Change is constant in the world of work. From rolling layoffs in the technology sector and new technologies such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT to hybrid work models and new upskilling efforts, disruptions are constantly reshaping how, where and why we work.
“Much has changed, but disruption is still the defining characteristic of work today,” Forbes Senior Editor Jena McGregor said on stage in her opening remarks at this year’s Forbes Future Of Work Summit. “The future of work is happening now.”
There, future of work leaders—including Slack CEO Lidiane Jones, social media creator Corporate Natalie and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Charlotte Burrows—took the stage at Forbes On Fifth in New York City Thursday to discuss changes, insights and ideas around the workplace.
Below is live coverage of the Summit where you’ll find those insights and ideas from chief human resource officers, chief people officers and more. To join the conversation on social, follow #ForbesFutureOfWork.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Charlotte Burrows Talks AI, Equal Pay And A ‘New Civil Rights Frontier’
When it comes to companies and social and political issues, Charlotte Burrows, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chair, says it’s important for companies to have a clear set of organizational values.
“Particularly with very large employers, you will have someone who has every different shade of opinion,” Burrows said on stage Thursday. “Some issues are not issues where you can meet in the middle. But the corporate values are that everyone gets treated with respect.”
Amid pay gaps, new technologies and more, Burrows spoke with Forbes Senior Editor Jena McGregor about various issues and topics facing the workplace today.
With the rise of artificial intelligence, Burrows said the E.E.O.C. is thinking about transparency and biases.
The E.E.O.C. is a government agency that enforces federal laws that make discrimination in the workplace illegal.
Video’s Role Is Increasing In The Workplace—Especially For Gen Z
Short-form videos such as on social media platform TikTok are upending how we talk about work, amplifying buzzwords like “quiet quitting” or “bare-minimum Mondays.” For the young generation practically raised on social media, video is the preferred method of communication and learning, and companies are finding new ways to talk to the TikTok generation.
“What companies are understanding now is they’ve got to brand themselves,” Handshake Chief Legal Officer Valerie Capers Workman said. “Gen Z wants to know who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in, and they’re not going to apply unless they know those things first.”
As a result, many companies are encouraging employees to act as corporate influencers after long discouraging talking about work on social media. That includes video marketing platform Vimeo.
On stage, Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud said the company is encouraging employees to share their “unedited, unscripted, uncensored” experiences at the company.
“What we all crave right now is authenticity,” Sud said. “That’s what video does really well. It’s more human.”
Employee advocates that post “day in the life videos” or job descriptions is one way companies can speak to Gen Z employees, Handshake’s Capers Workman said. It helps attract and motivate talent, the panelists said.
In the workplace, companies are finding ways to cater to Gen Z employees and integrate videos throughout the business. Perhaps managers opt to send a video explanation and skip the meeting like Sud said she occasionally does, or use interactive videos to train and engage employees.
Creator Corporate Natalie, who makes comedic videos about the corporate world, says to capture attention spans, a 30- to 45-seconds video is the sweet spot. “The shorter the better,” she said.
With fears over cancel culture, “rewards outweigh the risks,” Capers Workman said, when it comes to video and social media use.
Managing Employee Experience In A Hybrid, Flexible World
Alexander DiLeonardo, chief talent officer at Activision Blizzard; Bill Schaninger, senior partner emeritus at McKinsey & Company; and Yolanda Seals-Coffield, U.S. chief people officer at PwC, joined Forbes’ Diane Brady on stage to discuss how to manage employers’ relationships with their employees in changing times.
Seals-Coffield said her team at PwC has focused on providing employees with more personalized experiences that give them agency in their careers.
‘Smart Failures’: The Science Of Failing Well, According To Author Amy Edmondson
The pandemic was an immediate crisis. Now, as author and Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson said, we are in a sustained, perpetual crisis, figuring out the new world of work.
“The future of work can feel like a daunting place,” Edmonson said on stage. “It’s uncertain terrain—this is where failure thrives.”
But there are “intelligent failures.” Edmonson asked: What is the “right kind of wrong”? Edmondson outlines her four criteria for intelligent failures—the failures that help drive innovation.
- The failure is in pursuit of an opportunity. “You believe there is an opportunity to advance toward a valued goal.”
- It is new territory. “You can’t just Google it.”
- You have a hypothesis. “You’ve done your homework. You’re not just randomly throwing darts at the wall.”
- It’s small, and you learn from the experience.
Upskilling Amid Economic Uncertainty
“Even in a down market, we can’t get enough skills in our organizations,” said IBM’s Nickle LaMoreaux. The CHRO joined AT&T Senior EVP of Human Resources Angela Santone and Burning Glass Institute President Matt Sigelman on stage Thursday to discuss upskilling workforces and AI’s impact on hiring.
With new AI technologies such as Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, “you’ve got tools now that are incredibly capable—our expectations are going to be that much higher,” Sigelman said. “And that’s where skills come into the room.”
Skills are always changing, the experts said.
In a tight labor market, IBM’s LaMoreaux said, many companies are reallocating talent, increasing trainings and upskilling employees more than they do during steadier times.
Guild Announces New Product Capabilities To Promote Career Mobility
For many companies, improving talent pipelines and upskilling are top of mind—especially as skills-based hiring practices increase. For many employees, a lack of career advancement is often reason for quitting a job.
To marry the common goal of career mobility, Guild, an education platform for workers and companies, is launching two new product abilities: Priority Pathways and Talent Development Analytics. The initiatives will use labor market analytics and company metrics to identify skills-based career pathways for employees and provide employers with data and insights into their employees’ growth.
Guild Chief People and Purpose Officer Dean Carter joined the stage with Forbes EVP Moira Forbes to discuss career pipelines and the future of human resources.
Building Online Community In A New Networked World
Carolyn Childers, cofounder and CEO of thinktank Chief, and Tiffany Dufu, founder and CEO of The Cru, a women’s networking platform, joined Forbes Senior Editor Maggie McGrath on stage to discuss mentorship, networking and career advancement in a new hybrid work world.
Why Women’s Health Is A Workplace And Leadership Issue
Between pregnancy and fertility to menopause and more, “these topics are not taboos—they’re table stakes,” L’Oréal CHRO Stephanie Kramer. “We have an opportunity to level up this conversation and be the voices that are comfortable in the room to talk about them for those that might not be able.”
Easy, accessible, inclusive information and communication are crucial to tackling these topics and issues in the workplace, Kramer said Thursday alongside Tammy Sun, founder and CEO of Carrot Fertility, a global fertility care platform.
“The future of work is flexible, and the future of work is also feminist,” Sun said.
Kickstarter CEO Talks Grind Culture, Side Hustles And More
CEO Everette Taylor, a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum, joined the stage with Forbes Chief Revenue Officer Sherry Phillips to discuss the workplace from Kickstarter’s four-day workweek to its union.
The Future Of The Freelance Economy
Amid mass layoffs, Upwork President and CEO Hayden Brown says freelance and gig workers are increasingly saying they feel more secure working as freelancers than working in a full-time job during an economic downturn.
With excess clients, gigs and projects available, freelance work can be “more secure rather than being tethered with one lifeline that could get severed if that employer decided to cut ties,” Brown said.
In the freelance economy, “one of the biggest misconceptions is that you can’t use this talent for truly strategic important work,” said Stephanie Nadi Olson, founder of We Are Rosie, a freelance platform for marketing professionals.
Flexible and permanent work does not have to be an either-or situation, added Sumir Meghani, cofounder and CEO of Instawork, a platform that pairs hourly workers to companies that need to fill shifts.
How Do You Unlock Collaboration For Hybrid Teams? Hint: Cut Wasteful Meetings
The idea collaboration starts with a meeting is a myth, said Keith Ferrazzi, founder and chairman of Ferrazzi Greenlight and a Forbes contributor. The successful teams leverage digital tools and practices such as AI and giving everyone a chance to feel heard.
AI’s Impact On The Future Of Work
From helping front-line employees do menial tasks to overhauling how human resources teams recruit and hire new talent, AI upending work. Deon Nicholas, cofounder and CEO of AI-powered customer service software company Forethought; Kieran Snyder, cofounder and CEO of workplace language tool Textio; and Jaime Teevan, chief scientist at Microsoft, joined the stage with Forbes Senior Editor Alex Konrad who moderated.
“Given how new this generative AI technology is, it’s not an advantage to have generative AI,” Nicholas said. “Increasingly, people are seeing it as a disadvantage to not have generative AI.”
When looking at new adoptions and uses, Textio’s Snyder said it’s important to first think about your company’s point of view on data and privacy. What information are you willing to share and what’s sensitive? “There’s a spectrum of trust,” Snyder said.
Bias and fairness are fairly classic responsible AI issues, Teevan said. But “AI is making technology more accessible to people,” said Forethought’s Nicholas. “This skill is becoming just like being able to access the internet.”
Slack’s CEO On Productivity, AI And The Workplace
Slack CEO Lidiane Jones says culture at the messaging software is obsessed with productivity. “People are hyper efficient,” she told Senior Editor Jena McGregor on stage Thursday morning.
New technologies and advancements in generative AI have only accelerated that. The company announced the release of Slack GPT, its AI platform that automates note taking, assists with writing and provides customer insights, earlier this month.
Tools such as Slack GPT can help employees spend more time creativity and collaboration and less on repetitive tasks, Jones said.