Evan Pohaski On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

Retention of key employees and all your wanted associates is a manageable business risk. We’ve proven that. It’s about communicating to people because when you communicate it implies trust, and trust is very important. It’s about listening to them in a way that enables you to define a solid strategy with your people first. That’s […]

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Retention of key employees and all your wanted associates is a manageable business risk. We’ve proven that. It’s about communicating to people because when you communicate it implies trust, and trust is very important. It’s about listening to them in a way that enables you to define a solid strategy with your people first. That’s it. Fortunately, we have not seen the great resignation at JLE, but this doesn’t mean we never will. I believe that taking a proactive step and engaging your people and measuring their happiness somehow is the most important step to take for better retention.


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 Evan Pohaski

Evan Pohaski is Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of JLE Industries. He has built JLE from the ground up, starting from one truck and trailer to 300 trucks and counting. Evan is focused on engaging and empowering JLE’s Professional Driver Talent as he continues to expand and successfully lead JLE to an ever-growing list of accomplishments.


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.

It may sound a little cliche, but when we were starting JLE, I was becoming a father for the first time and I was just married. When you start a business and you’re attempting to grow your livelihood that your family depends on, there’s only one thing you can do and that is to succeed. That experience taught me to attack success from different dimensions, in both my personal and professional lives. In order to be the best version of myself for my company and the people who depended on me, I had to first become the best version of myself where it mattered the most. That really helped catalyze my personal evolution from just being a participant to becoming a leader. The leadership role I played in my young family then, has transcended and supported me on this quest that is JLE.

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?

I think everything boils down to a measured response that balances the need to retain top talent with the reality that even in a tight labor market, which is getting tighter, companies should not make too many concessions as a growing company that they’ll regret later. I think employers, companies, innovators and firms are, like JLE, wrestling with what that looks like. In my mind, it’s a combination of accommodating individual preferences and embracing them as another dimension of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. We can do that through the right alchemy of not necessarily office workspaces, but campuses and communities, which don’t need to be large populations. I think that traditional office space will be utilized in a more collaborative, flexible manner to accommodate these new trends, because that’s where the world is headed.

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?

People across the entire continuum are taking on more expectations from their employers. Generally, that’s a good thing because it gives innovators and idea creators the opportunity to further define themselves and to grow themselves collaboratively and professionally. I don’t like the technical (and to my mind antiquated) term, “employee.” I like to refer to all of our people as team members, associates, professionals, and most importantly, talent. Because that’s what we have here… talent.

I think that those requirements are going to become table stakes. What we are seeing happen today will continue to become the norm, and companies need to embrace what’s happening and figure out how it fits within their overall human capital strategies. As it relates to what employers are willing to offer, companies need to listen to their people and comply with some of the needs and wants and a balanced approach. It is impossible to satisfy everybody’s individual needs and wants, but collectively, there are a few unifying themes and undercurrents that are propelling work culture. That’s going to be the governor on how employers respond, but I think you’re going to see most companies step up, become more creative with their work-life balance and with the investments that they’re making in their traditional office spaces, and attempt to bridge that nexus in that manner.

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?

That’s a tough one because a lot of the social reform and direction that this nation takes is dictated by the government and politics. So, I really can’t take a position on that.

But here’s what I will say. At JLE, we want everybody to become the best versions of themselves and that includes their financial standing. Socioeconomics have a common denominator, which includes equity in pay, equity between genders, races, etc. JLE is on the front end of the curve and understands the need to recognize and remedy any gaps.

We have diverse people in different positions. Those are social measures — and just good business. You’re going to see a tectonic shift towards companies paying more attention to that because they have to, and some will be fakers and some will be makers. JLE is a maker. We’re on the front end of it because we understand that in order to get the best out of our people, we need to allow them that freedom to propel themselves and to take chances on them. The economic piece is compensating people because they produce the profits. If you have the leanest team of highly compensated people that understand what they’re doing and are empowered to make change, I think you’re going to become one of the most profitable companies with the best staying power.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

The resiliency of people. I think about what we endured during COVID beginning with our Professional Driver Talent. We didn’t skip a beat. Drivers are an essential function of this economy and these individuals went out, did what needed to be done (while taking the measures needed to stay safe), and really earned respect from people who did not realize how important that they were. Everything that revolves around that is really kind of a blessing to see.

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?

I am seeing a lot of strategies, as this is a very important topic. Employers are taking a more innovative approach to wellness than they ever have before. Part of that is because of the necessity to create an environment where people want to come back into an office space to collaborate and be with their peers periodically. I have seen more cafeteria plans, massages, on-staff doctors, physicians, assistants, and other initiatives like that to help take care of employees, and I think we’re going to see a lot more of that happening.

JLE is considering some of those options today for its people. Some of the things that we’re doing here are enhanced cafeteria planning, providing additional benefits, giving employees more one-on-one time with their supervisors to talk about not just things that affect their professional experience, but their personal experience. We are investing in our supervisors and training them on how to handle situations when employees come to them. What can they talk about? What should they avoid? There’s ongoing education that post-COVID is becoming a more prominent piece to the human capital equation than what we had before.

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?

I think it’s not necessarily what the headline reads, but when you dissect the content of what’s behind some of these messages and get to the undercurrent, the underlying question is do people like their job? COVID has changed everything. It has allowed us to reevaluate who we are as individuals and we all were given time to think about these things in isolation. After coming back into the workforce, we’re now re engaging in what we were doing on a daily basis. Leaders, do your people love what they do? Are they given the tools to be successful? Are you compensating them right?

Retention of key employees and all your wanted associates is a manageable business risk. We’ve proven that. It’s about communicating to people because when you communicate it implies trust, and trust is very important. It’s about listening to them in a way that enables you to define a solid strategy with your people first. That’s it. Fortunately, we have not seen the great resignation at JLE, but this doesn’t mean we never will. I believe that taking a proactive step and engaging your people and measuring their happiness somehow is the most important step to take for better retention.

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?

“We don’t aspire to our goals, we fall to the level of our systems.” — James Clear, Atomic Habits. It’s important when looking at problems, that we look at complexity and distill it.

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.

Profound composer and musician, Hans Zimmer. His work truly creates emotion within.

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.

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