-life balance, personalize employee engagement, and most importantly, find different and better ways to effectively survey the pulse of employees relative to what’s working well or otherwise.

With a data driven understanding of the employee landscape, organizations must clearly outline an action and time-based plan for addressing the gaps, as supported by clear and concise communications.

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 or working from anywhere (that’s not the office) is here to stay indefinitely. Kitchen tables are our new work desks. Basement setups and make-shift spaces are the new office. Family members are our new day-to-day “watercooler” companions. And while our “co-workers” are still very much our co-workers…they just don’t work right next to us anymore.

Organizations have acknowledged that employees do not need to be confined to a physical space in order to be productive. Employees are now empowered to be untethered — from their daily commute, from their narrowly-defined working hours, from their connectivity issues, and more — so they can work from anywhere with confidence.

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 future of work will require a 180-degree mindset change.

∙ Employers need to develop a culture of connectedness in order to succeed in the new era of work as remote work makes it easy for employees to feel distant and disconnected.

∙ As a first step, employers must prioritize employee engagement and retooling team leaders with new skills for creating a culture of connectedness whether teams are in an office together or working remotely.

∙ This will entail sharpening of managers’ soft skills to enable them to better engage with their team members, as well as emphasizing empathy as a critical leadership skill.

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

∙ I strongly believe the future of work will alleviate some of the pain points employees and employers faced.

∙ For one, it will encourage employees to take greater ownership of their schedules and work-life balance. They are now in charge of how they spend their time, and this flexibility will in turn result in increased productivity and satisfaction.

∙ On the other hand, this also gives employers the ability to attract the best talent around the globe, uninhibited by the traditional “radius bound” limits of where offices are deployed.

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?

∙ A positive outcome here is that employers are increasingly realizing that burnout is an issue that needs to be addressed. As such, many organizations are now offering benefit packages that include mental health offerings, such as access to on-demand mental health providers and teletherapy subscriptions.

∙ The pandemic has also affected everyone in very different ways. In response, organizations are also placing a renewed focus on fostering a sense of community or an open forum for employees to connect with each other and conduct regular check-ins to build better connections.

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?

∙ All these trends — “The Great Resignation”, “The Great Reconfiguration” and “The Great Re-evaluation” are all coalescing, and they all point to one thing in particular — employees want to be prioritized.

∙ From a company culture standpoint, this means that employee engagement needs to be of utmost importance. From recruitment practices all the way to training and development, employees want to feel indispensable and valued.

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

Hybrid work models — We’ve seen this for a while now as offices reopen but the choice of where employees want to work will be fully up to them

Reinvesting in the work experience — With “work” no longer being a place, many organizations are now redirecting their investment from office rentals to tools and technologies that enhance the work experience and foster team spirit, belongingness, and culture.

Digitization of the workforce — If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that relying on technology is not a bad thing. In fact, organizations that have undergone digital transformation were able to navigate and transition their operations more smoothly over the past two years and we’ll see more companies follow suit.

Your employees are your biggest asset — As I had mentioned earlier, organizations need to cultivate a sense of community and prioritize the needs of their employees in order to succeed as they make or break the company.

Greater focus on skills — Organizations are moving away from the traditional confines of requiring candidates to have higher-level education. Instead, many will focus on hiring candidates who possess the skills required to drive the organization’s competitive advantage.

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?

  • My favorite life lesson quote is attributed to John F. Kennedy: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
  • This quote brings so much clarity to all things, especially when one has chosen organizational transformation as a career choice. It also highlights the absolutely importance of purpose.

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.

Indra Nooyi is a person I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with. She embodies everything that I stand for, both personally and professionally. I’m most amazed with her early life in the US (as a minority woman) and ultimately rising through the ranks of corporate America to become CEO of PepsiCo through hard work, sacrifice, focus, stamina and an undying focus on flawless execution.

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?

The best way to connect with me is via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-tinch-1648965/

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