The State of Our Professional World | npENGAGE

How the Workplace is Changing

By on Jan 25, 2019


We’ve seen leaps in technology over the last few decades, shifts in the global economy and industry needs, and a new generation maturing into the workforce and roles of prominence, so it stands to reason that the way people think about and practice our work will begin to change, and it has.  

In the recent episode of The sgENGAGE Podcast, “Skills, Brand, and Space: The Future of Work,” Blackbaud’s Rachel Hutchisson spends some time speaking with Carina Wong, Senior Advisor, Innovation & Scale at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gary Bolles, Chair for the Future of Work, Singularity University about how people and organizations have changed their needs and desires towards a new norm. 

The discussion begins with a brief look at personal identity in the workplace. To generalize a bit, the prevailing attitude toward work used to be to show up to your job with the sole purpose of putting food on the table and keeping a roof overhead. We’ve been lucky as a society to move beyond that and have learned over time all the reasons wrong with this transactional atmosphere – that people’s health, productivity, and quality of their work is exponentially better when they are given an environment to thrive in…when they can bring, as Rachel puts it, their whole selves to work. In an effort to focus on the driving factors of purpose and passion, both workers and organizations are now striving for a more harmonic relationship as a result, with situations where strengths, goals, and values are more intertwined for mutual success. 

As the conversation progresses, Gary turns to the idea that we are moving from an industrial era model to a digital economy and what that means for the workforce. He points out that, with so much information at our fingertips, the shift in the required skill set from specialized knowledge to transferable skills is vital to the mutual success of people and the organizations they work for. Summing up his point is one of the many great quotes from Gary in this episode “…the reason we pay people, the reason you you’re paid as a worker is to solve problems. So we need problem solvers who are adaptive because the world is going to continually change.”

Rachel, Gary, and Carina continue to make interesting points and cover many topics in the episode, lending their expertise and experience to shed light on where we as people are headed in our professional culture. Read below the key takeaways from the episode and check out the link to the episode itself!

  • Being driven by purpose, rather than necessity, is the future of cultural identity at work and personal satisfaction
  • Employers need to focus on workers with problem solving skills rather than transactional task completion
  • Diverse thinking is the key to problem solving and organizational success

To hear more on changes and developments in the professional space, listen here:The sgENGAGE Podcast Episode 82: Skills, Brand, and Space: The Future of Work


Joe has been with Blackbaud for over three years and supports the brand team as an Associate Marketing Communication Specialist. He is involved with managing content for the npENGAGE website and the sgENGAGE podcast and is thrilled to be in a position to share leading industry trends and ideas within the philanthropic sector. With a passion for animal welfare and the arts, he is a self-proclaimed patron of live music based in New York City who prior to Blackbaud spent more time working with dogs than humans.

Comments (16)

  • Gavin Mann says:

    Really interesting article – thanks!

  • Shelly Gammieri says:

    Awesome – definitely going to check out that podcast! Thank you for sharing!

  • Markella B says:

    Working at a religious non-profit, I definitely identify with this shift. I can say most (if not all!) of us in my organization value highly the work that we do – so much so that we choose our organization over somewhere else that might pay more.

  • Amy Dana says:

    Looking forward to the full podcast. Today’s market needs problem solvers who, for the most part, are customer-service oriented even if they aren’t specifically in customer service.

  • Sage says:

    Yes!! “Employers need to focus on workers with problem solving skills rather than transactional task completion”

  • Karen Stuhlfeier says:

    I believe in the idea of bringing your whole self to the workplace up to a certain point – but my employer doesn’t get to have all of me. I really enjoy my job and excel at it – but there is the other side of me that I get to keep away from work. They don’t own me.

    • Carlene says:

      Karen, I totally agree with your statements on this. I bring most of me to my job – but make sure that I have certain boundaries around things out of work. Other than LinkedIn I don’t “friend” any work colleagues on social media platforms. I also have boundaries around checking email and doing work during evenings and weekends. (Of course with exceptions for special projects or specific deadlines!)

  • Heidi Tabat says:

    I am definitely seeing this trend within the non-profit that I work for as we grow and change to expand in the market, it is essential for our employees to be able to independently problem solve at a much higher level.

  • Sunshine Watson says:

    Interesting, thanks!

  • Karina says:

    Great article. I will be listening to the podcast.

  • Angie Stumpo says:

    I love the last line: “Diverse thinking is the key to problem solving and organizational success.” If we’re all in agreement, something is probably wrong.

  • Barb Gill says:

    Interesting article! This is so important…”Employers need to focus on workers with problem solving skills rather than transactional task completion” and will become increasingly so.

  • Alicia Barevich says:

    “Being driven by purpose, rather than necessity, is the future of cultural identity at work and personal satisfaction”

    I love this, and why I’ve focused my career in the non-profit sector. Also, very Star Trek. 🙂

  • Alicia Cornett says:

    Very insightful article!

  • Matthew Morrow says:

    This approach is win-win for the employer-employee. I have gravitated naturally to jobs in this type of environment and was happy to find one and continue to be a part of it.

  • Sara Crowe says:

    I agree- in my last position I had to conduct many interviews for open positions. I didn’t look so much at their work experience as much as I paid attention to their ability to problem solve.

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