Jen’s a rebel who enjoys scaling businesses, being intentional about cultural development and is obsessed with developing high performing teams and leaders.

Based in New York, she is currently the Chief of Staff to the CHRO at Zip Co, a high growth ASX-listed fintech (ASX:ZIP), and leads the People & Culture teams across North America and International Markets.

Prior to this, she led and built the People & Culture foundations for a number of Australian tech start-ups, including high growth scale up SafetyCulture and earlier in her career was a Senior Management Consultant in Deloitte's consulting practice.

What does a better world of work look like to you?

A better world of work for me is when we don’t even use the word ‘work’. In fact I’d like to break up with the ‘future of work’. How do we create a place and space where there’s care, connection and growth like any other community people choose to join?

Wellness is now a large part of the total compensation package - how are we creating a space where people leave better than when they first joined it; day 1 and day to day?

A better world is where there is choice. Choose your own adventure whether it be your career moves, employment constructs (1:many vs 1:1), when and where you want to work, and reward for your impact.

What is your business doing to build a better world of work?

Those who know me well know I’m not a fan of policies or rules. Why hire smart creative people then tell them what to do!? However, I do love policies that set the tone for the business and lead the way. Zip launched a set of inclusive policies which signal how we care for our people and how Zipsters are empowered to make decisions around their wellbeing. Examples include:

  • Removing eligibility criterias on all leave policies, zero, nada, all eligible from day 1
  • Paid early loss of pregnancy leave, 2 weeks paid leave for pregnancy loss within the first 20 weeks
  • Return part time get paid full time for 3 months when primary carers return from parental leave
  • Paid domestic violence leave, 2 weeks paid leave, no questions asked
  • Fully covered medical insurance for Domestic Partnerships, bring your whole self to work
  • Paid birthday leave in the month of your birthday, #1 request from Zipsters, got to listen to the people
  • Wellness stipend for any subscription across learning, development, health, physical and mental fitness.

What are your predictions for how work will shift over the next few years?

There are a couple of big global unlocks for which we all need to ready ourselves to solve; and quite honestly I’m excited:

How are you approaching solving a labour shortage?

  1. Labour shortages have resulted in increasing wages, in some instances to all time, unsustainable highs
  2. Acquiring talent from the traditional and same sources is no longer an option, so people are going to need to level up their sourcing creativity and invest in developing those from different industries and backgrounds

The definition of the payment construct is changing, how are you keeping up?

  1. What people value as ‘payment’ or return on investment for their time has tectonically shifted
  2. Payment constructs were typically with one employer and a base salary + incentives
  3. Going forward the expectation is all around ‘choice’, ‘flexibility’ and ‘instant’. This could look like multiple employment relationships, fixed and variable compensation in different currencies (hello crypto), more regular performance based incentives (think quarterly, project or milestone-based) and no eligibility criteria on benefits

Dating is the new form of engagement, what’s your next play?

  1. Boutique is the new mass. A finite version of anything is more valuable - case in point: NFTs
  2. It’s the same for the employee experience. En masse is so the same - instead, tailoring the experience for certain teams, locations and employee personas is a must.
  3. Thinking through how you can personalise interactions by customer personas/segments will be pivotal to create a future in which people want to work

What is the biggest challenge you see for companies who want to improve the experience of work?

It takes time, intentionality and investment. We don’t all have the luxury of this, in fact many don’t have any of these. Some tips for those looking to do more with less:

  • Identify someone in your business who is the sponsor for people experience (doesn’t have to be HR, in fact often better if not!)
  • Give them regular time and access with your leadership team
  • Speak to your people, after all they are your customers
  • Write down your goals and commitments, they don’t have to be huge. You’re 47% more likely to do something if you write it down, so it would be rude not to give yourself that head start.

What is one piece of advice you would share with businesses that are wanting to build a better world of work?

Start with the customer and work backwards. Best place to start is with your customer, your people. If you’re building a better world for them, it’s worth asking what they want.

If you don’t trust or want to hear from the people you have hired…why did you hire them?

Is there an individual you admire who you believe is building a better world of work?

I love the work Jessica Zwaan (née Hayes) is doing at Whereby building a remote first company where their team is located across the globe. She open-sources a lot of her work and I admire anyone who generously invests time in giving back to the broader tech and people ecosystem.

Know of someone who's building a better world of work?

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