Kim Fleming, Truist

Kim Fleming

The Future of Work

What are your views on the future of work and what will the office of the future look like?

There are so many interesting trends that will shape the future of work. It’s easy to first think about flexibility – when and where people work – and the last few years have proven many jobs can be done from anywhere. But flexibility means so much more than that – it’s also how work gets done, with whom, at what time – and I believe flexibility will continue to evolve not only for corporate workers, but for frontline workers as well.

At the same time, I also think we’ll continue to experience a healthy balance of in-person collaboration. Research shows a subset of workers still crave the social interactions they lost during the pandemic – particularly Gen Z. Having in-person experiences can help augment coaching conversations, mentoring, and creativity, even though they can be accomplished remotely. At Truist, we embrace what we call “intentional flexibility.” We believe interactions like these are enhanced when we’re together, so we’re intentional about how and when we spend our time in the office. But we also know that many of our teammates enjoy – and still expect – flexibility, so we offer hybrid and remote work as well.

Moving forward, I also think we’ll see a rise in new workstyle models due to changing employee expectations – with more gig work and project-based assignments. Companies will need to reskill and upskill their workforce due to changing demographics and a talent shortage. We’ll need to redesign roles around AI to keep up with changing technology. We’ll see traditional requirements like degrees less important than true job experience and skills, with a heightened focus on skills-based hiring. We’ll need to embrace collaborative technology tools to enhance the hybrid experience. And of course, office space will need to be reimagined – with the need for more social spaces and less traditional offices as flexible expectations continue.

How can companies maintain culture and a collaborative environment in a remote work structure?

At Truist, we completed a merger and successfully integrated two cultures virtually during the pandemic. That was quite a feat, but it was possible through a deliberate focus on creating and delivering a strong teammate value proposition. I believe culture is built and maintained by how you treat your teammates – what you offer them, the experiences you provide, and how they feel as a result.

For example, everything we say and do at Truist is guided by our purpose – to inspire and build better lives and communities. All 50,000+ of our teammates come together to bring that purpose to life through an inclusive, diverse culture and an environment that’s radically caring. We lead with empathy so that everyone is empowered to push beyond the expected. We listen to all of our teammates, because we believe breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere. We challenge and support each other, so we’re driven to explore ideas and learn from failures. We also believe winning is bigger than an individual’s success – it’s how we work together to make an impact, no matter our location.

As an HR leader, is it necessary for employees to be in the office to build employee engagement?

I think there are times that it is important to be physically together to build engagement and connection – particularly when establishing coaching relationships, or introducing a new employee to the team, or forming new partnerships. It helps to be in-person to get to know one another and experience those social cues you don’t always catch on screen. But I don’t believe it’s always necessary – you also can have a high-performing and engaged team virtually.

My team currently is geographically dispersed, and we make it a point to come together once a week – some of us are in-person while others join remotely. We also make it a practice to all get together in-person a few times a year for team building, and that’s always fun. We IM throughout the day, we know about each other’s families, and we celebrate each other’s milestones. We care about each other as people because we’ve taken the time to really get to know one another. And that is what truly sparks engagement – by simply showing you care.