4 Key Factors Influencing the Workforce in 2022 and Beyond

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How flexibility, technology, culture and professional development will play a role in the evolving workforce in the next five to 10 years

To remain competitive in their industries, companies must not only be the best, but hire the best. Acquisition and retention of top-tier employees is important to create a foundation for success, which includes benefits beyond the basics to keep them engaged and thriving in the workplace and in their community.

For example, according to a 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, two-thirds of employees look to companies to provide turnkey ways to participate in volunteerism through company-wide days of service and corporate-led activities during the year. Activities such as these help strengthen both the company culture and the community, and provide the employee with a sense of engagement and impact.

Strengthening the community through the workplace and the home are why the Companies as Responsive Employers (CARE) Awards were first established by Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) in 1992, as a way to recognize leading companies whose family-friendly benefits and policies help their employees meet the challenges of balancing work and life, and relieve work-related stress on families. Since then, the CARE Awards have spotlighted more than 100 orga­nizations who exemplify what it means to be a CARE-ing company in how they approach their employees, their clients and their community. And Northern Virginia is a better place to work because of it.

As we look back on the past 25 years of the CARE Awards, we are also looking forward to how companies can continue to innovate their policies and practices to engage employees and develop a stronger community. To commemorate this banner anniversary year, we’re hosting a special panel of industry leaders to inspire business and workplace evolution in the years ahead. Here are few examples of what our panelists are implementing at their companies and how they see these concepts taking hold:


Robert Acosta, CEO of Ventera Corporation: “The past 20 years have seen great advancements in topics such as workplace flexibility, leadership development and impactful community service. I think an emerging trend that will become more mainstream in the next five to 10 years is to provide proactive opportunities and resources to foster innovation and learning above and beyond the ‘normal’ workday experience. In the past four years, Ventera has established Communities of Practice that provide creative outlets for people to focus on areas of interest; try new roles; learn and collaborate; develop expertise; and at the same time, create value for our company and customers. These communities of practice have led to improved engagement and professional development of employees, better capabilities and customer results, an enhanced position for Ventera in the market, and a lot of new business.”

Jenn Aument, Group General Manager North America of Transurban Group: “Looking ahead for Transurban, having the right people in the right roles will remain critical to our success. Attracting and retaining top talent, in often specialized fields, will remain key for us. To become an employer of choice as the workforce evolves, we need to make sure that we’re adapting to the modern ways of working both in how we use technology and our community investment. We have seen an increase in the need to manage teams and projects across multiple time zones and multiple locations, and expect this trend to continue. As a company, we’ll remain focused on how we leverage technology to empower our workforce and keep them engaged despite the physical distance that can mean teams are often 10,000 miles from each other. Employees are increasingly looking for a company that creates shared value, for both investors and the communities where it operates. At Transurban, we’ll remain focused on genuine partnerships in our communities that customers and employees care about locally.”

Alisa Valudes-Whyte, Senior Partner & CEO of Merritt Group: “Especially in the D.C. area, flexibility is always going to be a top priority for keeping employees engaged and happy. Let's face it: Traffic isn't getting any better, and finding a healthy work-life balance that doesn't include a two-hour daily commute is harder to come by. Telecommuting, flex-schedules and condensed workweeks are extremely easy to implement and, with all of the technology available, easy to manage. The trick is to find the ‘sweet spot’ with allowing flexibility but still make employees feel like part of a bigger, collaborative team. With that, I see the role of culture evolving and growing in significance: how to create more connectedness with teams when they are together, looking at more cross-pollination across teams, brainstorms, finding events/initiatives that employees can collectively get behind and be passionate about — whether that's volunteering or community events.”