Employers will leverage technology to give candidates ways to showcase their skills. Work simulations, projects, case studies are great ways to do just that.

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 Nicky Garcea.

Nicky Garcea is the Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at Cappfinity and an accredited industrial and occupational psychologist. She has over 20 years of experience championing positive psychology through her research, writing, and speaking engagements. Nicky is a pioneer in strengths-based recruiting and a proponent of finding unrepresented talent.

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 Cappfinity with Dr. Alex Linley when I was 27. At the time he was someone I had never worked with, but I believed we could change the world of work. I also got married and had my sons as we were building Cappfinity. Becoming a mom and trying to improve how companies assess and hire talent was and still is a juggling act. It is an experience no one can prepare you for.

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?

Ten to fifteen years from now we will still be focused on DE&I. I have been working in this field for over twenty-five years and we are starting to get traction. I think there will be a greater focus on the subtleties around DE&I. There will be a greater emphasis on intersectionality — understanding that people are more than just the association that they might have with one group, gender, or ethnicity… that there are multiple aspects to their identities.

Also, artificial intelligence and the ethics in using it to make hiring decisions… AI in HR tech has gained traction in recent years, and it will be a large feature of our workplace landscapes for the years to come. Regulations, guidelines, and or outright employment laws are also on the horizon.

Finally, sustainability will certainly be a big component in the workplace of the next 10–15 years. Generation Z is joining the workforce which will push leaders to increase their focus on sustainable practices.

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

Determine the role of automation and what it could mean for your business. From there, strategically automate repetitive tasks and reallocate employees to high priority business needs. For example, for a recruiter this might mean automating screening so that the recruiter can personalize or increase candidate communications. This might also mean more time to improve internal business partnerships or prioritizing DEI hiring initiatives.

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?

The global pandemic provided space and time for workers to assess their lives and careers. Many began to ponder whether they wanted “to work to live or live to work”. Everyday people are choosing the latter. As a result, employers and managers specifically are going to have to offer holistic and flexible arrangements to keep employees. Industries known for long hours or high stress environments may struggle to hire Gen Z talent if they are unwilling to evolve.

However, organizations can take proactive steps such as:

  • Right sizing jobs so extra work isn’t required to complete tasks or projects.
  • Determining where new and or agile working practices could be deployed. For example, I recently heard about agile working on a construction site with teams working in sprints. If the construction industry can pivot and implement agile practices, then others can as well.
  • Leveraging automation to reduce repetitive tasks so that workers can up be assigned to high priority projects.
  • Exploring job rotations work so that workers can be exposed to opportunities within the organization.

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

  • Agile more flexible working practices will be part of every business and role.
  • Technology implementation will be quicker.
  • Collaborative working practices with team members in multiple locations will be perfected. Near in the future, we won’t need to make the distinction between traditional, hybrid, or remote 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?

Companies need to think about talent in a different, more enlightened way. For example, many workers had to leave the workforce due to childcare or eldercare responsibilities. This can be fixed via policy changes and support which will help companies retain talent.

Additionally, hiring managers need to evolve their definition of talent as well. For too long we’ve taken a narrow view which likely influenced the Great Resignation. So many workers left jobs because there were little to no opportunities as internal candidates. In other instances, many candidates were completely left out of recruitment processes due to outdated definitions of talent.

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

My greatest source of optimism has come from well-being and mental health training for line managers. Knowing how to support direct reports is so important to fostering a thriving workplace and positive company culture.

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?

Employers are now openly addressing mental health and well-being, so there is awareness which is a good first step. Signs of progress around mental health and wellbeing include:

  1. Support from the C-suite.
  2. People/talent strategy that includes well-being and mental health.
  3. Well-being being measured alongside employee engagement.

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?

Late last year, we commissioned YouGov to survey job seekers in the U.S. as these headlines gained steam. We wanted to gain a better understanding of what candidates are facing. The findings from Cappfinity’s 2022 Candidate Experience Survey suggest we are entering a new era of work and hiring. This seems to be particularly true when it comes to company culture; 80% said it was important to understand a company’s culture before they would accept an offer.

Transparency and authentic communications are the foundation for strong company culture for existing employees. Both are critical guideposts for candidates considering an organization and whether to join or remain in their recruitment process.

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

  • Holistic policy along with flexible work arrangements are key to the Future of Work. Employers will figure out ways to incorporate work arrangements that meet business AND employee needs.
  • In the Future of Work, the interview process will evolve and provide a window into an organization’s culture. Early insight into company culture may mean that some candidates will continue in the process or completely opt out.
  • Organizations will evolve their talent acquisition processes. They will move beyond pre-pandemic hiring criteria such target schools or heavy reliance on experience.
  • Employers will leverage technology to give candidates ways to showcase their skills. Work simulations, projects, case studies are great ways to do just that.
  • A cadence for upskilling will become the norm as business objectives continue to evolve and innovations take shape.

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?

Cappfinity’s whole philosophy is focusing on Strengths and that you can achieve your greatest potential when you put your strengths to-work.

My son, Jake, and I recently read a book together by the Manchester United soccer star Marcus Rashford. The book was written to inspire kids to be themselves. Marcus is 24 and has faced adversity. There are two quotes from him that encapsulate much of what I believe in life and hope future generations will continue to believe:

You can only ever be you in this life, so why don’t you be the best version of you that you can be?

Big things rarely happen overnight, and good things rarely happen by magic.

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 would love to have lunch with Amanda Gorman… to learn from her, to understand how she crafts her poetry and prepares for her speeches… and to hear her thoughts on how we can build a better future.

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: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickygarcea/?originalSubdomain=uk

Future Strong LinkedIn Live Series: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cappfinity/posts/?feedView=all

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickyGarcea

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4LZ6FY3FJcL4NnXnLocTew

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