A First Look at the NY Times New Work Summit

March 11, 2016 Harry West

new work summit

Last week, Appirio sponsored the first ever New Work Summit, hosted by the New York Times. The event was a gathering of business leaders, noted authors, and innovators from a wide variety of organizations and industries, hosted by NYT journalists. The summit addressed many topics, but the common thread throughout the event was that the nature of work in our global economy is shifting, and much more rapidly than before. Highlights of the best on-stage conversations are available here.  

At Appirio, we work with clients around the world to create better experiences for customers and workers. In fact, even in projects focused on the customer we emphasize that the empowerment of workers is a basic requirement for delighting customers at every touchpoint in the customer journey. For managers and business leaders, the challenge of engaging the next generation of workers is to provide 3 basic things to all team members and leaders:

  • Provide consumer-grade technology that meets the expectations of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants that make up today’s working populations.
  • Enable new ways of working that better reflect the realities of today’s diverse employment contracts, freelancing contracts, crowdsourcing options, and mobile, globally distributed teams.
  • Eliminate barriers to information that keep leaders and their workforce from making well-informed, real-time decisions.

Creating an actionable strategy to prioritize organizational thinking and execution around these imperatives is key to a modern Worker Experience.

It was refreshing to hear how many kinds of leaders in totally diverse businesses are grappling with innovating and rethinking how work can best be accomplished in the future. CEO Richard Plepler from HBO shared his experiences establishing internal “Team Bs” that not only challenge everyone’s established thinking, but also provide fascinating career path options for employees seeking a new challenge. Marc Benioff explained how his leadership role at Salesforce requires him to engage on topics that other CEOs might shy away from —  like taking a clear stand against the possibility of legalized discrimination against his workers and customers. Stewart Butterfield of Slack shared how open, collaborative software inside the enterprise challenges the thinking of managers who would wield power by the selective withholding of information. At a very practical level, NYT editor Adam Bryant shared some of the most important highlights of his many conversations with CEOs from writing his Corner Office feature and his book Quick and Nimble. My favorites included some excellent tips on how to escape the tyranny of bad email habits. (Email is a lousy way to have important conversations; successful leaders send fewer emails!)

There were more speakers and insights shared than I could summarize in one blog post. But we’d love to keep the conversation about the Future of Work going. Appirio — together with our partners at Salesforce.com, Workday, Google, and Cornerstone — will be hosting a Worker Experience Tour series this year in 7 major cities across the US and Europe. We look forward to sharing insights from noted thought leaders in the Future of Work, Appirio’s expert strategists, and our amazing clients themselves — who will share their stories about not only project success, but real workplace culture change. If you’d like to attend, check out our tour dates and register today!

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