Today’s uncertain economy is on every business leader’s mind. What does this mean for the labor market and for business leaders who want to position their teams to thrive? Nela Richardson is the second guest for Season 3 of Microsoft’s WorkLab podcast, in which hosts Elise Hu and Tonya Mosley have conversations with economists, technologists, and researchers who explore the data and insights into why and how work is changing.

Three big takeaways from the conversation:

  1. The U.S. labor market has seen a remarkable recovery from job losses over the past two years, but there are still people who aren’t coming back, and long-term economic growth hinges on more workers being more productive.

  2. Richardson believes that employees can, and should, be empowered to vocalize their wants and needs. And that smart companies will listen.

  3. Business leaders should invest in their people. The pandemic produced a shock, impairing employees’ mental and physical health. Richardson says there is an onus on employers to provide support.

WorkLab is a place for experts to share their insights and opinions. As students of the future of work, Microsoft values inputs from a diverse set of voices. That said, the opinions and findings of the experts we interview are their own and do not reflect Microsoft’s own research or opinions.

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Here’s a transcript of the Episode 2 conversation.

ELISE HU: This is WorkLab , the podcast from Microsoft. I’m your host, Elise Hu. On WorkLab we hear from leading thinkers on the future of work—economists, technologists, researchers. They all share surprising data and explore the trends transforming the way we work. In today’s uncertain economy, business leaders have had to figure out how to do more with less.

NELA RICHARDSON: I think it starts with a difference in perspective. So when the employee says, ‘I’m more productive than ever,’ they mean it. They’re getting more of their work done. When the company says, ‘I’m concerned about productivity,’ they mean it too. They’re concerned about people working together for a corporate goal. It’s the same desire. It’s a different perspective.