Hybrid Work

Future of Work Pioneers - Christina Murphy

Christina Murphy's vision is the perfect example of a progressive workplace. These tips will help you improve communication and create an open dialogue in the workplace, forming a more authentic environment.

Over the last two years, we have interviewed 2,000+ Future of Work Pioneers who have shared their insights into new work paradigms. Today we feature Christina Murphy as part of our series. Enjoy!

Dr. Christina Murphy is currently the Vice President of Human Resources for Genesis Research. She is an HR executive and consultant who specializes in all facets of talent management, talent acquisition, and outreach, HR strategy, people analytics, business process transformation, and HR technology. Over the past two years, Dr. Murphy had been focused on transforming and implementing new technologies and directing an organization-wide initiative to support employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the public sector. She has worked in the field of human resources with organizations domestically and internationally such as Genesis Research, NJ TRANSIT, Booz Allen & Hamilton, CenterLight Health System, Avaya, Cognizant Technology Solutions, CityMD and Century 21 Real Estate LLC to name a few. She has her Bachelor’s in American Studies from Hofstra University, a Master’s in HR Education, and Doctorate in Education both from Fordham University. For many years, she was an instructor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and an MBA professor at Touro College in New York City. She currently resides in New Jersey.

I think the Future of Work is… realizing the nexus between empowered employees and business growth to the extent that employers are promoting trust and accountability. A values shift has occurred since the pandemic whereby employers had to trust that the work would get done in a remote setting versus the comfort in knowing you showed up to the office each day.

What were the top three challenges you faced when Covid-19 began in 2020? 

As an HR executive in the public sector, my top three were, one, pivoting the cadence of work from a physical place to a virtual space, two, protecting our employees from illness and supporting them if they did, and three, being able to quickly accept trusting your employees to be self-reliant, disciplined, and motivated while switching gears so quickly.

How has the return to work been for you and your organization thus far? Have you landed on a policy? 

I have changed positions during the pandemic and have gone from an organization that struggled with the remote concept to a new organization that leaves the option of where they work to the employee so they can perform at their optimal level; we have many employees dispersed globally.

What are the top three most influential decisions you’ve made over the past two years in managing teams and culture? 

I look at these as principles, rather than decisions, however, they are to trust, listen, and lead with kindness and compassion. The past two years have been challenging for everyone, we need to provide the space and understanding to reflect, heal and rebound from our circumstances. People were affected in many different ways, some positive and some not. The pandemic has taught us that time, and how we spend it, is different for everyone--some have flourished in a remote setting and others have struggled. What I find we do very well at Genesis Research is to provide options to our employees so they can work at their best and manage life in a manner that works for them.

What is your current workplace strategy, and how did you determine it? 

"Our current workplace strategy is to connect with one another in the manner we feel most comfortable."

Some are truly remote and not in the vicinity of our office locations so using technology and creative meetups are crucial. For those that were accustomed to working remote but are craving a change of scenery, we do have events and new programs that would draw people back—maybe not full-time, but enough to reacquaint themselves with what they did appreciate about the office—impromptu meetings, lunches, cultural events, and meeting new employees for the first time to name a few.

Do you have teams within your organization that have different space, cultural or organizational needs? If so, can you provide insight into how you anticipate or are currently managing that? 

Our organization has been very progressive in understanding and listening to the needs of our employees. During the pandemic, life events did not cease, and stress did not disappear. With the pandemic and the new shift in working and living, concerns such as burn-out and mental health are front and center of keeping our employees at their healthiest and happiest. 

We are shifting to a more flexible paid time off model and added the last week of the calendar year as a time for all of us to rest, relax and recharge as one example.

How are you working with your teams to help them design and manage team workplace policies? 

We have an open dialogue with our staff and management. Ideas are always being shared, we take the common themes, and work to find solutions and options that will meet the needs of many. After our annual employee engagement survey, we created a team of individuals from various levels, disciplines, and locations to help provide feedback and solutions to the ongoing challenges of creating better communication channels, combatting burn-out, providing development opportunities, and recognizing and rewarding employees in such a dispersed environment.

How much flexibility do you plan on or are you currently giving employees regarding where, when, and how they work? 

In short, a great deal of flexibility. We believe in bringing your whole self to your work, all the passion, authenticity, and drive that makes up who you are. Whether from their bedroom at home, our offices in Hoboken, NJ or Newcastle, UK, or from a location that brings you joy, if you bring your full self, energized and eager to accomplish great things, the surroundings are up to the employee to determine what works best for them.

What does the purpose and vision for an ‘office’ look like from your perspective in the next five years? 

I believe the office of tomorrow is a space to gather, share, collaborate, celebrate, and connect with your colleagues. It needs to have purpose and needs to have meaning for enhancing the work, not just a place where employees are expected to show up just to be seen and accounted for. Results-based management is what we value, not office attendance compliance.

What is one tip you’d give to your peers or have you learned from your peers?

“If a remote or hybrid model is working for your employer and employees, don’t change it or revert to the way it used to be, make it better, make it irresistible, make it a must-have.”

Can you share one prediction for the Future of Work that you’d strongly bet on? 

Companies will no longer be able to have implied control over how and where employees work unless they want to see engagement plummet, attrition skyrocket, and business continuity suffer. Leaders will have to listen, respond, and involve their employees in shaping the culture of the workplace if they want to see their businesses flourish and attract outstanding talent.

Genesis Research is an international research organization that provides scientifically rigorous, tech-enabled solutions to pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. www.genesisrg.com

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