The future is 'one big adventure', says Belinda Morris. Work isn't somewhere we go any more, it's something we do, and how we do it changes every...
Future of Work Pioneers - David Kroes
David Kroes utilizes tools to develop an effective game plan for leaders, teams, and growth organizations with an approach of “one size fits one”. What do you think? Does one size fit 'all' or 'one'?
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 David Kroes as part of our series. Enjoy!
David Scott Kroes is a HR professional with a specialization in executive, leadership, and organizational development, with over 25 years of experience working and consulting in companies at various stages of their development (early stage, high growth, restructure, mergers & acquisitions).
With an approach of “one size fits one” to creative solutions, David utilizes multiple tools and perspectives to develop an effective and iterative game plan for leaders, teams, and growth organizations. All with a flair of whimsy and fun.
How has the return to work been for you and your company thus far? Have you landed on a policy?
At the onset of the pandemic, we implemented a “flexible work environment” with the goal towards productivity. We empowered teams to determine how best to work whether onsite, remote, or hybrid. Our approach is to make our offices more of a destination rather than a requirement. For our roles that require onsite work, we have accommodated flexible schedules. Overall, we have experimented and tried different solutions to determine what works best. And we are still iterating!
What were the top three challenges you faced when Covid-19 began in 2020?
- Ensuring productivity is maintained.
- As a bio-science company, a third of our employees need to work in and around our lab. It’s important that we accommodate everyone as best we can, considering that much of this work requires to be onsite.
- Connectivity and engagement with each other and across teams. We played with a lot of Zoom features and events, like happy hours wearing silly hats and making wacky toasts!
What are the top three most influential decisions you’ve made over the past two years in managing teams and culture?
- Implementing a Flexible Work Environment
- Accommodating and supporting employees as a matter of course. We celebrated resiliency, openly discussed mental health, and encouraged employees to share their concerns, frustrations, and solutions to do better in employee forums, team meetings, etc.
- Establishing a Talent Development Program that cascades feedback throughout the organization
What is your current workplace strategy and how did you determine it?
"Our approach is to transform the workplace into a welcoming place, a place where an employee would want to come to – kind of like a clubhouse for employees."
Do you anticipate different teams within your organization having different space, cultural or organizational needs? And if so, can you provide insight into how you anticipate and manage that?
Flexibility and nimbleness are key to how we look at the work environment. We quickly adapt as budget and resources allow us to meet the requests of a team – and keep an attitude of “let’s try it and see how it works”. And learn to improve upon it.
How are you working with team leaders to help them design and manage team workplace policies?
By providing a solutions-orientation along with an openness to listening and experimenting. Acknowledgment of a team’s needs and looking for the best ways to accommodate meeting those needs.
How much flexibility do you plan on/do you give individual employees regarding where, when, and how they work?
As much as we can with the caveat that productivity is our metric to monitor. If it’s working, continue. If it doesn’t, stop. If something needs to change, start a new solution.
What does the idea of an ‘office’ look like for you in 5 years?
I have always thought the future work environment would be oriented towards a place you would want to come and hang out in – a place to share ideas, have fun, and engage with your co-workers. The office would be comfortable and inviting with all the tools you need to work effectively and generate ideas and passion for what you do. Like a library, a café, a bar, or a lounge all rolled up into a stimulating space to work with others and get stuff done.
What is one tip you’d give to your peers or have you learned from your peers?
"Allow for experimentation. Actively listen to the needs of everyone in the organization. Provide autonomy wherever, whenever possible. Be flexible and accommodating!"