30 Fastest Growing Private Companies to Watch 2020

A Gaffer in changing the landscape of work and future workplace by providing innovative people and leadership solutions: WorkMatters Consulting & Training


“Our mission is to help organizations, leaders, and employees adapt and thrive in the changing world of work and the future workplace.”

Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing technology and business environment, an organization needs to give continuous attention to its growth and development.

Many organisations are looking more closely at the challenges and opportunities bring presented by the so-called ‘future of work’ by making changes to future-proof their business, their leaders, and their workforces. These organizations are identifying the practical and relevant implications of advances in AI, roboitics and other future of work trends for their own specific situations. Moving beyond the hype and noise around these subjects over recent years, they are now proactively working at preparing and adapting for the next phase of work and business performance for their specific context and industry.

Finding the right consulting partner can really help to bring external perspectives in this area and to support and compliment a firm’s own internal capability and expertise.

Irish based, leadership and organizational consulting group, WorkMatters Consulting, is focused on helping business and HR leaders deliver their people, leadership, and organizational goals in the changing world of work. The firm is supported by an international and multidisciplinary team of senior specialists and partners in their relevant fields. They provide innovative consulting and training solutions across five core service lines - future of work consulting, organizational agility, people strategy, culture change, and leadership development.

In Conversation with Kevin Empey, Founder, and Managing Director WorkMatters

What was the reason behind the genesis of WorkMatters?

WorkMatters was formed to help business leaders and their teams successfully manage their specific future of work challenges including digital transformation and workforce transformation; the firm provides innovative consulting services and development programs to clients across all industry sectors. Through our training and consulting work, we focus on five core service lines that we have found organizations typically need to solve for as they navigate the changing world of work future of work definition and change management, organizational agility, people strategy, culture change, and leadership development.

How successful was your first project? Please share the experience.

For a client in the insurance sector, WorkMatters helped to identify the key people, cultural and leadership changes it needed to make to deliver on their digital transformation and business change program successfully. The company was making all the right structural and technology changes for the delivery of their digital strategy. However, the underlying culture and leadership behaviors were still primarily rooted in their traditional, historically successful ways of doing things in the past. With a few exceptions, they were trying to apply a conventional ‘analog’ people and cultural operating model to the new ‘digital’ world that they were trying to create. Our job was to help them identify these critical gaps and to align the people and leadership aspects with the new business model and ways of working for the future.

What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?

When providing services in the ‘Future of Work’ arena, there is a danger of the subject being too remote, too generic, or futuristic and not relevant to the more short term and practical issues faced by an organization today. One of the challenges, and also the most enjoyable aspects of the work, is to help people create that ‘bridge’ between where they are today to where the future of work is heading in their specific industry, company, and role. You then have to develop practical services and solutions that make sense for your client so that they bring tangible value to them and their teams. Every engagement, every conversation, every training experience must be about helping people to future-proof their organizations and workforces in authentic and practical ways.

“Earning trust and respect of consumers is a significant phenomenon.” How do you interpret this statement?

Trust is critical in any relationship and even more so these days because not every solution or initiative you work on with a client is always clear and straightforward. When designing for the future you are making informed choices, trading off short term and future priorities and often experimenting with new approaches that might sometimes challenge previously successful ways of the past. The related aspects of commitment, consistency, and quality are also helped by having a straightforward purpose at the outset in what you are about and in how you help others. Our mission is simply to help organizations, leaders, and employees thrive in the changing world of work and the future workplace. By basing everything we do day to day on that simple purpose and intent, we tend to make decisions and deliver services in a genuine, consistent, and authentic way.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

We will continue with the development and consolidation of our consulting and training offerings with ongoing growth mostly through strategic partnerships, so that we can scale and deliver our services and solutions more effectively. We will also continue developing practical tools including online training products and solutions to enable clients to sustain their own transformation and development journeys. We are working on the expansion right now of our ‘personal agility model’ which is an exciting approach for people to take ownership over their own future of work experience and career rather than being passive, reactive passengers on that journey! Hopefully, we will continue to be a leading source of practical support and insight for organizations and their workforces as they transition towards their own future of work.

The Driving Force Behind the Success of WorkMatters

Kevin Empey is the Founder and Managing Director of WorkMatters. He has specialized in organization development, leadership development, and people strategy for over 25 years. Kevin developed an international career in people consulting and leadership development, working across a wide range of organizations, sectors, and geographies. Before establishing WorkMatters, he founded and led several start-up companies and was a Partner and Director in Willis Towers Watson, where he led the firm’s HR and Future of Work consulting business in Ireland.

He has served on various national policy groups in Ireland including the Irish Civil Service’s Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC), various Worker of the Future task forces and the Irish Labour Market Council. He has also won several national and international awards for his work in the areas of social entrepreneurship, employment policy and ‘Future of Work’ research.

“Every engagement, every conversation, every training experience is simply about helping people to future-proof their organizations and their workforces in authentic and practical ways.”