… Creativity! Over the past several years, we have watched companies of all shapes and sizes across many industries reinvent how they work and what is needed to adapt and thrive. This gives me great hope that the human spirit of innovation is alive and well!

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 Matt Stoyka.

Matt Stoyka, CEO of NewRocket, has extensive experience in starting, growing, and selling high-performance, award-winning technology companies. With over 20 years of leadership experience, Matt is passionate about injecting innovation, empathy, and collaboration into NewRocket, a ServiceNow Elite Partner that advises and supports clients in designing, implementing, and managing digital workflows to improve employee and customer experiences. Prior to NewRocket, Matt served in leadership roles at technology companies such as RackSpace Technology, RelationEdge and CenterBeam.

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.

Work ethic and mentorship are two of the most valuable experiences that have helped shape me into the leader I am today.

I was raised with an incredible work ethic. From a young age, my parents ensured that I learned the benefits of working hard. It started early with summer jobs and extended throughout high school, on evenings and weekends. There was no job I wasn’t willing to do — mowing lawns, cleaning pools, joining an asphalt crew, working retail. Having a strong work ethic has been a key part of who I am and the leader I have become.

I also learned the value of being a mentor. I’ve had several guides throughout my life that have supported my personal and professional growth. I realized having a mentor accelerates your learning rate and provides invaluable experiences you would otherwise not gain. Mentoring has since become an important part of my life, professionally and personally. I am motivated to help others succeed and credit my success to the people who have supported me along the way.

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?

The ability to work with others, focus and work hard, and communicate effectively will remain critical skills for success in the future workforce.

One change I think will continually evolve over the next 10–15 years is employees’ attitudes to the employee experience. The saying used to go, “love what you do,” but now we often hear employees want to “work to live” rather than “live to work.” Today’s workforce is much more focused on quality of experience in their professional lives than ever before. This change in mindset will continue to shift employers’ focus on employee experience as a key differentiator to attracting and retaining top talent. Additionally, I predict, somewhat boldly, that 15 years from now, most companies will operate in a 4-day work week. I believe a shorter work week will be necessary to accommodate the growing shift in attitude towards work-life balance.

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

Align the priorities of your company with the priorities of your crew. If your business model is in alignment with the people that drive it, your company will have an opportunity to be successful. Alignment alone won’t guarantee longevity, but companies will not achieve their maximum potential without it.

Employee experience should be front and center in your strategy. Dedicate daily time and resources to the employee experience to drive organizational success. The companies that prioritize their employees will differentiate themselves from the competition and establish a positive, lasting culture.

In addition, the business model and strategy must be flexible and adjust based on demand and market changes. Companies that are nimble yet process-focused, data-driven yet intuitive, and creative yet focused will challenge the status quo and constantly reinvent themselves.

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?

Employees will expect total flexibility in their schedules and time investments in any work they do. As a result, companies will be stretched to accommodate the work-from-anywhere-at-anytime culture that has already become more prevalent. Finding the right balance between autonomy and outcome-based success will not be easy. Leaders and managers will be responsible for maintaining balance while also creating a deep sense of trust within teams, which is much easier said than done. There will need to be significant investment in coaching and training through world-class learning and development programs.

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

It already has! Companies everywhere have been forced to embrace the work-from-home model, and for most people, it’s a welcome change. I believe it will continue to evolve and require even more investment from companies if they wish for employees to stay connected and receive the support needed to achieve quality work.

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?

There needs to be more empathy between companies and their employees and more trust between employees and companies. Empathy and trust go hand-in-hand. As leaders demonstrate empathy consistently, employees will, over time, find it easier to trust that their manager has their best interest at heart. Aligning the two is critical to a successful employee/employer relationship. However, empathy is hard to learn though easy to practice; trust is hard to give yet costs nothing. We must work tirelessly to educate leaders on what it means to be truly empathetic while still balancing the demands of running a healthy business.

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

Creativity! Over the past several years, we have watched companies of all shapes and sizes across many industries reinvent how they work and what is needed to adapt and thrive. This gives me great hope that the human spirit of innovation is alive and well!

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?

We need to break down the walls and stigmas still prevalent surrounding mental health issues. Mental health should simply be ‘health’. There is no greater opportunity to show empathy than by respecting an employee’s overall health. We are naturally empathetic to those that have suffered a physical ailment. We need to employ that same natural response to mental wellness. I encourage companies to make this a primary focus and talk openly and often about it. The sooner leaders can normalize having those conversations, the sooner leaders can focus on providing support.

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?

Listen and educate. Listen to your managers, your employees, and your customers. Listen when things are going well and when things are challenging — especially when things are challenging. In parallel, educate yourself on what is happening across your industry, company, and team. I strongly encourage companies to adopt a continuous improvement strategy around people development. Culture is not driven from the top down. It’s built from the bottom up, but it is greatly supported and cherished by the top. Recognizing where culture is founded and how to help strengthen it is very important in creating a positive experience for all.

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

  1. The 4-day work week fascinates me. I am pretty sure my daughters will experience it, which is amazing!
  2. Total flexibility — work on your schedule from wherever. In principle, it sounds amazing, but it will take a lot of communication to make that level of flexibility a reality.
  3. Technology Skills Shortage — technology continues innovating at a torrid pace. Keeping up with that is hard, thus the shortage of properly educated and trained people.
  4. One Shore — the pandemic helped companies realize that the best talent can exist anywhere in the world. Connecting these people will be paramount to a company’s success.
  5. Recognition vs. Rewards — this continues to evolve, and I believe it will change again with greater emphasis on recognition of contribution and value, not just the compensation.

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?

“Persistence is omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge said this, and it always stuck with me. If you want to achieve anything in life, being persistent is the key. Anything worth achieving requires tremendous commitment. There is a second quote I frequently use with my team: “Don’t let a win get to your head or a loss to your heart.” Chuck D/ Public Enemy. I love this lyric because it reminds us that we should stay humble and persistent no matter what happens, highs or lows. It will all work out after that.

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 have been very fortunate to sit down with some of the top business leaders, so I’m going to go with Bono from U2. He’s lived an incredibly interesting life. I think it would be fascinating to learn about his philanthropic activities and his effort toward helping so many others improve their quality of life. Plus, I’m sure he has some awesome stories about creating music!

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?

I’m not very active on social media besides LinkedIn, so that’s probably the best place to find me professionally. I still prefer real connectivity over digital, call me old school.

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