Young people are capable of incredible things and shouldn’t waste time climbing the corporate ladder. You don’t need to be a seasoned entrepreneur to raise venture funding anymore. Young founders are becoming more of a norm. I think we’ll see more young people foregoing traditional paths of college and joining large companies to do something of their own.
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 Kelsey Bishop.
Kelsey is the CEO and Founder of Candor, the first authentic professional network focused on showing how someone works, not just their title. Kelsey started Candor as a solo-founder in May 2021 and after realizing through her own experience how important culture fit is for employees joining startups. Previously, Kelsey led teams in growth, partnerships, and operations for early stage startups.
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 started my career working for a dream team — one that pushed each other to be better and where the startup grind felt motivating and a ton of fun. After that, I worked for a team where that wasn’t the case and I didn’t find the same culture fit. It was a difficult experience that was exasperated by working remotely. When I shared my story with others, I realized it wasn’t just a me problem. So many talented people in tech struggle in their roles because they aren’t happy on their team. On the flip side, so many managers struggle to really know their team — ice breakers don’t cut it when it comes to building relationships with your teammates. It just feels wrong — how can some of the highest paid, sought-after talent be unhappy and unfulfilled in their work relationships?
Work can and should be a happy place and in fact, we spend way too much time (especially in startup days!) for it not to be. Employers are feeling the consequences when this isn’t the case, as employee resignation rates are at an all time high. It feels wrong that joining “the right team” is a gamble today and that all the hiring software is made for employers, not for employees. I wanted to take a swing at changing that by helping employees both understand themselves and their teammates better.
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?
In 10–15 years, I can see the workplace still being a hybrid between in person work and remote work. While remote work has become more prevalent, I’ve found that in person work is still necessary as a compliment to make sure that employees can get to know each other and really connect.
I think one thing we’ll see much less of in the future is people working in jobs they don’t love. The Great Resignation, rise of remote working, and creator economy boom have empowered millennial and Gen Z tech workers to rebel against traditional notions of ‘professionalism’. They no longer see flexibility, culture fit and belonging as ‘nice to haves’ and they aren’t settling for the traditional hiring process (a gamble weighted in favor of employers).
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
Be intentional about culture building. It’s something you can’t undo once you have it and it’ll directly impact the types of employees you can attract. The first part of being intentional about your culture is really knowing yourself as a leader and knowing your teammates. Once you have an understanding of the values your leadership team brings to the table, you’ll be able to articulate what makes your culture unique to prospective candidates and bring on employees who will thrive on your teams.
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 think the biggest gap is transparency around culture, including work styles of hiring managers and teammates. Employees want to be able to understand their teammates and find a team whose culture matches their own preferences. Today, employers hide behind vague “values” pages that don’t get into the nitty gritty of how teams really work together.
Companies should have honest conversations about the working norms when it comes to communication, motivations, etc. and be able to clearly articulate that to employees. There are several tactics to do this — coaching, team offsites, or creating Candor profiles. Not only will culture alignment help employees understand your culture, but it’ll also help you attract the right employees for your team.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
Remote work is here to stay. I think people should live where it makes them happy and we’ve seen that productivity and team collaboration can be done online. I also think that trust in relationships is better built in person, where you can read body language and have conversations outside of scheduled work meetings. While working from home is here to stay, I believe the future will be a hybrid model where we get to know our teammates in person occasionally.
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 normalizing therapy and coaching is a major piece of the puzzle. Employees need access to resources to help them develop personally in order to develop professionally. If we want people to be able to be their best self at work, we also should normalize getting help on their growth journey.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
I am so excited about how Gen Z will change how we view work. I think the next generation isn’t going to adopt the mentality of “climbing the ladder” and working in roles that you’re unhappy in just because that’s what you’re “supposed to do.” From what I’ve seen, the next generation is going to push the envelope when it comes to what normal means for working hours, jobs, and work in general.
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?
One really interesting framework I’ve been reading about is Teal Organizations. Frederic LaLoux’s Reinventing Organizations explores the concept of self management. It hinges on the idea that employees are smart and intrinsically motivated to do their best work. Traditional forms of management actually inhibit employee’s ability to be autonomous and creative, making us feel stuck at work.
I think that as more organizations move away from the stringent forms of management and towards a more trusting and autonomous model, employees will feel more ownership over their work, leading to better work-life harmony and overall wellbeing.
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?
I think the most important lesson is that employees aren’t settling anymore. Talent is demanding more from employers, but not necessarily more money. People want more meaning in their work and they’re willing to leave high paying roles and cushy benefits to find a place where they feel belonging — both with their team and the mission they’re working towards.
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.)
- Gen Z won’t take the entry level jobs that we did. The next generation views work differently and more creatively. Jobs aren’t necessarily confined to offices and in this age, you can work from anywhere. Gen Z sees this with a clear lens and won’t settle for roles that don’t fulfill them just to work their way up.
- Happiness at work isn’t just a “nice to have” anymore. The Great Resignation showed us that people aren’t afraid to leave unhappy work environments. It’s no longer OK for employers to just pay well but treat people badly.
- Work life harmony is the new work life balance. In the age of remote work, making your own hours and schedule feels more attainable for the average employee. In this world, employees can find a harmony that balances what they want to get from life and work. When the 9 to 5 gets blurrier, we can craft our own life schedule that works for us.
- It’s never been easier to start a business. No code tools have become mainstream and you no longer need to be an engineer to create a technology business. As no code drastically reduces the cost of starting a business, I think we’ll see more people taking a shot at being their own boss and making their business ideas come to life.
- Young people are capable of incredible things and shouldn’t waste time climbing the corporate ladder. You don’t need to be a seasoned entrepreneur to raise venture funding anymore. Young founders are becoming more of a norm. I think we’ll see more young people foregoing traditional paths of college and joining large companies to do something of their own.
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?
Your life isn’t a dress rehearsal — act accordingly.
I love this quote — it shapes the way I approach taking risks and the pace I like to operate at. I’m not someone who likes doing something just because others tell me that’s what I should do. I think it’s important to pave your own path and create your own happy place. And do it today 🙂
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.
Reid Hoffman. I’d love to sit down with the pioneer of the first professional network and understand his thoughts about how the future of work will change our online professional presence.
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?
My email is [email protected] — if you sign up for Candor (joincandor.com) you’ll get emails about our progress.
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.