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  • Writer's pictureBenoit Hardy-Vallée

Preparing for the Workplace of Tomorrow: 33 Podcast Insights

In this article, we summarize the key takeaways from two years of podcasting with experts in the fields of Human Resources, technology, and leadership. We spoke with CEOs, consultants, experts, researchers, and business and military leaders to gain insights into the future of HR, the future of work technology, remote work, and leadership and management. Through these conversations, we gained a deeper understanding of the trends and challenges shaping the future of work, and the strategies and tools that organizations can use to stay competitive in an ever-changing landscape.

Whether you're a business leader, an HR professional, or simply someone interested in the future of work, this article offers insights that can help you navigate the rapidly evolving world of work. All abrupt future podcast episodes are available on all podcasting platforms and online here while show notes provide more content and context at

Remote Work

  • Strong predictors of success as a remote leader include trust, the ability to manage remote meetings, and the ability to choose the appropriate communication medium for the task at hand. (episode #1 with Dr. Laura Hambley Lovett)

  • Virtual coworkers tend to have stronger social ties due to deeper casual conversations, blurring the line between private and work life. (episode #3 with Pr. Andreas Eckhardt)

  • Remote work offers flexibility in schedule and location, as well as eliminating the need for commuting, but remote workers in fully remote organizations may face challenges such as loneliness and difficulty disconnecting, while those in hybrid organizations may struggle with collaboration. (episode #4 with Hailley Griffis)

  • Transitioning to a virtual role can save between $11,000 and $20,000 per employee per year and virtual workforces tend to have higher levels of diversity and inclusion and 40% more women in leadership roles. (episode #5 with Laurel Farrer)

  • The ideal ratio of asynchronous to synchronous work is approximately 70/30. (episode #7 with Amir Salihefendic)

  • Digital nomads serve as an archetype for remote workers and tend to engage in elaborate self-discipline and productivity practices due to their autonomous working situation. (episode #9 with Dave Cook)

  • Supply-side solutions such as building more roads or housing have not effectively addressed the twin problems of housing affordability and traffic congestion, as they do not address the root cause of the problem and can even make the issues worse. Additionally, politicians often prioritize these solutions as they provide opportunities for visible accomplishments rather than addressing underlying issues. (episode #13 with Pr. Murtaza Haider))

  • One of the biggest misconceptions about remote leadership is the belief that people will only work if they are being watched. (episode #23 with Iwo Szapar)

Leadership & Management

  • Generation Z values stability and security and prefers to remain with a single employer for an extended period of time, bringing back traditional values to the workplace. (episode #2 with Giselle Kovary)

  • Future trends shaping imaginative work include the standardization of Design Thinking frameworks, the evolution of digital workplaces and associated tooling and practices, and the increasing affordability and ubiquity of large touch screens facilitating digital-first design thinking for both office and remote workers. (episode #6 with Mariano Battan)

  • During times of crisis, it is important to adjust employee experience (EX) programs by adjusting communication strategies, temporarily reducing focus on long-term metrics, allowing employees to drive the conversation through open-ended questions, focusing on immediate response, and shifting from planned to always-on listening mechanisms. (episode #8 with Benjamin Granger)

  • A study conducted by BetterUp found that coaching improved employee resilience during the COVID crisis, with coached employees showing a 17% increase in resilience compared to non-coached employees, who demonstrated no change in resilience. (episode #12 with Shonna Waters, PhD)

  • On-demand work is not expected to grow as rapidly as some predict, having only grown by 3% of the market share over the past 10 years. (episode #16 with Jeff Wald)

  • Networking is an essential skill for career development, yet it is not often taught in higher education due to outdated views of the education system. (episode #17 Mark Herschberg)

  • Organizations that have a culture of feedback and growth tend to outperform others by one-third. (episode #19 James Kelley, Ph.D.)

  • The key principle of warfare is the selection and maintenance of the aim, and resilience is a result of discipline, planning, and the ability to adapt plans as needed. Learning from one's enemy is the best teacher on any battlefield. (episode #20 Richard Charles Lawrence)

  • Adaptability is now considered the new competitive advantage and can be enhanced by abilities such as grit, resilience, mental flexibility, growth mindset, and unlearning. (episode #22 with Ira Wolfe)

  • Conflict does not have to be harmful and can lead to positive outcomes if it is managed carefully, this mindset can also help reduce conflict avoidance by addressing the fear of being seen as the "bad person." (episode #25 with Liz Kislik)

  • Many organizations remain at the Diversity 2.0 stage, which is a reputation or marketing-driven approach where they take a more visible stance on diversity, rather than Diversity 3.0 which involves embedding inclusion into daily behaviours, processes, and decision-making, ensuring that actions align with words, involving all levels of the organization, and applying to external interactions with clients and suppliers, which is a more comprehensive approach. (episode #27 with Priya Radia)

  • For leaders in the C-suite, the abilities of foresight and comfort with ambiguity, disruption, and constant change are crucial and interlinked. Leaders who excel in these areas see change and disruption as opportunities rather than threats. (episode #28 with Dustin Seale (he/him))

  • Creating meaningful work experiences for employees can be challenging as individuals may have varying preferences for what they find meaningful, such as interactions with clients or colleagues, and surveys on remote work only provide information on location preferences, not what is important to employees. (episode #30 with Stephen de Groot)

  • Governance in an ecosystem emerges through multiple fluid contractual arrangements, rather than being codified within the organization. The operating system of an ecosystem may differ from that of the organization. (episode #31 with Roland Deiser)

  • The most important trait of a great product manager is the ability to remain objective and avoid becoming too invested in solutions, rather, focus on the problem at hand. (episode #33 with Jonathon Hensley)

Future of Work Technology

  • To ensure AI is not biased, it is important to consider four key factors: (1) Does it have a reliable correlation to what it's assessing and is that predictive? (2) Where does the pool of information that the technology is learning from originate? (3) Who trained the technology? (4) What quality checks and insurances are being taken to reduce bias? (episode #10 with Maaz Rana and Maurice Forbes)

  • Virtual reality has been shown to increase retention rates for information learned by up to 7.5 times compared to traditional forms of learning. (episode #11 with Imran Mouna)

  • 15% of the workforce in Canada is employed in occupations that are projected to decline, but certain foundational skills such as fluency of ideas, memorization, instructing, persuasion, and service orientation have been found to positively influence an occupation's probability of growth. (episode #14 with Diana Rivera)

  • Innovative restaurant workforce management software can now extract data on behaviours, weather patterns, and typical shifts to determine the necessary number of staff for each shift and even identify which employees work well together. (episode #18 with Jordan Boesch)

  • Automation loses its effectiveness when it tries to imitate human behaviour. (episode #21 with Richard Schnitzel)

Future of HR

  • To attract top talent, companies should focus their outreach on candidates who are already engaged with their brand, rather than relying on mass emails from marketing or Talent Acquisition teams. (episode #15 with Graham Thornton)

  • The traditional model of talent supply and demand is facing significant pressure, and effective operating models must take into account the factors driving the business and what it means for the workforce to deliver. (episode #24 with Nalin Rajaure (IHRP-SP, ACLP))

  • Shared Services can be advanced through the use of digital technology, allowing for the capacity to undertake additional responsibilities beyond those of specialist teams or business partners. Some organizations have begun to develop a team of people managers to provide more strategic support, including guidance on grievances and disciplinary actions. (episode #26 with Emma Leonis-Hughes)

  • 60% of employees would prefer more flexibility in selecting their pay frequency, having access to same-day pay, or early access to pay. (episode #32 with Matthew Kopko)

Season 2 of abrupt future podcast is here and we are thrilled to announce that it will feature guests from academia. We'll dive deeper into the latest research and theories on the future of work, HR and talent management. From Ph.D. students to professors, our guests will bring a unique and insightful perspective on the potential consequences of abrupt changes in the workplace. Don't miss out on this season's thought-provoking discussions!

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