The Future State of Employment Panel, March 2019

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SMLR’s Alumni Association’s successful panel discussion on The Future State of Employment 

The School of Management and Labor Relations Alumni Association’s (SMLRAA) panel discussion on The Future of Employment engaged a full room with thoughtful perspectives on how today’s trends are forging a future working world. The discussion explored the future of work, implications of constant innovation within HR, the advent of new technologies and adjustments to strategies, concluding with a Q&A session with attendees.

The panel consisted of industry and thought leaders from varied backgrounds. Keith Bogen ‘85 LC, ‘93 SMLR, Chief People and Experience Officer at Doctors in the Office, recalled an evolution of HR, drawing on the changes he’s witnessed and led throughout his career. Keith Campagna, Talent Acquisition Expert at Jobvite offered a perspective on disruptive technologies, systems, and trends. Mark Williams, HR Leader in Acquisitions and Divestitures at Johnson and Johnson, spoke on real life examples of enabling individuals and teams to thrive in turbulent times through company culture and communication.


The panel eased into a discussion on the future of work, grazing topics like robotics, a power shift to employees and demographic changes. After further digging, the panel uncovered interesting insights on Data, Strategic Planning and Artificial Intelligence. Mark Williams challenged businesses to clearly communicate Strategic Objectives in order to bolster employee engagement. Keith Bogen spoke to the consistency of disruption, noting that the assembly line dramatically changed work some 100 years ago, and AI is merely the latest iteration of constant change. Keith Campagna warned of the faster evolution cycles, and that larger organizations not focused on changing technologies and the cultural implications of the technologies risk being woefully behind the times in short order.  


SMLRAA President Tennille McCoy moderated the panel, provoking lively conversation. She asked what new ways employees might provide value for organizations. Keith Bogen pointed to a European trend of corporate alumni organizations, where a relationship with talent remains long after they are on to different companies. Mark Williams countered that the employer is capable of setting the stage for success in this arena. Empathy in communicating with employees leads to cultural integration in his world of Mergers and Divestitures. Keith Campagna followed by asking employers to identify opportunities for employees to be cross- trained to develop varied skillsets, because employees will have more diverse opportunities to acquire those skillsets outside of the traditional workplace.  


Building on the theme of flexibility and empowering employees, Mark Williams shared Johnson & Johnson’s Energy in Life initiative. Taking form in 1 to 3 day sessions, these classes help employees establish their mission and purpose while taking into account important factors like their nutrition, exercise, families and values. They aim to help the employee find what they are looking for in their career journey. Keith Campagna discussed the guidance he provides for Life-Work Integration initiatives. Those employers encourage lateral movement in their companies, where employees are empowered to ponder the future. Employees are more likely to find their personal “True North” or where your passions lie and benefit the business in doing so. 


If you are interested in getting involved with SMLRAA or attending future events, please contact