Scott Miller On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work
Employees will increasingly have side jobs or businesses. Look for an employee to use their nights and weekends to bring in extra money. This is not new, but look for more and more employees to explore this option. I hired two VPs this year who are both top performers in multi-level sales organizations. They work full time for me and still bring in sales for their other jobs.
When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.
As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Scott Miller.
Scott Miller is an executive and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in the content creation industry. His passion is helping companies grow. As CEO of Centerpost Media, that translates into helping its members grow.
Since 2013 at Centerpost, Scott has overseen growth of BizTV from five markets to more than 50, opening the door to help more national businesses tell their story. Seeing a demand to help local and regional companies, in 2018 he localized the North Texas affiliate and launched a new local TV show. In 2020 during the pandemic, Centerpost launched local markets in Austin and Los Angeles. Scott has a vision to launch 100 local markets by 2030 to serve business across America.
Scott has also led the way in moving BizTalkRadio toward digital, and launched video streaming platforms Bizvod and the YTA Club.
Prior to Centerpost, in 2005 he launched a new radio channel on SIRIUS XM, growing FamilyNet Radio from a start-up with no programming to a full-time station in five months, in addition to establishing original shows and building the annual revenue base in eight months.
In 2007, he took over operations for FamilyNet TV, growing the network’s overall brand, reach and sales in five years. He developed and produced three new exclusive original shows and added more than 40 new programs to strengthen the brand.
In 2011, he helped launch Youtoo TV, a social television platform that combined social media with linear programming. In addition to securing licensed content from 20th Century FOX, he built clock formats for interstitials with Mark Burnett-owned VIMBY, coordinated promotions with an LA production company, built a new rules-based system to handle all the moving graphics with the uplink provider, and led the traffic team that built schedules to include user generated content on a linear platform.
Scott has been married to his wife for more than 20 years and has two teenage daughters. He is an avid Baylor Bears fan and enjoys listening to autobiographies while driving to work and meetings.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
In August of 2005, I lost my job to budget cuts. I was working for a non-profit radio station that was cash strapped and management looked at my job and felt they could live without my position. My wife and I had just purchased our first home a month earlier and had a one-year-old to feed. This was my second layoff in three years. Working in the media can be a cruel business. With a mortgage to pay and a family to support, I decided at that moment that I would do everything in my power to be invaluable to whoever would hire me. I also made the decision that I was done with the media. I spent six months trying to find work doing anything. And, I mean anything. On an Icy North Texas day, I desperately drove to apply for a newspaper delivery job. The guy who took my resume said I must have really wanted the job to drive in those conditions. I told him if I got the job I would have to drive in all kinds of conditions. He never called me back.
That same day, my wife called to tell me that a cartoon was faxed to her and I had to see it. Well, the cartoon was of a kid getting dressed to deliver the newspaper in the pouring down rain. The caption read, “I should’ve gone into broadcasting.” Right then and there, the message was received. Two weeks later, I got the call to program a national radio channel for SIRIUS. Every day since then I work hard to provide value to the company I represent. Even today as a CEO.
Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?
Human capital is what makes an organization, and I don’t see that changing in the next 10–15 years. Companies will still need people to sell products, help with fulfillment and provide customer service. There is only so much that automation can do.
I do predict more and more employees will have a side job or business in addition to their main source of revenue. Putting stock in one single paycheck will be a thing of the past, as employees don’t want to be left with no source of income should they lose their job or face another pandemic.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
Think like an entrepreneur, meaning think outside of the box. That starts with listening to the needs of your staff and looking for creative ways to fulfill those needs. The workforce is always evolving, and the key is to study the trends and be willing to make changes. My grandfather worked for the same glass factory his entire career. My dad worked in the same industry but changed jobs every ten years. Today’s employee is only likely to stay a total of three years. So, invest in the onboarding process and look for ways to get new staff plugged-in quickly. People are more likely to stay when they feel connected to their co-workers.
What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?
Employees want more work-life balance. Technology allows us to work more efficiently, and I see a push to ask for a four-day workweek. Employers could be reluctant if it requires hiring more staff to meet demand. A compromise could be offering “available days” versus workdays. Giving employees the option to work full-time for four days a week, but be available to answer questions on the fifth day. There would have to be guidelines put in place, but some questions could be answered in a short text or email.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
The workforce has been changing for some time; the pandemic only expedited those changes. People have either been underemployed or overworked most of my career. My dad worked one job and when he was home from managing the store, he was home. Today’s employees are always connected via their smartphones, and the lines between work and home have long been crossed. To me, this was a natural next step.
The virtual sales call is here to stay. I see less travel and more virtual meetings continuing to happen.
We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?
We need to redefine what a workday looks like in the future. Smart companies have already shifted this model, but the traditional 8–5 hours will be less important depending on the industry. Employers need to base performance reviews on results and not hours clocked in. Working from home could mean an employees’ day starts earlier or ends later to accommodate the needs of their family. We saw this start to work when parents had to balance work and teaching their kids who were sheltered in place during the pandemic.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
The entrepreneurial spirit. Business owners showed us how adaptable they can be during the pandemic. More and more people used the lockdowns to start a side business, or take a huge leap of faith and quit their full-time job to be their own boss. The fight to survive was encouraging to me.
Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?
It starts with education. Employers need to communicate that it is okay to not be okay, it’s just not okay to stay that way. Employees need to know that their employers are there to help change their mindset. Encourage mental health days and make sure employees don’t feel the threat of losing their job if they need time away.
It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?
Don’t panic, the employee market was due some course correction. Digging into the numbers, we see a great deal of boomers who are retiring. Most feared the loss of income, but the pandemic showed this generation that they could survive on less, which is also true with dual family incomes who have decided one paycheck is enough. Finally, you have the millennials who are looking to land the dream job that was not available when they graduated college.
What will be interesting to see is how many of the employees who left the labor market will try to reenter with the rising inflation due in large part to supply chain issues.
If there is any take away, it goes back to work life balance. Yes, employees need to bring home more to pay for the rising cost of groceries and gas, but most want the ability to be home more and be in the office less.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Employees will increasingly have side jobs or businesses. Look for an employee to use their nights and weekends to bring in extra money. This is not new, but look for more and more employees to explore this option. I hired two VPs this year who are both top performers in multi-level sales organizations. They work full time for me and still bring in sales for their other jobs.
- Four-day work week. Schedules could stagger to keep the business going, but I see some employees working a Monday — Thursday schedule and others working Tuesday — Friday. We started giving our in-person staff every other Friday off. On the Fridays they are scheduled to work they have the option to work remotely. We are starting to explore what a four-day week will look like for our company.
- A hybrid work schedule. As the workforce is getting back to the office, more and more employers are offering a hybrid schedule, allowing employees to work some days at home and some days in the office. To land new talent I had to start offering this as an option. I have been impressed with the results and I see more and more companies heading in this direction.
- A redefined workday. The traditional hours of 8–5 will change in some industries, allowing employees to schedule work around family needs. One employee might start their day early and another employee might work late. I have always been flexible with my team, being more interested in results over hours clocked in. But I am seeing more and more companies follow this lead. I had a new hire ask me on her first week if she could be excused during the work day to attend her son’s school Christmas party. I said of course, family comes first. You are more likely to retain staff when you consider their needs.
- A focus on mental health. Employers will offer education on mental health and more mental health days. I believe everyone is dealing with mental health issues of some sort coming out of the pandemic. Everyone processes things differently and I give my staff the room they need when issues come up. As an example, when a staff member loses a loved one I give the option to take the time they need off from work or give them an assignment to work on. Some people need the time and others would rather get their mind focused on work during the grief.
I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar
Stop focusing on profits and focus on helping people. The profits will come. In our company, we shorten it to simply say, “People over Profits.”
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.
Working in the media I have had the pleasure of meeting several big names, but I have yet to sit down with Chip Gaines, even though I am from Waco and have season tickets to Baylor football. As a content marketing guy, I admire how Chip and Joanna built an empire using a television show.
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Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.