Let’s get employees to say “Thank God it’s Monday”

An Interview by Gemma Martí, published in “La Vanguardia”.

Is the pandemic transforming the way of  working? 

Yes-Indeed; it has forced us to increase  telework, virtual work, but this will not  always be the case. Soon, I foresee a hybrid  type of job, with greater flexibility: some  days we will work at home and others in the  office. Let´s not forget that we are “social  animals” and we need people around us.  Nonetheless, the core definition of work  will definitely change. 

What do you mean? 

Well, today we understand that by working  a person carries out a task and receives  remuneration in return. In the future we are  going to measure work by the “positive value  that people will bring to society”. I speculate  about a new metric in the future, after all I  am a Quixote ! 

You´re a bit optimistic … No??? 

Yes, I am, and I bet on concepts like  leadership, work, and education by values.  We are moving towards a new economy in  which only two thirds of the people of  working age will work, and about a third of  the workforce will not work. Rather they  will collaborate on a voluntary basis or work on meaningful projects with NGOs, with  foundations, and others. They will receive minimum income from government or  other parties, but their prime motivation is  adding value.

Is that viable? 

Yes, because in a new visionary society ,  companies will be truly responsible and will  get involved and collaborate with society  necessities dealing with all kinds of noble  causes. This will benefit everyone:  companies – which will be more adaptable  to the latest technology – and workers, who  will be more engaged. 

My dream is to hold a  summit, like Davos in  Barcelona, but focused on  the “future of work “

Simon Dolan

Is the new economy only technological? 

The technology allows us to free ourselves  from manual work; the hardest work will be  delegated to robots. Mind you, If technology is in good hands, it can make life  easier and more enjoyable, and allow us  more time for other meaningful activities. But if it falls into bad hands (evil lords) it  can become catastrophic to humanity 

Isn´t it true that companies fear change? 

Yes, indeed, it is true. But companies have  no choice as they must evolve; they must  wake up and “smell the coffee”; Even if today they are good, they must advance  and transform so that they remain good tomorrow. Being successful today, does not  guarantee being successful tomorrow. So,  companies must risk and transform  continuously. I compare a company to a couple, two people with different needs,  talents and aspirations. It is important that  both are aligned, are in tune, and move in  the same direction to meet their shared  goals and need. The same need to occur in  companies. 

As president of the Global Future of Work  Foundation, how do you see the future? 

Well, we are moving towards a portfolio  type of work, where people will not work  full time for the same company/employer.  Rather, they will prefer to distribute their  time and effort between different  companies if there is no conflict or breach  of competence. Also, people will be  involved at different levels of work:  Physical, Virtual or both. The essence of my  vision is the concept of portfolio and multiple type of physical and hybrid work”. 

How does it benefit the worker? 

Diversification allows to minimize risks of  losing everything, and offers more security  and peace of mind to the worker; as the old  say: you don´t have to place all the eggs in  the same basket. But, for me, the secret is  that people go to work happy because  diversity increases the probability of doing  some meaningful work. 


Yes, a person who is happy to work is more  motivated, more productive, has more ideas, more initiative and everything  progresses more and better. But for everyone to work happily, employers need  to try reengineering the corporate culture,  placing inspired leaders and all in all  improve the quality of life of their  employees. This will make them happier  and more productive. And consequently,  the word spreads and this kind of  corporations will attract talent. 

What must a company offer to attract  talent? 

Talent must not only be only attracted; it must also be maintained and retained. And  the talented person must be motivated,  wanting to play and win with the team. Talent is attracted to be with other talents  and most important they seek meaningful  projects to work on. Perhaps in the future  we will employ the concept of a “cluster of  talents” hence collectively it is mutually  reinforcing. 

What drives talent? 

Motivation, more than money, and the  presence of other talents and meaningful  jobs. An interesting, attractive project, for example, in addition to a good work  environment and the existence of other  talents. The winning formula is to have the  feeling that you are not just going to work,  but rather have fun and learn and develop  endlessly. If you don´t feel like that, the first  chance that you get, you will escape. In  other words: a company must develop a  culture where the talented employee will  say, Thank God it’s Monday!”

What skills will the jobs of tomorrow  require? 

In 2019 I prepared a study in collaboration with Valkiria Institute for the Future and  the talent commission of @22 network for  the consortium of “Barcelona Digital Talent”  to find out the necessary skills for the new  digital positions in the new economic  landscape. We noticed with surprise that  the most valued skills by digital companies  were soft skills. Digital technique, know how of technology and programming is  important, but what counts the most is  what has not been taught in universities  until now, such as knowing how to work in a  team, learning to permanently “de learn  and relearn” throughout life in order to  continue add value … 

One of the concerns of the Barcelona City  Council and entities such as the “Fira de  Barcelona” is how to reactivate the city’s  economy. What would you advise them? 

Skilled workers, and especially talent, look  for cities that provide political stability,  security, and continuity. Barcelona is a  hyper-creative city in many areas:  gastronomic, architectural, sports, etc. It  has an entrepreneurial ecosystem – located  in 22 @ – and it also has the sea and an  amazing climate… People are attracted to  living in a pleasant environment, but  provided they are offered what I was  saying: stability, security, and continuity, all  in addition to have a guaranteed cluster of  talents and meaningful projects. 

And what should the city do? 

Barcelona must minimize the factors thatdo not attract companies or talent and  maximize all that is good, positive – which is  a lot – and project image of futuristic  concerns like making a more ecological city  – with gardens or orchards on the terraces  or on the rooftops, for example–, and  showcase breakthrough technology. It is  doable. My dream is to hold a Davos-style  summit in Barcelona to talk about the  future of work so that visionary politicians  (local, national and international get  together with visionary academics and  visionary business people to debate and  prepare white papers about where are we  heading and how to better prepare for it.

SIMON DOLAN is a doctor in HRM &  Work Psychology, author of more than  75 books, president of the Global Future  of Work Foundation and former  professor at ESADE Business School ,  where he held “The Future of Work  chair”. He is the creator of the concept,  methodology and tools of Coaching by  Values and participates in Bizbarcelona  in presenting a short speech on:  “Towards the talent of the future”, on  Monday 21, at 10 am in the Agora Talent  (Hall 8 of Fira de Barcelona)