June 10, 2022

“My job is to fix other people’s jobs” - Adam Grant, WorkLife podcast

At Get-Optimal, we’re long-term fans of trailblazer Adam Grant. Thought-leader, an organisational psychologist, recognised as one of the world’s ten most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40, top professor at Wharton for the past seven (7!) years; this polymath excels across podcasting, TEDXTALKS, novels and more.

So when Optimal saw Adam was involved in the webinar ‘Rewriting the future of Work with Adam Grant,” we knew we had to attend. Along with Abbey Lunney, Director of trends and thought leadership at The Harris Poll and Erica Alioto, the webinar tackled the future of work, and we knew we had to attend. We spent an incredible 60 minutes in the company of these greats, and here are the top 3 things we took from Adam’s talk:

Rethink fatigue

Adam began with a shocker. Interestingly, evidence suggests that we need to fight digital fatigue. With Covid having changed the landscape of our working environments, we’re investing a high cognitive load in engaging in our community whilst moving very little. 

The evidence shows that if we turn off the webcams - employees become more able to interpret the tone of voice correctly. What’s more, participation increases - new hires and female employees are more likely to contribute. At Optimal, we’ll be considering when exactly it's right to ask for the webcam to be on, and encouraging our employees to take us to the streets for their daily walk!

Rethink flexibility

Next, we tackled flexibility. With the focus on understanding that an employee is a person, Adam told us that flexible hours are a must. People want the freedom and the choice to select whenever and wherever they work; after all, our lives are diverse, complex things. Give people this freedom, and they can tolerate other constraints. What’s more, if your potential employee has the flexibility to redefine their job role whilst they’re doing it, they’ll remain more loyal and motivated toward your business’ shared goal. Invite them to define the ideal version of their job, and you’ll be moving your staff from just a position to a heartfelt occupation. At Optimal, we’ve always allowed our employees to work their job around their lives, not the other way round - and that won’t be changing soon.

Rethink support

We’re exiting a period of joint cultural anxiety. People have been struggling in less visible ways. To rethink support, Adam draws our attention to just how we can be more understanding and open with our mental health. As leaders, we need to lead by example, creating a culture where mental health is something that is consistently checked in on. As these conversations in the past have been drenched in stigma, it’s often not enough to have support in place - Adam recommends frequent check-ins that go past the initial “Are you okay?” “I’m fine” dialogue. Want to hear more about how we manage neurodiversity at Optimal? Dan Fellows, our CEO, is participating in APSCO’s Media, Marketing & Sales Sector Webinar on Thursday, 16th June. Why not hit attend now!?

So how do we do this? Adam tells us that we need - as leaders - to think using more of a scientist mentality. Out with the old, rigid thinking of ‘this is how it’s always been done’, and in with an agile mindset. Experiment, learn fast, mess up - adjust your method. With such changing times, a philosophy dedicated to exploring what works in our bold new landscape allows for an evolving workplace that will move us quickly into the future.

At Optimal, we’re agents of change. We believe in an inclusive and diverse workplace for all. Want to make sure your Job Ads pull in those passionate about rethinking the future? Then collaborate with us at Optimal today. Book a consultancy and take control of your candidate attraction. Be the change, and work differently.

Author - Nicoletta Wylde