The continuation to move towards smaller companies and startups for flexibility. With more and more gig workers entering the workforce, we are slowly becoming our own individual businesses, and I think that larger corporations will need to find ways to support this through their workforce design and offerings. Workers are more in control than they have ever been, and they hold their employers to higher standards while expecting more in return for the hours they put in.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Rob Savette.

Rob brings 20 years of experience in managing and growing companies. As an experienced enterprise executive with a consistent closing record in large enterprise accounts, he has also done work with growing startups to scale.

He is passionate about family, sports, and wellness and believes that we are living in one of the most exciting times in human history. His latest startup, Almas Insight, offers companies a cutting-edge approach to integrating objective, human-driven data into managing their workforce — helping the work world leverage technology to support their greatest asset — their people.

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.

On a personal level — having children. Becoming a father shaped me as a person and drastically pivoted my worldview. All the sudden, I went from a unit of one or two to a part of humanity, a part of society with something in common with billions of other people — and I felt ta brand new connection as soon as I had my first kid. This also made me realize I needed to become a role model, and so I started to manage myself differently and thought about how I projected myself in all aspects of my life.

On a professional level, leading my first start-up in AI. I started in a huge software company and the company ended up acquiring a small AI company, and because it wasn’t going well for the corporation, they dispatched me to go in and “save” it. When I got the view of what it meant to be a part of a small company, it changed my view of what business could be. I have spent plenty of time and have fortunately had plenty of success at the corporate level — but this exposure to smaller business showed me that workers weren’t just a cog in the machine, but rather a community who looked out for one another and worked as a team. This drastically shifted how I viewed my place in the professional world.

Personal and Professional coincided and made me think about things in whole new ways, which then shaped my trajectory. I found that from there on out, being purpose-driven meant being more outwardly focused rather than self-focused — and I try to carry this throughout all aspects of my life.

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?

This is a hard question, because look at how much work has changed in just the last five years. Every time a major event happens across humanity, the work world usually tends to shift drastically. In 2008, we had a recession, which changed things significantly in the career marketplace. About 12 years later, we had a pandemic — which even two years later we are still seeing the aftermath of.

Some of what will change will always be dependent on what’s going on in the world and the economy, but overall, I think that we will continue to see people treat their working lives as if they are their very own small business, or in other words, I think that the “gig economy” trend will continue.

Now that we are working from home, every person has to be their own mini-IT, they’re in charge of routers, streaming, technical issues, etc. to make sure that their individual digital workspace is possible. I think this is a trend that will continue — where people will be responsible for their connection to the work world. I also think more and more people want to shape the future of their career so that it can be in symbiosis with their daily lives, which means finding the means to make themselves autonomous in the professional world.

Before, people didn’t have any long-term idea of what they wanted to do when they got out of school. More and more young people have their sights set on taking care of things themselves, rather than relying on institutions because they have lost faith in the systems that uphold society. I think as the next generation transitions into the workforce, we will see more individuality in professions.

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

I would say that the number one thing is that organizations need to be adaptable to change and embrace it as a mindset. Change is constant, and so hiring on capabilities that are core to your organization’s culture and mission will help to build change into the culture — whether that’s factoring in human capabilities over hard skills, routine meetings looking outward, or scenario exercises. Make change a part of the day-to-day and not a knee-jerk reaction to an external crisis.

Organizations tend to try and showcase a false steady state, but when a bump in the road occurs, they are unprepared. This makes it important to create a culture that embraces change and supports people’s capacity to innovate.

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?

A trend towards higher competition in the workforce is occurring, with people competing for the benefits they seek. At the same time, competition for talent remains fierce, with many of the digital skills required for the future of the workplace in demand and still constantly changing.

Workers have higher expectations, and they are willing to jump higher for those things, whether it be codified, via compensation packages, etc. This will also require companies across industries to rethink their benefits packages. In other words, I think a great transformation between employer and employee is bound to occur: Where both meet at the round table to discuss what they want the work world of tomorrow to look like.

Some jobs will allow this more than others, and it will no doubt be a challenge, but by just opening the conversation between employers and employees, the workforce might be able to bridge some of those gaps that are being seen in the work world.

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

I believe we’ve been on the path to remote work for a long time and recent events only accelerated it, and I personally think that it’s a good thing. The challenge is the gray areas, some jobs are easily done in a remote location, while others can’t be done remotely at all (warehouse worker, restaurant worker, etc.) it’s the stuff in between that’s the real challenge because it is harder to define.

We constantly talk in terms of people and companies, but the reality is that companies are run by people too. I don’t believe there’s going to be any one answer for everyone. Individuals will decide what’s critical in their lives and the individuals that run companies will decide what they feel is important in the way they run their businesses. I believe this is all part of a much bigger picture — which is just the covid after-effect. It is wide-reaching and has a very long tail, and I think it’s going to take 5–10 years to shake this out and there isn’t one answer that fits all.

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?

Societal change is a huge and constantly changing topic — from workspaces to home spaces, from the emotions of human interaction to the psychology behind the lack of human interaction. We are going to see a massive shift in the way people view themselves, the things they do, and how all of that interacts with the rest of society. I think what worries me the most is how we are preparing young people to process this evolving picture and to give them the emotional tools they need to find their own path to wellness and success. It’s such a dynamic picture, that’s so different from the world previous generations grew up in, so the answer will probably be more of a process than a list of tasks.

There is currently a generational change of hands, and the best thing we can do is focus our efforts on giving the next generation the tools and information they need to shape their world. Even education needs to shift to provide a more conceptual curriculum, rather than rigid skills so that the kids that will lead the world tomorrow can adapt and critically think in a constantly evolving landscape.

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

I still see that people want to do good in the world and to feel good about themselves in that world. If we can all stay focused on that, and not the divisive tactics being used by power brokers and influencers — then I think we can come to a good place at the end of the day. I think there is also a great transformation taking place in tandem with the great resignation, and the future of work will hopefully be better fit for the future society we will live in.

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?

That is such a tough question because in many ways a person is responsible for their own wellbeing. However, employers can help to minimize and eliminate toxic things from the workplace and instead provide an overall framework for someone to achieve their own wellbeing. One example could be built-in tools that randomize online one-on-ones with other people in your workplace and create safe places to talk about issues that are profoundly affecting them. I think it’s important for employers to be open to what their employees have to say and to give their workplace a channel to communicate with them and others. I also think that organizations should give employees the space to try things even if they might not succeed.

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 first thing leaders need to lock onto is the fundamental question of ‘if you don’t make changes why would you believe things will change?’ As I said before — the world is changing quickly and frequently — THAT needs to be built into a company’s culture. Don’t take a 3-year or a 5-year look at your culture, make it a real-time process that involves constant inspection, constant change, and constant evolution to a better tomorrow.

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

The continuation to move towards smaller companies and startups for flexibility. With more and more gig workers entering the workforce, we are slowly becoming our own individual businesses, and I think that larger corporations will need to find ways to support this through their workforce design and offerings. Workers are more in control than they have ever been, and they hold their employers to higher standards while expecting more in return for the hours they put in.

Moving towards more casual workspaces for remote workers. I think we will see more interactive spaces, like Starbucks X WeWork spaces, where people can come and get work done but also get some social interaction. Even remote workers that like to work from home will need to leave their homes at some point. As a result, I think these intermediary spaces will become more common, and more creative in what they combine to entice workers.

I believe that businesses across more industries are going to move towards Uber models. These will be multi-sided platform business models, where the offer (market) is given directly to the customers (demand). This opens a channel for convenient necessities (like transportation in Uber’s case) and more options in what is now being called the service economy. It will also be an additional source of income for gig workers, which as mentioned before seems to be a growing sector of the economy.

We are seeing a constant of individuals wanting to control more and more of their own worlds and their own fates, and in the work world this in turn looks like people looking for purpose-driven work. Reconciling that with many organizations’ need to control the variables is going to be a challenge. I think employers should try new ways to bake more flexibility into their workforce. This could be by rotating positions, defining jobs with multiple functions so people can step in for others, and creating ways to ensure constant communication.

Finally, there seems to be a growing contested relationship between employers and employees, which will require a need for more human capability data — to see how different people interact and what personality types do well together. This will help companies understand the ecosystem of their individual workforce better while also helping employees in their career development path and in sharpening individual skills. I believe this will ultimately help to lead to more harmony in society between education, businesses, and the global workforce.

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?

There are a few but there’s one thing I keep in the front of my mind all the time. I’m not sure if it’s a quote or not — ‘Life is an act of will’. If you can come to grips with that then you can get up every day knowing that you can make a difference, make a change, and make things better.

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.

Barack Obama, and if I could ask him two questions, they would be the following: First — when did you know in your life that you were going to be on the path you’ve taken? Second, what was it like when you took over a country on the verge of economic collapse, with no apparent path through it, and what was your thinking in finding the way forward?

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.