Future Work

Retaining Your Top Talent with Flexibility and Joy (featuring Debbie Lovich, Managing Director & Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group)

TED speaker and Boston Consulting Group Managing Director Debbie Lovich tells us the secrets of retaining your top talent. Hint: it involves joy!

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This week, it's my great pleasure to host TED speaker and Boston Consulting Group Managing Director's Debbie Lovich.

Debbie has done a ton of research on making work work that has been published on Forbes, HBR, and BCG.

Since top talent is up to 10x more productive, our discussion delved into what truly drives joy at work and its profound impact on employee retention and effectiveness.

Here’s what I picked up from this fascinating conversation:

1. The Link Between Joy and Retention

Debbie's research revealed that employees who enjoy their work are far more likely to stay with their company. The retention rate more than doubles for those who find joy in their job compared to those who don't.  

2. Work Types and Environments

It's fascinating to hear how different tasks affect our happiness. Focus work, administrative tasks, and interactive work uniquely shape our job satisfaction. Equally important is the environment – remote or in-office – and how it aligns with these tasks.

3. Role of Management

The role of management in all this cannot be overstressed. Managers are pivotal in fostering an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and fairly treated. Satisfaction with one's manager, access to necessary resources, equality in opportunities, and support from senior leaders are all crucial factors for employee happiness and retention.

4. Evolving Employee-Employer Relationship

Our conversation also highlighted the evolving relationship between employees and employers, necessitating a personalized approach to employee needs and preferences. It's about understanding that each employee's requirements and aspirations are as unique as the customers our companies cater to.

5. Future of Work and AI's Role

AI's potential to reshape jobs, by enhancing joy and reducing mundane tasks, is enormous. However, it's crucial to balance AI implementation with an eye on employee happiness alongside productivity. Don’t let AI remove the work you enjoy doing. 

6. In conclusion, Debbie's Optimistic Vision for the Future of Work

Debbie shared an optimistic vision for the future of work. It's one where there’s less us vs. them and employers and employees collaborate to redefine the workplace, focusing on mutual benefits, productivity, and a shared sense of accomplishment and joy. 

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You can find the full episode and transcript here:

Transcript:

Daan van Rossum: I want to start with a topic that's nearest and dearest to my heart, which is happiness at work. I saw that you've actually been researching what drives joy at work. 

Can you share some of those findings, and what can companies and leaders do to bring that to the people? 

Debbie Lovich: All these questions you get about the future of work, flexible work, and what I call making work work are all about: are people productive or not?

We took a look to explore what employee productivity has to do with retention. We're still in a tight labor market globally, maybe not as tight as it was during the Great Recession. In the U.S., it's hovering between 1.8 and 1.4 jobs per job seeker. People should care about retention. By the way, even if the labor market wasn't tight, we all know a high-performing employee is worth anywhere from 4 to 10 times as much as an average one.

We want to look at what drives retention. So we did a quick survey. It's not published yet, so you're getting advanced information. But hopefully, we'll get it out soon. It's what I call the “what the flex” survey.

We asked people: do they enjoy their jobs, and are they effective at their jobs? So as a proxy for joy and productivity, what we saw is that if you compare people who say they're not effective to people who are effective, those who are effective are more likely to stay with the company. So it does lower the attrition risk, but it's like you get a 5-point boost, not a big deal. Five percent more will stay.

But if you take the low joy, I don't enjoy my job; if I enjoy my work, the retention percentage doubles. So, I'm not surprised that people who enjoy their work want to stay. Of course, if you like your job, you'll want to stay. We ask people, Are you looking for a new job? And so the percent that replies, No, I'm not looking, goes from in the 30s to in the 70s. If you go from I'm not effective to I'm effective, it goes from 33 to 38.

Clearly, joy matters. Enjoying work matters more than you would think.

Daan van Rossum: If someone says “I enjoy my job” what is underneath that what can people do to get people to say that?

Debbie Lovich: We looked at a couple of things. Not all work is equal. We actually, in the survey, broke down types of work. You have focus work, admin work, interactive work, overseeing work, and administrative work.

We asked them for joy and productivity overall, but then we also said, Admin work. How effective are you at it? How much do you enjoy it? How much time did you spend on it last week? Because if you just ask for time in general, they'll get it wrong. So go look at your calendar.

We also said, Where are you most effective at remote work? We wanted to test some of those things, and what we found is that if you correlate joy with an individual task with overall joy, it's fascinating.

So for individual contributors, if they enjoy their focus work, their affiliation and culture work, and their interactive work, they will enjoy their work. What you saw in the data is that individual contributors spend about 30%–29% of their time on admin work. 

Daan van Rossum: Admin work would include things like email and what's in that bucket? 

Debbie Lovich: Filling in forms, taking care of logistics, admin work—mostly email, I think, to be honest.

The takeaway is that if you want to drive joy, you better make focus work, affiliation and culture, and interactive work more joyful.

Then, we took it a step further and asked people: When you can't do your work effectively, what gets in the way? There were things like, I'm too distracted. I spend too much time waiting for others. I'm not motivated. The work I do is needlessly complex. I don't have the right tools. And we asked them a bunch of things.

What we found was that the thing most correlated to joy and, therefore, most correlated to retention was motivation. I'm not motivated to do the work. I don't have enough support. The work I do is needlessly complex. I'm not given tasks that suit my skill set.

So you could start to peel apart and see the types of things that drive joy. And if you look at it, a lot of it is in the hands of the manager. 

Daan van Rossum: I was just going to say like almost all of those sounds very manageable. In terms of not making the work overly complex and making sure people have the right support and get the right task assigned.

Debbie Lovich: Yes. There's another piece of research this time with 11,000 employees around the world (larger study). We're just writing it up. It's going to come out next week.

We found very similar findings and what correlated there to staying at work. One of my big messages is that the relationship between employee and employer has fundamentally changed, and companies need to start thinking about employees like they think about customers.

You would never say, Here's the one product I have to sell; take it or leave it. Only use price as a mechanism to drive volume. As a company selling to customers, you would do deep customer discovery, closet teardowns, conjoint analysis, max diff, segmentation, personalization, design thinking, and customer journeys. You would do all that stuff.

When it comes to shaping work to meet what our employees want, We're like, Here's one flavor. Not only that, when we do our research, we do a once-a-year employee engagement study, and we ask people how they feel about a bunch of things. We did a piece of research with these 11, 000 employees; that's fascinating.

First, we said, okay, if you were to look for a new job, or if you were to take a new job at a new company, what are the most important things that would drive you to take a new job?

Number one: pay. Number two: benefits. Number three: hours. Number four: work I enjoy and care about. And number five: career opportunities - better career opportunities.

Four out of those five are what we call functional factors. Pay, and that's it; you could pay more and more. But you don't come up with new products by asking customers what they want. I'm old enough, Dan, to remember when we first got the Sony Walkman from the 80s. There was a big takeaway: no one could have described a walkman. I want a record player that I could roller skate with, if only. Someone innovated it, and they looked at needs.

When we applied that methodology to employees, we did the same thing. We said, Okay, you have two jobs with two different characteristics or three different characteristics to choose between them. You have some more choices, like conjoined analysis. So choose, choose, and choose. So when you do that MaxDiff analysis, what's fascinating is that pay is still number one; better work-life balance and hours, which were three, if you ask, move up to number two.

But the rest are all emotional. They jump up, feeling fairly treated, respected, and like I have job security and am doing work that I enjoy. Those all jump up.

So what this tells you is that if you want someone to apply for a job, you have to have the pay and the hours. If you want someone to take the offer, you still need to have the pay and the hours, but you have to convey in the interview process the emotional factors.

But then we took the analysis one step further, bear with me, and we correlated all the different factors, emotional and functional, 20 plus of them, against the intention to stay. 

Daan van Rossum: Again, retention is really important, as you said, because it saves the company a lot of money. 

Debbie Lovich: Saves the company a lot of money, and you also experience walking out the door. So it's not just the hiring costs and turnover and the job that's open and getting people up to speed. If a 20-year-old Scotch leaves, you can't brew a new one in 5 minutes. That's a bad analogy.

When we did that analysis, the factors that correlate with retention were all emotional. I feel like job security came out as number one, like not feeling like you're going to get fired any minute. Fairly treated and respected doing work I enjoy, valued and appreciated, feeling supported. Like someone has your back.

Pay drops to number 15 when it comes to retention. So, you can't take a salary cut. The way I read into it is that you have to be competitive on pay, but you're not going to differentiate on pay because that's not sustainable because then there's just the salary arms race, but you could differentiate on how you make people feel.

Now, your next question is going to be: How do you make people feel respected, enjoy, appreciate, and all that?

Well, we analytically approach that. We like data at BCG. We found a correlation with 300 other factors in this big survey, and we found the four things that mattered the most.

Number one, as we talked about with my other data set, is “I am satisfied with my manager.” It makes total sense intuitively.

Number two, I have access to resources to help me be successful. That could be training, that could be tools, but I have access to research.

Number three, which is really fascinating, is that everyone has a fair and equal chance to succeed. No matter where I come from, which gets to remote work too, by the way, people are like, “Oh, I'm missing out on the hallway opportunities” to schmooze with the leadership. No, everyone needs to have a fair. If you're a company that you've got to be schmoozing to get promoted to, there's a problem. That's what this tells you.

Then the last one is someone senior at work who actively supports me. You have a mentor. You have someone who has your back. So it starts to tell you. It's the manager. There are a bunch of managers. The manager matters. That's exactly the title I put on the slide with that data. I actually put “manager really matters.” So it's really important. 

Daan van Rossum: Very important. This is a good call to action, obviously for people in those roles to really think about. I'm actually very important.

What are some things that they can put into play? What are some things I can do if we wake up on Monday morning and decide we want to do things differently, bring more joy, and thus retain people better?

Debbie Lovich: What I would do right away is figure out what a great manager looks like in your organization. What I wouldn't say is to go out and buy a textbook or go to a course on how to be a great manager. That's like saying you get in shape by watching an exercise video from the couch or going to the spa for a week.

What we encourage people to do is find their best managers, and sometimes it's word of mouth and their best first-line managers. The ones who are at the rock face of joy, the day to day for the most people. They could be people with the best retention, the best productivity, or the best safety record.

Who are the people who are delivering both joy and productivity? Find them! And then do the ethnography; do the closet teardown of great managers. 

Daan van Rossum: What's your secret? How do you do it? 

Debbie Lovich: And you know what? They won't be able to tell you because it comes naturally. So you literally have to follow them and then follow an average manager, and you will see with total clarity the bazillion things they do differently.

They spend time out on the floor, or they spend time randomly picking up the phone and calling people. When they talk to people, they ask them about the kids. They remember the kids names. When they see a work product, that's great. They send an email saying, “Oh my God, Debbie, Daan, that work you did together is amazing!” Or, even better yet, they pick up the phone and call them.

When they see something that's not good, they call and ask questions. They don't yell. They manage their time. So they're coaching, not doing. So you will find different variations of that, but it's important to find it in your own organization. Because once you find it, once you have that picture of what a great manager looks like, you have to positively infect everyone else with that. You have to copy and paste it into everyone's DNA. I probably shouldn't use the word infection, but like a good vaccine.

How you do that actually matters. The best way to build capability is through practicing every day and making small changes to routines and rhythms. There is a lot of behavioral science, but once you've defined what great looks like, then how do you build the program that really builds that muscle to stick? Because if you just train on it, it goes away like the video from the couch. So you've got to really do it differently.

Daan van Rossum: Because it sounds like something that, of course, you can do at an organizational level, and this can be like a big HR program, but it's also something that someone can just pick up individually.

Someone can say, I want to be that great leader, because great leaders really matter. So I'm going to shadow someone. Therefore, I'm going to build a stronger team, and the more consistency and longevity I have in my team, the better we will all perform.

Are there some other reasons for leaders to get really excited about this and basically start shadowing people and understanding why they're so good at what they do and how to apply that?

Daan van Rossum: HR people are excellent, but with all due respect, they can't systematically upgrade because they're not there every day.

First of all, they don't have the budget. Second of all, they're not there every day. Third of all, they don't know where to hang in the routines and rhythms of the day. The little moves that build muscle. You don't want to create something that's too hard to do. You can't lift the weight. You don't want to create something that is so easy to do. It builds no muscle. You want for me the 12-pound weight because that's just the right mix of doable and stretchy.

The only one who can do it is the leader. HR can facilitate the process. But the leaders need to own it and need to drive it. What I would do is put together a team of your top people, start facilitating them through that process, and have them roll out the tips, tricks, and new ways of doing things.

A little bit at a time to let people absorb them, because if you say, Okay, “Debbie, you've got to lead more like Daan leads, and that is like a 180 turn. I'm never going to get there.” So it's just giving me a little bit to try. Let me see how it works. Let me get another little bit six weeks later. Let me try it. See how it works. Let me get another little bit.

So you're actually building a process of always looking for ways to make managers better, which is good because work is always changing. What is good today may not be good tomorrow. Like, just go pre-COVID good manager, post-COVID good manager. That's the reason hybrid work isn't working for a lot of people because people don't know how to manage, inspire, motivate, coach, connect, mentor, and distribute teams. They only knew how to do it in the hallways. So you have to continuously surface what great looks like and spread it out.

Daan van Rossum: Let's talk about that. Because you wrote a really great piece for HBR called “Does Your Hybrid Strategy Need to Change?” What inspired that piece, and what are some of the things that you would recommend to people if they're still trying to navigate that whole hybrid remote and remote work conundrum?

Debbie Lovich: What motivated me to write that piece was, when you saw, you told me when we started, you listened to my TED talk, I'm flattered. Thank you. I did that Ted talk in October 2021. And even then, I was frustrated. Trust your people and get data.

I was like, You've got to invest in making it work, and it's so interesting to me that people are spending a lot of time on executive teams for office-based workers.

So let's separate out the 70% of the global workforce that can't do what I'm doing and you're doing and work from home. So I'll separate out frontline workers from office-based workers, but for office-based workers, where hybrid comes in, people said, okay, we're going to perseverate on what the model should be: three days, two days, six days, minimum, like which days?

Then they issue a memo, and they expect it to follow the policy. To me, like the analogy I use all the time, that's like saying, years ago we needed to move from mainframe to cloud. And that's it. That's your memo. And you expect it to happen. Figure it out. You need money. You need capability. You need a strategy. You need to align. So many different things for your data stack, and what your tech stack is all that kind of stuff.

So telling people you have to work hybrid and just stopping there and not investing and building the capabilities to rethink work, of course, is not going to deliver.

You're seeing people say, Oh, hybrid work doesn't work. Well, is it that it doesn't work? Or you didn't even try to make it work. And so I wrote the article to really share some data about how to make it work and one of the key insights, so this is from another survey, another “What the Flex” survey I did.

We asked people about the different types of work they do. Again, how much time do they spend on it? And where are they at their best? And what's fascinating, and this data is in the article, is that managers, executives, and individual contributors mostly agree. Focus work and admin work are best done remotely. Think about it; you can concentrate, and you won't get interrupted.

Interactive work, culture, team building, training, and onboarding are best done together in person. They're largely aligned.

There are two differences that are important. One really important difference is that I mostly agree. So even for admin and focus work, there's 10% of people who disagree. They'd rather be together for that. And those are probably your extroverts, who, from a mental health perspective, have a really hard time being home alone all day. They are probably people who don't have apartments they could work from. Too many roommates, too loud, maybe not safe, sadly.

On the flip side, for interactive work, collaborative work, and team building, there's 10% who want to be remote for that. Who are those? The reverse. They're your introverts, for people who are neurologically diverse. It actually takes a real effort to be around people and socialize. It takes a lot of energy.

So, of course, if we have to collaborate, let's do it remotely. 

Daan van Rossum: I'll raise my hand on that one.

Debbie Lovich: Yeah, I know people. I'm related to a lot of people that way. In tech talent, there tends to be more of those, honestly. So they have a combination of folk, a lot of focus work, code writing, quality testing, etc., and they tend to be more introverted than extroverted, on average. I'm not stereotyping at all.

This means two things. For the first time ever, think of post-COVID. Think about what work happens when and where, and how does that change by the team?

We talked a lot about manager capabilities. Two new capabilities that never existed before are frontline managers in office-based jobs. I hate the word knowledge work because what does that mean for everyone else? But what other people call white collar or knowledge work, what I call office-based or desk-based work, you need the muscle as a leader to say, Okay, Here are our rhythms and routines. Here's what we come together for. Here's what we come apart for.

And you actually need to help your team find a collective rhythm and routine that they never did before because either they were all always there or they were all always at home during COVID. So, that's one muscle you need.

Then, the other muscle I talked about is how you connect with, inspire, motivate, coach, mentor, and develop distributed teams. You have to do the muscle building on both of those.

We actually needed the distributed team muscle before COVID because no one sat in the same hallway as everyone else. We just need it 10 times more now. So that's the investment, and besides, there's also investment in tools and technology. What do we give people to set up their home offices? What's our commute policy? When do we get everyone together because now culture building doesn't happen osmotically or serendipitously? We have to be intentional and purposeful about it. We need to get people together one week, a quarter, which is roughly what seems to be working. No study on that, but that seems to be it for remote companies: a week or a quarter of intense socializing.

So those are all things you have to figure out and enable, just like when you went from a mainframe to a cloud, you had to figure out systems and rework work processes. The only difference between them is that humans are organic, not linear like computers, so we're a little harder.

We're a little harder, which means it may take a little more time and investment. Anyhow, that's a long answer to your question. Why did I write that article? 

Daan van Rossum: Very interestingly, you're talking about how this has to be done at the manager level because they know their team the best, and therefore, you can accommodate all the differences between teams.

But obviously, even within your team, you're going to have different kinds of people. You may have more introverted people. You may have more extroverted people. You may have people doing different kinds of jobs.

Even for an individual manager, how do you even get a sense of what the right rhythm is for my team? How do I create my version of that in the best way possible?

Debbie Lovich: People with elder care responsibilities, child care, sick relative care, or single people who need to be dating at night or else they will stay single, not by choice, and you have to actually make the implicit explicit.

You have to have the conversations around; what are your norms? Gosh, it's probably 15 years ago. I started my first client when I got into the people space, which was my own company. So I used to be all in strategy and operations and think the people side was a little fluffy.

Then, for a random set of reasons, I started collaborating with a Harvard Business School professor who wanted to study how we work better. Anyhow, long story short, the process we ended up creating that is still in place today, a decade and a half later, is one where when, and because we're always forming new teams, because it's consulting.

So you're always working on new projects. So you can't just learn it once and go with it. You're like, constantly, we actually have a norming document that everyone fills out at the beginning of the case. And it's things like, Are you a morning person? Are you an evening person? What does the end of the day mean to you? After hours, if it's an emergency, what's the best way to get in touch with you? What do you do for fun? Just so that the team could have a facilitated conversation to create a set of norms.

Call me, text me, Slack me, email me, or WhatsApp me; let's align on some channels. That's all in there, and then you could come up with a set of norms. And then every week, you do a retrospective on how we worked. Not just on the work, but on how we worked.

What worked, what didn't, and what should we change for next week? And even, by the way, if the norms work great for everyone, the work may change next week. And so you want to change it up because you have a different set of deliverables. The finance team, at the end of the month, has to close the books.

They're going to be in a room together. The rest of the month or the rest of the quarter, who cares where you are? Getting into that situation. 

Daan van Rossum: So you call it a norming document?

Debbie Lovich: Yeah, we call it, let's fill in our team norms and we just have a template.

Daan van Rossum: That makes so much sense. Also speaking about workplace joy. You're going to feel so much more joyful when, A, you get asked about your preferences. And then, B, people are actually acting on them, and that can make a huge difference. If no one ever asks you, how do you want to communicate? And people just keep calling you, even though you're more of a text person or everyone keeps texting you, but that makes you super anxious, and why don't they just pick up the phone?

So just having that conversation and then starting to act on it is already huge, but then the optimization on that, I love that end of the week. Well, here's what we thought was the best way to work. How is it actually working? And then optimizing over time.

It's a very different approach, and I'm sure 99% of people are even listening to this.

Debbie Lovich: Absolutely. It's funny though, because even that, you have to manage. Because what happens is that the junior, brand new people, they'll be like, I could answer emails whenever you need me to, or I have no hobbies. We actually have facilitators work with people to get what they really think out on the table.

And we do these things like weekly or biweekly pulse checks because any organization is hierarchical. Any team has a leader, and the juniors are going to feel like they're being evaluated. Even with these wonderful tools, this gets to the muscle building. You need to encourage people to speak up, because then you'll have people who you think are happy. You think you're happy. You think you're happy. What, they're quitting?

You can have all the great processes and scaffolding in place to hold it up, but it still needs some support.

Daan van Rossum: For sure. When I interviewed Tracy Brower, who was actually the very first guest on the episode, she was VP at Steelcase, and she wrote a book called Happiness at Work.

She said the worst thing you can ask people is, Are you happy at work? Because it actually makes people think, Am I actually that happy? And if they're really unhappy, they're not going to say that to you anyway. So basically, you're going to get that yes until you get the resignation letter.

Speaking of happiness and also about something you mentioned earlier in the conversation that we spend so much time on admin work, I'm still thinking about that 30% spending on admin work is way too much. I'm sure most people hate it. Now, obviously, we're in the age of AI. Do you see a role for AI? I know you; you wrote about AI taking over menial tasks. Do you see a role for AI to reduce that 30%? And then, if that's something that they can do today, what does it look like three years from now or five years from now?

Debbie Lovich: Well, everyone wants to know that. There's no crystal ball. But, no doubt, AI and generative AI are going to change our jobs. The same way automation changed factory work. I think we need to be very careful to keep joy front and center in the equation when we're looking, because right now everyone's scrambling to use it. And they're looking for productivity.

But if you take away the stuff that gives me the most joy, not intentionally, maybe that's not such a high ROI use case because you're going to lose me. unless you wanted to lose me. If you take away the stuff that sucks the joy, the dementors in Harry Potter, They are just like that. Oh, please. Or maybe generative AI could make it more fun and push your thinking in different ways. And so I don't know what exactly it will look like; of course, it's going to be very different.

But I want to make sure that in our scramble to redesign work and leverage all these tools, we do it with an eye on the prize of joy in addition to productivity. I assume that productivity should have it. To increase joy.

And the best way to do that is to create with people and give them agency over it. Okay, we have this tool. It could theoretically do this, but before we do, let's think about the parts of the job we'd love. What would make us love it more? Let's think about the parts of jobs we hate. Let's stretch to see: is there a way to get down the hate with it?

So not only will it be better for what you need it to do, but people will also feel like it's their creation as opposed to what's being done to them.

Daan van Rossum: There's a sense of buy-in. I think you can probably go back to your pillars of what drives joy at work. Something like having access to the right resources, so this is basically an infinite resource because it can be both a mentor and a coach. Suddenly, I can create images, and I can be a good writer. Therefore, this should be a really important tool in that toolkit.

Debbie Lovich: Yeah, but even going back to what drives joy and retention, I have a senior who personally supports me. Okay, technology can't do that. It can't do that. And even if you get it to write personalized notes and send them out for you, you still better take it off and fill it in with details only you know about the person, or better yet, have it make a schedule for you, but you block the four hours to call everyone on your team and, like, whatever.

So, it can augment, and it could help you do it more efficiently. But those are the things you just have to pay attention to. Be careful.

Daan van Rossum: As AI is taking over more parts of the job and making the worst parts better and making the better parts even better, one of the things we've seen from recent LinkedIn data, we did some research as well.

We see that women are actually less engaged in the conversation about AI, less likely to want to learn AI, and less likely to be using these AI tools.

Do you see that as a challenge for women to stay ahead as we move into a very AI-driven future? 

Debbie Lovich: I've not heard that statistic before. It's surprising to me. Did you get any insight into why in your research? 

Daan van Rossum: Basically, one of the underlying things that the LinkedIn report says is that men have asked, Why are you motivated to learn AI more? They seem to be more worried about what AI will do to their jobs, and women seem to be a lot less worried.

So I think it was like 65% of men said, I see AI drastically changing my role, and only 45% of women, but then in the same report, it also said that a lot of the roles that are typically held by women are actually more susceptible to being disrupted by AI. And so therefore, that kind of raises the question: is there a risk of not actively looking into AI and starting to experiment with it? Could that negatively impact people? 

Debbie Lovich: Absolutely. So my message is for women to start digging in, which is fascinating. That's fascinating. You need to correct for it.

What comes to mind, Daan, is that when I was a brand new partner at BCG back in 2001, a long time ago, there was another partner who started to do it, like a pilot, a training program on how to be a great rainmaker as a partner.

She very quietly said I wanted to get all the women partners in this program, and I personally benefited from that. So if you do care about the percentage of women in your workforce, then what you found is really important. And we should pay attention to it.

Daan van Rossum: We're at the end of our time today. Sadly, for me. 

I would love to ask you one final thought on the future of work or one wish that you have for how work develops in the future.

Debbie Lovich: I'm an optimist, always, and I really believe the workplace can shift from us versus them, like employer versus employee, and I think the hybrid debate made that even further apart, and corporate versus the field and COVID made that further apart.

I would love to get the workplace to be more like, okay, we are all in it together, and we all have a seat at the table for rethinking what work is so that we can all reap the benefits, including the financial benefits of productivity, the work-life benefits, and the joy and sense of accomplishment benefits. So I'd like to see workplaces become more employee-centric, which I believe is possible.

So it gets rid of this us versus them divide, but it's, Hey, we are all just trying to get the best out of everyone. Somehow, COVID made that feel further apart. So I think we have to put in the effort to get it closer together.

Daan van Rossum: Okay. I love that. Thanks so much for being on. 

Debbie Lovich: Thanks for having me. It's fun to talk about my favorite topics. So thanks for being interested. Great to have you.

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