The way we work — where, how and why — has undergone a seismic shift in just a few short years. The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new paradigm of hybrid work, while social justice initiatives have brought diversity, equity and inclusion to the fore.
Behind the headlines, a new generation of business leaders is leveraging social media to drive these critical conversations. By sharing values, practices, and lessons learned, these leaders have helped to push innovations forward and raise awareness about new ways of working.
Recent trends like the four-day work week and hybrid offices testify to the impact that social media can have in changing and normalizing new approaches inside and outside the office. And as social media use has grown, so have the number of leaders turning to social platforms to shape the future of work. In fact, 71% of executives surveyed now use social media for advocacy and influencing policy.
Here are five leaders spearheading a vision for the future of work that are worth keeping an eye on… and one bonus name.
The Human Energy Crisis: Kathleen Hogan
Have you heard of the Human Energy Crisis?
If you have, you can thank Kathleen Hogan, Chief People Officer at Microsoft. If not, here's what you need to know: the World Health Organization classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon in 2019, and it's gotten worse to become what Hogan has labeled a Human Energy Crisis. Mental strain is at a max with workplace tensions and global events, and as she says, "personal wellbeing can't—and shouldn't—rest solely on an individual's shoulders."
In a recent LinkedIn post, Hogan lays out ways that she recommends to combat the crisis — putting culture and purpose front and center, making wellbeing holistic, supporting career growth, and building team connections. Hogan's outspokenness about creating a people-first workplace with her large social following makes her an influential figure on the future of work, and one definitely worth following.
The Freelance Career Path: Hayden Brown
Brown frequently shares stats and company updates on the burgeoning world of freelancing and gig work. In a recent LinkedIn post, she says that "this is the time to fundamentally change the way work is done—every day we have better tools, systems, and culture to enable teams and talent to come together in new ways that let them tap into their full potential."
Brown's visions for the future of work are all about flexibility and freedom for workers, whether that’s helping people embrace casual freelance work or turn it into a full time gig. And she's definitely on to something: 36% of the U.S. workforce is currently doing freelance work.
The Representative Workforce: Katy George
There aren't many people better positioned to discuss the future of work than the Chief People Officer of McKinsey & Company, which is why you should be following Katy George. Not only is she a source for some of the most important research about people in the workplace, but she also isn't shy when it comes to starting difficult conversations about it.
For example, she has a post on LinkedIn pointing out that Black Americans make up a much smaller portion of the tech workforce than they should — a discrepancy that will cost Black households "more than a cumulative $350 billion in tech job wages by 2030." Importantly, she also lists several initiatives of her own to make headway on the problem both in and outside her own organization, offering suggestions and setting an example for a better workforce.
The Skills Shift: Matt Sigelman
One major shift in the workforce right now is the emphasis on skills over outcomes
— employers are less interested in what you did on your resume than in how you did it. At the head of that change is Matt Sigelman, President of the Burning Glass Institute.
The best thing about Matt's feed is that you can get all the important info you need from it, but it always goes deeper. Take a look at this post which links a full research report stacked with info, but succinctly summarizes the actionable items in the body. Or check out this one about how to reconfigure K-12 education, featuring an essay of his own. It's clear that Sigelman is an authoritative source for insights on the skill shift, so you should be following to stay tuned.
The Creator Economy: Brandon Brown
The creator economy is booming lately, partly thanks to proponents like Brandon Brown, CEO of GRIN, and his commitment to empowering creators. Rarely talked about even a few years ago, the creator economy has exploded of late, and it now encompasses more than 50 million influencers, artists, bloggers, and more that monetize their content and platform as a business model.
While many creator economy evangelists are out there helping creators reach out to brands, Brown tries different approaches, like giving companies instructions on how to work with creators. But he still posts plenty of tactical content for creators themselves, and his company strives to make their lives easy. In this emerging and rapidly growing field, leaders like Brown are shaping the future.
The Loudest Voice… Elon Musk
Hear me out — this is a blog post about leaders shaping the future of work, not necessarily improving it (although the other names here definitely are).
We may not all agree with Musk's visions, and his particular brand of leadership is certainly controversial. But we can't disagree with his presence: he's been dominating headlines since well before he bought Twitter last year (ushering in a string of questionable changes). And for better or for worse, we won't stop hearing about him for a while — which is why he's on this list.
As one of the loudest voices in business right now, Musk is starting conversations about the future of work with almost everything he does. Topics that Musk has championed of late include mandatory return-to-office with “minimum 40 hours in the office per week” and the need for more “hardcore” workplaces (and, evidently, more midnight emails).
The common denominator among all of these leaders is an adroit use of social media to share their views on where the world of work is headed … and what we need to do to get there.
If you’re a leader who’s already out there making waves on social media, or know one who is, consider applying for The CSuite Awards. Created for business leaders who inspire and motivate on social media, the CSuite Awards are judged by a panel of business and media influencers and highlight winners in tier-one national media. Apply or learn more here.