A national childcare system is no longer a dream but must become a reality. Employees cannot work if their children are not being watched in trusting, healthy environments. This instance here featured in a CNN article is an example of this not being sustainable: A California lawmaker on maternity leave brought her newborn to the Assembly after her request to vote by proxy was denied.
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 Rhoda Weisman.
Rhoda Weisman is a Los Angeles-based coach, mentor and skill-builder specializing in organizations dedicated to the social good. As the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Rhoda +Co,, Rhoda is passionately devoted to developing purpose-driven and innovative leaders across the globe, challenging them to be more visionary and effective than they think possible. Rhoda has coached over 5,000 leaders and helped place more than 500 of them into meaningful career positions. She champions organizations to hire, train, retain and leverage their best and most diverse 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.
My father passed away unexpectedly when I was only 24. He was wonderful and I was heartbroken. I learned then that we don’t know what life has in store for us, but we do have the power to follow our passions and strengths and build a life full of joy and meaning. I quit my job and went to graduate school to help shape generations of leaders whose vision and abilities will make our world so much more than how they found it.
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?
I believe what will be the same is humans’ need to build lives of purpose and meaning in every area of their lives, with work being a top driver. Similar to today, but on a bigger scale, people will only choose to work in settings where they can grow, thrive, and have some valuable decision-making power regardless of their position, if they possibly can. And, settings where talking about emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual health is talked about openly and invested in. While I do not know what may be different, here is what I hope will be happening in 10–15 years from now. Like performing community service hours, no student can graduate high school without knowing what their burning passions and strengths are and what areas of work will bring out their best. College applications will ask for this information and help students choose courses of study that will lead to building lifelong career trajectories based on values, skills, and the ability to adapt to a constantly changing world. Graduates are ready and willing to work hard, and every workplace mandates that employees do a minimum of 4 public service hours a month. Those changes will help transform America forever.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
Make human design a structural pillar of your workplace. Create systems where every employee gives feedback on the content and culture of the workplace consistently without fail. Form leadership opportunities for all employees to create teams and opportunities to help review the data, identify the needs, and co-create solutions. Then try them out in the real world and the internal culture, learn from and celebrate the successes and failures, and keep moving toward a compelling vision where every employee’s role matters.
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?
Honestly, the biggest gaps will be those that affect the quality of life and allow employees to have more decision-making power and leadership in the workplace. Quality of life includes when, how, and where people can work to give their best. It also includes being in a workplace where they feel seen, respected, and invested in as authentic individuals. More decision-making power and leadership means a culture that encourages staff to excel and utilize their strengths, talents, and personal power to help guide the company/organization forward, without the fear of retribution for being successful and innovative.
If I have seen anything in 30 years of coaching that is truly upsetting, it is the taking down of outstanding talent in just about every field because of the threat they pose. On a different note, it means profit-sharing, health care as a human right, and new partnerships with NGOs that battle social, racial, and environmental injustice around the globe.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
The biggest and I believe the best influence is that employees are no longer only workers but just beginning to be seen as the whole human beings that we are. This is and will influence everything. Emotional health is becoming as important a need as physical health and employees will not take positions that do not honor their sense of wellness and fulfillment.
This means that health care offerings must change to include emotional health not only of the individual but of the family, as humans live and thrive in interconnected relationships. Work must align with the philosophy of coaching for employees to want to stay and contribute their best. Coaching pulls out the best in an individual, helps them to apply it all to their work and lives, and urges them to keep moving forward and build the future they envision. The workplace must start here to make transformative change.
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?
To build on my thoughts above, a new national service corp must be developed so that all workers ages 16 and above perform mandatory volunteer work through their workplaces for one hour per week or four hours per month. This will forever positively change the relationships between teens and adults and create a new sense of ownership in the communities and societies they live in as well as provide greatly needed service to our citizens, cities, and the environment in need.
National, affordable child care must be created to serve all families. If not, the future of working from home cannot succeed and there is no going back. Children need care and parents who are reworking cannot do both simultaneously any longer. People will not agree to work in an office full-time unless it is mandated, such as hospitals for health care workers, building sites for construction workers, etc.
Technology must continue to progress with a new national mandate that all citizens have access to regular tutorials on how to use technology well in order to succeed in their positions.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
The human spirit, like the natural world, is endowed with a never-ending desire to survive with beauty and grace. Like a tree that bends its entire trunk so that the leaves can soak in the sunlight they need to survive, humans will always adapt to the surroundings the best they can. It is our responsibility, the adults and leaders in society, to provide the direction, room for innovation, resources, and opportunities for us and the world to move forward from the pandemic transformed for the better. I believe this is already happening in wonderful ways. Now we, the leaders in every city, state, and country, need to build new and even stronger alliances, pool resources, and learn to collaborate against all challenges that arise, to create our thriving, interdependent future.
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?
Only the people who are being served can best tell us what they need. Based on this reality, new systems must be developed and current ones adapted to meet and consistently excel in meeting those needs. The proven method for this is the human design model described beautifully by the Stanford School of Design and available free on its website. The human design follows the natural creative rhythm of identifying what is needed from the employees, working to create and reshape models to meet these needs, test them, learn from them, implement them and restart the cycle again. This method must be adopted by employers, health care systems, and providers of wellness and mental health in a new overall system that will connect everyone. Too often, systems and solutions are offered that do not address the challenges the employee is having, and everyone loses. Technology can make this idea a reality somewhat easily, because the technology is there. It is we the people who must change.
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?
People must be seen as human beings who come to work with not only physical but emotional and spiritual needs that need to be honored and addressed with grace and dignity.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
- A national childcare system is no longer a dream but must become a reality. Employees cannot work if their children are not being watched in trusting, healthy environments. This instance here featured in a CNN article is an example of this not being sustainable: A California lawmaker on maternity leave brought her newborn to the Assembly after her request to vote by proxy was denied.
- Americorp 3.0 — a newly revised system for all working teens and adults to provide volunteer service to their communities, the country, and the world. This will change the relationship we have with our cities and countries for the best, forever. My idea would be for the military and Americorp systems to come together to design this new national mandatory service. We can see an example of this in a recent article published by The Hill: Hard times in America renew the call for mandatory national service.
- A new system across the nonprofit, government, and social sectors to work from a human design model moving forward. We can see this example shown at Stanford University.
- Workplaces must lead with the “S” world — spirituality. If we have learned anything over these last 2 years it is that all humans want meaning and purpose in their work lives. They must connect to something larger than only doing the work in front of them. Employers and workplaces must ask the questions of why working with us brings meaning and purpose to your life and how we can work together to help you and our vision and mission thrive. In a recent podcast published by McKinsey & Company, The search for purpose at work, Naina Dhingra and Bill Schaninger talk about their surprising discoveries about the role of work in giving people a sense of purpose.
- The world needs a Sabbath, one day a week. In America, that day used to be Sunday, it is no longer. Most businesses are 24 hours either by design or by people not turning off their technology and working when they need to be resting. Humans must rest their bodies, minds, and souls regularly. We must bring back a day of rest in every area from retail to the tech world and beyond. Humans’ susceptibility to disease of all kinds, physical, emotional, and spiritual greatly increase without a proper lack of rest. Forbes published an article that highlights, “The Benefits Of Resting And How To Unplug In A Busy World,” the challenges of maintaining your health, your job, and other responsibilities amongst uncertainties.
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?
“If you will it, it is no dream.”
- Theodor Herzl
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”
- Martin Luther King
“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you cannot be exactly who you are.”
- Lady Gaga
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.
Kamala Harris for her vision, tenacity, resilience, courage, and love of family.
Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw for their vision of preserving and honoring hundreds of thousands of Holocaust and genocide survivors — providing a love of human dignity that surpasses all reason.
Malala Yousafzai, to learn from her about building just societies that encourage people to both dream and build them together.
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?
Please follow along by subscribing to my blog at https://www.rhodaco.com/feed, and I would love to hear your feedback!
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.