Flexibility: Work is not the only thing on our minds anymore. Flexibility with work schedules will become increasingly important, especially while working remotely. People are valuing family time now more than ever.
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 Rajnish Sinha.
Rajnish joined TaskUs in 2021 and is responsible for leading the company’s human resource function, including recruitment, engagement, and retention of the Company’s employees and preserving the TaskUs culture.
Previously, Rajnish spent eighteen years in a variety of leadership roles with Genpact, a global professional services firm that provides digital-led transformation to Global Fortune 500 companies. He also worked for the HCL Group, and Ernst & Young. Rajnish has earned a BCom( Hons) degree from University of Delhi and an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur in India.
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’ve had the fortune of living in multiple countries, including England, India and the U.S., and visiting more than 25 countries. Traveling allowed me the opportunity to connect with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Connection is important to me. I also went to a boarding school, which taught me the importance of discipline, which has helped me in today’s COVID world. Being away from family and friends reminded me how vital building connections is to me.
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 pandemic has changed the way we work and how workplaces function. There are some jobs that may never return to an office, and some that may offer a hybrid approach of working both virtually and in the office. And it may depend on the preferences of the employer or the employee. However, engagement is still needed, whether in-person or virtual. Younger generations are looking to connect more with each other, and may choose to be in-person rather than talking to their colleagues through a screen.
Employers are increasingly focused on the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Additional benefits will be offered to support employees as we continue to navigate the pandemic, and adjust to the “new normal.” Employers will have more empathy and flexibility when it comes to workforce schedules.
Another difference will be our curriculum; at the onset of the pandemic, there was little to no research about how to manage teams virtually. I recently read a book called “Culture Cord” written in 2020, which focuses on the importance of how to engage one another in person… but a lot of that is all changing. We’ll have to work on these strategies to meet the needs of our workforce today.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
You can never truly predict the future because there is so much unknown and uncertainty. Our world today is much different than it was even a few years ago. Policies have changed, workforce training have changed, and the terms of what employees are looking for have changed. Work is not the only thing on our minds today; mental health and wellbeing has been a top priority for the past two years. It’s important for employers to be more flexible and compassionate with their employees.
My second piece of advice is around creating more authentic work experiences and a community for your employees. They want to know how their work is affecting the environment, how their company is working to become more diverse and inclusive, and the overall impact in today’s society. But there needs to be more communication from the top down; and not just through email. Employers can get creative with how they engage their employees.
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 this will be tougher for larger companies because they’ve grown on the definition of roles for years. For younger and more innovative companies, they will most likely do a better job because they know what their employees want. Overall, there will be some mismatch in what people want and what companies are willing to deliver on, especially when it comes to flexibility: salary, time off, working remotely, to name a few.
Right now, there is a big need for the intersection of work and family. It’s important for employers to learn to respect this, given everything we have gone through the past two years. Balance is key.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
Prior to the pandemic, many organizations didn’t allow their employees to work remotely, or at least work remotely full-time. The pandemic forced this change in the workplace, and for many, it’s here to stay. Employers are finding that for certain jobs, their employees can be just as productive working remotely, as they would be in the office. This may not be always true in the future as employees continue to seek better connections at 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?
The most important change I foresee is that employers will need to adapt and be flexible, especially when it comes to their employees’ work schedules. We need to become more flexible. This can be as simple as advocating more time to spend with family, additional mental health days, and additional benefits.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
I am constantly amazed with how people want to do their best and produce great work. I have two teenagers, and they have strong views on who they want to work for, and what they want to do in the future. I’m most optimistic about our younger generation, who have a sense of purpose.
In addition, I think it’s important to recognize that in order to produce great work, there needs to be a healthy work / life balance. This includes taking time to spend with your family, going for walks during the day to clear your mind, finding new hobbies that satisfy your creative mind.
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?
Mental health and wellbeing has been brought to the forefront for employers. It’s important to have wellness groups so that our clients know we’re focusing on mental health and wellness. I also believe that having a group of professionals focused on mental wellness will be a key to success; not only benefitting the employees in the company, but also setting a good example for others to follow.
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?
We’re seeing a few big shifts here. There is clearly enough opportunity for people in the market, and there’s a lot of demand, even for the basic and entry level positions. The generation before us didn’t have the same opportunities that we have today; often they had one job and retired from there.
Today, people are looking for experiences and a feeling of fulfillment. Is the educated workforce getting the mental satisfaction and experiences they are looking for? It’s important for employers to be sensitive to the fact that employees are looking to experiment with different things. Does the organization have policies and processes to encourage movement? Be mindful that employees are constantly looking for new and exciting opportunities to fulfill their needs.
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.)
- Hybrid workforce: There will continue to be three groups of workers: 1) People who will work in-person; 2) People who will work remotely; and 3) People who will work a hybrid approach, both in-person and remotely. This is the present and future of work.
- Flexibility: Work is not the only thing on our minds anymore. Flexibility with work schedules will become increasingly important, especially while working remotely. People are valuing family time now more than ever.
- Cross-functional roles: With fewer people working in-person, we now have the ability to combine different groups in an organization and collaborate more effectively.
- Move from efficiency to effectiveness: Outcomes will increasingly become the focus versus the amount of time we spend on the work.
- Crowdsourcing / task-based work is on the rise: Combining growing trends in flexibility and a move to outcomes-based goals, there will be a move in companies toward working with external partners to complete tasks.
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?
“Focus on the environment and people come in and make magic happen.”
My goal is to create an environment where people feel safe and connected to share thoughts and enjoy working with colleagues. As a leader, I create the environment where everyone can come to and contribute, and the sum of parts is better than any individual contribution
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.
As an avid sports fan, I would love to have breakfast with Michael Jordan. Basketball is a team sport, made up of talented individuals that come together to win. I’m curious to understand how he became the best of the best individually, and how on a team of other unique superstars with varying skills, they were able to work together so effectively.
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?
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.