November 20, 2023
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To enable happier people, healthier businesses and more equitable opportunities.
To showcase the ongoing innovations and shifts in thinking needed to power a more diverse, collaborative and supportive workplace.
The world of work is a constantly evolving environment, so organizations need to be fully aware of new and emerging technologies as well as the latest innovative thinking on how to make work better for everyone.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a massive shift in the relationships between employers, job candidates and employees. Individuals are gaining a newfound ability to influence where, when and how they get their work done. This growing worker power is playing out with increased employee activism, labor organizing and less willingness to stay put in current jobs (aka The Great Resignation). The fallout from economic and public health uncertainty weighs heaviest on women, particularly mothers, who then drop out of the workforce to become full-time caregivers.
On the technology side, companies are stepping up to address the hybrid work tech gap and to provide more of a consumerized lens to the tools we all use at work. As a direct result of COVID, we continue to see accelerated digital transformation and workplace process automation for companies of all sizes.
Our Future of Work practice is at the forefront of helping to support all of these evolutions. We work with companies touching everything from HR and people management to workplace collaboration and productivity. Our practice grew 35% in 2021 and is Mission North’s third-largest team. We continue to pivot our mission to mirror current business and social concerns. For instance, in acknowledging the importance of creating equitable access to opportunity at work. Our country and others around the world have faced the stark realities of long-standing economic and racial inequities. These disparities have shown up in how differently some segments of the workforce are experiencing the consequences of the pandemic compared to others.
<split-lines>“Individuals are gaining a newfound ability to influence where, when and how they get their work done.”<split-lines>
At the highest level, many of our Future of Work clients are quite literally trying to make the world a better place. That goal may sound lofty and idealistic, but it’s true. Our clients are building businesses that challenge the status quo. UKG is leading by example, promoting belonging and equity at every stage in the employee lifecycle. Everlaw is making pro bono legal aid more accessible while also offering tools to investigative journalists taking on big corporations. Gusto is helping growing businesses access the resources they need to thrive as employers.
These innovations often require category creation, whether constructing an entirely brand-new market segment or crafting a unique niche within an existing category. Yet the markets our clients are entering or looking to expand their presence within are often very traditional —recruiting, employee onboarding, benefits and legal discovery. Our clients are working to upend and disrupt these markets. For instance, Humu is creating behavioral nudges, a totally new concept in the workplace, while Notarize is making notarizations completely digital and more secure.
<split-lines>“Our clients are building businesses that challenge the status quo.”<split-lines>
Organizations must embrace transparency, honesty and authenticity in the workplace. They want to know they have the tools to help them succeed in tough jobs on the frontlines of their respective industries—whether it’s the Main Street shop owner providing benefits to her small team, the newly-graduated developer looking for his first job, or the lawyer taking on a pro bono case.
One lesson from 2020 is that performative stunts and posturing won’t help tech vendors, particularly in conversations about DE&I and HR tech. Customers will see right through the empty rhetoric and an organization then forfeits their trust forever. We work closely with our clients to uncover and grow their unique platform. This often involves not just leaning on the executive team as the embodiment of the brand but going deeper to find who on the customer success team has a background in advocacy for small business owners or which developer can level with their peers. We look to people who can tell stories in a grounded way and who can advocate for our clients’ customers and users.
The market segments we are most excited about are in HR/People Ops, flexible workplace tech, and DE&I. We see those areas growing incredibly quickly through VC investments and workplace adoption. We also continue to keep our eye on education technology as, during The Great Resignation or Great Reshuffling, workers will be searching even harder for ways to polish and expand their skill sets.
<split-lines>“Organizations must embrace transparency, honesty and authenticity in the workplace.”<split-lines>
The world of work is an incredibly crowded space so our clients need to stand out. Like most Silicon Valley startups, each of our clients faces competition from at least a half dozen other tech brands. Our clients are also challenging the status quo in some very traditional and still highly-manual workstreams, which can lead to skepticism on the part of potential buyers, the media and other industry observers. So, first, we need to define a problem that many people don’t even know exists or help them understand how changes to the status quo would benefit them without too much friction.
Second, before our clients can even gain the upper hand in share of voice, they often need to prove the business value of their technology and how it can make work better. This is where we partner with our clients to bring their solutions to life in concrete and impactful ways. Customer programs do this beautifully, so we work closely with our clients to dig up powerful customer examples and to offer the media access to the real-life people who directly benefit from the technology.
We also love a good data report for our Future of Work clients—those surveys can shed light on struggles, issues and attitudes as they present solutions. We work collaboratively to help craft data-driven stories and we continue to refine how we tell and share the stories of our clients and their customers with everyone on a mission to innovate and improve how we all work.
November 20, 2023
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