What an incredible week it has been for our team! First, on Wednesday, we had the honor and privilege to join an incredible lineup of speakers at Charter’s Future of the Workplace Summit. Then on Thursday, our very own Co-Founder and CFO Zach Hafner had the amazing opportunity to give a guest lecture at Harvard’s School of Public Health. And both were attended IN-PERSON…imagine that!
Attending the Charter Summit was surreal for me in so many ways. Being back in New York City after so many years was invigorating, and the event venue (Penn 1 Plaza) was an incredible space (my favorite part was the bookshelves that were secret doors to conference rooms – you had to be careful where you were leaning)! The attendees included HR leaders, startup founders, journalists, authors and thought leaders all with a common passion to shape a better workplace of the future. Here are some of my key takeaways:
- Values are all the rage. Almost every panelist mentioned how critical values are to workplace culture. And that means leading with values at every stage in the game – from recruiting, to hiring, to onboarding, re-onboarding, performance reviews, etc. And while everyone agrees it’s important, how often are we really pausing to think about our own values, what they mean in the context of our work, and proactively sharing that with others?
- Intentionality vibes. If there was one word I heard most used yesterday, it was “intentionality.” For the Josie team, we spoke about intentionality in the return-to-work from parental leave. Others discussed it in the context of return-to-office policies. Collete Stallbaumer, GM at Microsoft, shared that 38% of people don’t know why or when to come into the office. Being more intentional about office gatherings can strip away the stress of this uncertainty.
- Authentic connections are key…to building a culture of inclusivity. And this doesn’t have to be done in live meetings and Zoom calls – there are so many creative ways to connect in authentic ways. My favorite speaker of the day was Helen Kupp of the think tank Future Forum (and bestselling author of “How the Future Works”). She shared a powerful story about how PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, writes letters to parents of her senior team members to display gratitude. How cool is that?
On that last point, I was allowed to share 1 concrete takeaway for the audience to consider as they build their playbooks for 2023. Not easy to narrow to just one (and so tempted to just say “hire Josie please!”), but I ultimately doubled-down on the concept of authentic conversations. For us working parents, the action I suggested was equipping managers with a re-onboarding guide as team members make the transition back from leave. This would include strategies ranging from more tactical (think an onboarding checklist), to suggested topics for a meaningful and empowering first meeting.
I hope I did us parents proud on Wednesday! It was great to see so many leaders openly discussing the importance of caregivers in the workforce. Here’s to many more of these conversations!