Managers’ & leaders’ compensation will be connected to increased & sustainable employee engagement.

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 Paul Glover

Paul is the No B.S. Workforce Development Coach, a “recovering trial lawyer”, the author of WorkQuake™: Making the Seismic Shift to a Knowledge Economy, a speaker on business and leadership topics, and a Member of the Forbes Coaching Council.

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.

The two life experiences that most shaped who I am as a coach and human being are:

  1. The 20 years I practiced law as a Federal Court trial lawyer. Representing my clients in front of juries, required me to become an expert at understanding human nature and helped me develop the critical thinking/emotional intelligence approach I use in my coaching program to assist leaders in building their legacy.
  2. The five-and-on- half years I spent in federal prison for committing white collar crimes. This opportunity to reflect on who I was, to do the hard work of transforming myself into a different person and overcoming the self-inflicted damage I had done to myself and my family resulted in my becoming a better person, committed to continually improving myself and those persons I interact with.

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?

Those who are hoping the work environment will return to what it was prior to the pandemic will be greatly disappointed. The flaws in the command & control industrial mindset method of getting work done have been exposed for the disaster they are. Two-thirds of employees are not engaged at work because they have recognized the transactional relationship they have been in with their employers — pay for time spent — is no longer acceptable. They are demanding, and will get, a relationship with their employers that recognizes their value as a primary stakeholder in the enterprise and gives them more control over how work will be performed. This will result in the dismantling of the stifling bureaucracy that constraints innovation and performance and the elimination of the managerial role. Empowered self-directed/autonomous teams, with the flexibility to meet the needs of the team member personal well-being while meeting the organization’s need for performance and profitability will be how most work is performed.

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

Do not delay starting the process of assisting managers in developing the power skills (i.e: persuasive storytelling; empathetic listening; emotional intelligence) necessary for them to transition from being overseers of the workforce to coaches, mentors, facilitators and mediators for their team members.

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?

Employers continue to believe increasing compensation and giving more workplace perks will attract and retain talent. This erroneous belief continues to support transaction-based interactions with employees that employees have shown, by their willingness to quit during The Great Resignation, is no longer acceptable. Employers need to rethink the work environment by understanding the future of their organization is dependent upon accepting their employees are their most important stakeholders, who need to be treated as partners and not as a resource. Only by creating and supporting a relationship-based work environment will organizations be able to attract, and retain, the talent the organization needs.

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

Two-thirds of knowledge workers now know they can perform their work remotely. Half of those employees want to continue to work from home under a hybrid model (i.e. 3 days at home, 2 days in the office). Since flexibility in where work gets done is the primary non-financial benefit employees want to see maintained or increased (i.e. distributed work/Work From Anywhere), and 30% of knowledge workers indicate they will quit if this flexibility is not provided, the Industrial Era mindset of having everyone work from a centralized location will cease to be where/how work is performed.

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?

Shareholder capitalism will become Stakeholder capitalism. This means the needs and well-being of the work force will be given the same consideration as those who provide the capital (i.e. owners; shareholders) and who manage the business. This will require organizations consider each employee as a whole person, and to recognize they have a life, family and community outside work. To fully engage employees, and receive the huge benefit of the discretionary effort that comes with an engaged workforce, organizations must reach out and interaction with those non-work areas of an employee’s life.

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

The pandemic revealed there is a better way to perform work. This realization is the catalyst that will transform how and where work is performed. It also provides the opportunity to create a partnership between an organization and its workforce that will give meaning and satisfaction to employees, while generating increased innovation, productivity and profits for the organization.

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?

In its engagement survey, Gallup asks employees if they feel their organization cares about their personal well-being. Only 35% strongly believe their company cares about them, while more than 60% say it’s important for their company to share in caring for their families and communities.

Pre-pandemic most companies avoided involvement in an employee’s nonwork related issues. But the pandemic blurred the boundaries between professional and personal issues. One of the post pandemic after effects is employees now want their companies to understand their professional/work lives and personal/outside work lives are intertwined to the extent companies have to include certain components — i.e. family and community- of the employee’s personal life to create a new definition of well-being that supports the whole employee, not just the worker, employee well-being.

To respond to this new approach to employee well-being, and create stronger relationships with their employees, resulting in greater employee engagement, companies need to accept that “one size does not fit all” employees. This means communicating effectively with employees as individual, so there is an accurate understanding of what the employee and their family, and their community, really need. Then assigning the resources and time necessary to work with employees to address those needs — i.e. family financial planning, family health education, support for community activities.

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?

The message they need to hear is “Employees are mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore.” Company cultures need to stop treating employees as an expendable resource and start creating a work environment to support sustainable employees. This requires a complete revamping of the organization’s mindset based on the realization no one but The Working Dead wants to be managed anymore. To create a sustainable workforce, committed to the success of the organizations requires command and control management and replace it with coaching and developing the workforce.

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

  1. Automation & Artificial Intelligence will replace 70% of a manager’s duties.

Managers currently spend nearly 70% of their time doing repeatable “hard tasks”- filling in forms, updating information, approving workflows, managing tasks and time. Gartner, Inc. predicts, by 2024, artificial intelligence and automation will be able to do most or all of the hard tasks currently performed by managers. This will eliminate the traditional command and control managerial role and replace it with a redefined leadership role, focused on supporting and developing Team Members through coaching and mentoring, which requires using soft skills like empathy, judgment, curiosity, humor. Hilton is already using AI in its recruiting process and are expanding its use to giving Team Members feedback and performance reviews.

2. Work will be done by Autonomous and Self-Managed Teams.

The Great Resignation reveals that 63% of employees greatly value autonomy, being empowered and trusted to be the primary decision-maker of where and when they do their work with little supervision. Autonomy is also an essential element of intrinsic motivation, which creates increased employee engagement, performance and well-being.

Companies can increase employee autonomy by creating, and supporting, autonomous and self-managed work teams, which can be 21% more profitable than traditionally managed work teams. Autonomous and self-managed teams also provide the radical flexibility, where and when Team Members do their work, necessary to creates more employee engagement, raise the number of high-performing employees by 40%, and generate more profit for the organization.

Companies that have self-managed teams designed to boost productivity, offer flexibility, attract talent, and foster creativity include Zappos, Google, Facebook and the pharmaceutical company Novartis. These self-managed teams are accountable for hitting their goals and use radical flexibility to allow Team Members to engage in asynchronous work by choosing their own work week and work hours (i.e. 4 Day Workweek; varied work hours) and work locations (i.e. Work From Home; Hybrid Work; Work In the Company’s Offices; Work From Any Location).

3. Managers will be replaced by Subject Matter Experts: coaches, mentors, mediators and facilitators.

The pandemic has revealed the terrible state of management in most companies. According to Gallup, leadership fails to select a manager who can lead a high-performance team 82% of the time. Even worse, these unqualified managers are responsible for culture, retention, and employee performance, but don’t receive the training and development necessary to have the skill sets necessary to interact successfully with their Information Age employees. This bizarre process of choosing the wrong people to be managers, then refusing to train them on how to do their jobs, creates managers who are as disengaged as the employees they manage! A Gallup survey found only 35% of managers are engaged, 51% are not engaged (caring little about their job and company) and 14% are actively disengaged. This is nearly the same level of disengagement as the employees they manage.

This situation will only get worse as distributed and hybrid work becomes the norm for 40% of the workforce which requires manager to have the “soft tasks” — empathy, judgment, curiosity, humor — necessary to be a coach, mentor, mediator, facilitator and trainer to meet the needs of the Information Age employees

But rather than expect managers to be really good at five or more really difficult skill sets, a much better approach is to replace managers with autonomous — self-managed teams. Once there is no need to have teams managed, the ex-managers, who qualify, will, through extensive training and development, become subject matter experts. Each subject matter expert will fill a specific role (i.e. coach or mentor or mediator or facilitator or trainer) to provide the Teams and individual Team Members with the assistance, information, support and training they need to do their jobs and develop into more engaged employees. As a specific need for a subject matter expert arises (i.e. facilitating a dispute between Team Members or between Teams), the Team or Team Member requests the subject matter expert with the expertise in that area (i.e. facilitator) assist the Team Members or Teams in resolving the issue. This process quickly resolves issues and ensures Team Member are receiving the attention, training and development they need to become and remain a high performing individual and Team Member

A company experimenting with a similar process is the Goodway Group, a fully remote company. Recognizing the importance of fostering strong team dynamics to deliver an exceptional employee experience, Goodway created a dedicated role, the Team Success Partner. Managers work with Team Success Partners to respond to the unique challenges distributed employees are facing, such as fostering trust and psychological safety, supporting team health and supporting new team member assimilation.

4. Managers’ & leaders’ compensation will be connected to increased & sustainable employee engagement.

More than ever, because employee engagement directly reflects how employees view the company’s culture, their work environment, meaningful work, empathetic management and opportunities for growth, it has become a business imperative for leaders at all levels, to the extent Companies, realizing there is a direct link between employee engagement — an emotional commitment to the success of the organization — and the organization’s success, spend in excess of 100 billion dollars a year to increase employee engagement,

However, this huge investment to improve employee engagement has little return on the investment. Gallup’s engagement surveys show, over the last 20 years there has been little improvement in employee engagement. In 2021, only 39% of employees were “engaged”, 14% were “actively disengaged” (spreading toxicity to co-workers), and 53% were not engaged (doing just enough work to avoid getting terminated).

Gallup engagement surveys also show that 70% of employee engagement is determined by the relationship between the employee and their direct manager. Since managers and leaders have this much impact on employee engagement, they must be held accountable for the level of engagement for the employees they manage and lead.

Since employee engagement has a direct impact on employee performance and retention managers must view increasing the engagement of their teams as one of their primary responsibilities. Tying a portion of team leaders’ compensation to or providing a bonus based their team members’ engagement is the most direct way to send a powerful signal of the importance of employee engagement and the obligation of the manager to do everything feasible to increase the level of employee engagement.

An example of a company exploring how to link compensation — salaries and bonuses — paid to managers and leaders for something other than productivity is Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer, which wants to increase the commitment of managers and leaders by connecting compensation to meeting its 2040 net-zero emissions goal.

5. Companies will treat employees as stakeholders.

In 2019, recognizing the relationship between those who own and manage the company and those who create and deliver the company’s service and products is frayed and outdated, 181 members of the Business Roundtable, CEOs of America’s largest corporations, redefined the purpose of a corporation from maximizing shareholder return to mean, not only serving the interests of their shareholders, but also delivering value to their other stakeholders, including their employees. These CEOs explained that they were going to Invest in their employees by compensating them fairly, providing important benefits, supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world, fostering diversity and inclusion, and treating all employees with dignity and respect.

While the Roundtable’s position was hailed as an evolution in organizational thinking, The Council of Institutional Investors, representing many of the same corporations as the Business Roundtable, issued a statement rejecting stakeholder capitalism and reinforcing shareholder capitalism as the primary purpose of a corporation.

That employees are participating in this ongoing battle between shareholder capitalism and stakeholder capitalism is evidenced by The Great Resignation. Employees are deciding if their company continues to treat them as replaceable part in the company’s profit-making process, to take their talent and discretionary effort, to a company that will value them in the employment relationship as valuable stakeholders whose input will be heard and whose needs (i.e. pay, benefits, flexibility, safety, inequality) will be met.

The Great Resignation will continue until the bulk of employers accept a new normal in which they see their employees as valued stakeholders — equal and productive partner- in the enterprise.

Netflix and Tesla are examples of companies exploring the concepts of stakeholder capitalism:

Netflix has created a performance-oriented culture of freedom and responsibility that values performance, collaboration and innovation along with its employees’ personal well-being that includes unlimited vacation, no approval needed for expenses and the psychological safety to criticize the company.

Tesla believes it’s everyone’s job to help make the company successful, so each employee needs to act as if they are owners. The company has high expectations for its employees to live up to its standards of excellence. Tesla seeks out smart and motivated people offers employees its full faith and trust, provides them with important responsibilities because it believes people who are given respect and trust will rise up to the challenge and maintain the highest degree of professionalism and holds them accountable for their performance.

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 “Fall down 7 times. Get up 8.” Life is comprised of an equal number of good and bad life events. The ability to, not only survive, but learn from the bad ones allows you to create better good ones. When faced with a set back that knocks you down get up, embrace it, learn from it and move forward with more confidence and resilience.

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.

Elon Musk is the person I most want to sit down and converse with. His future focus on HUGE goals and the energy and attention he devotes to building his legacy are two topics I would like to dive deeper into with him.

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?

[email protected] and are the best ways to get in touch with me and stay current on what topics I am exploring, commenting on and sharing.

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

Thank you Karen for this opportunity to share my insights and opinions with you and your audience.