Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Bogar Alonso
  • 28 september 2016

PSFK’s Editorial Roundtable series takes its inspiration from the traditional roundtable: bringing together industry insiders to share their insights on emerging and compelling trends in an idea-friendly manner. PSFK guides the discussion and our roundtable helps guide the future.


In the crusade to attract, please, and retain consumers, companies have lost sight of their most precious capital: their employees. The PSFK Future of Work Report reveals that it’s high time for all companies—whether operating in a converted loft or from the top floor of a Midtown skyscraper—to adopt a people-first workplace. Or, as our report tells it, “corporations run the risk of fragmenting internally if they continue to separate employees from the high-value service they provide customers.”

Although many organizations have acknowledged the need to respond accordingly—some perhaps more enthusiastically than others—the matter remains: how do you go about adopting a people-first workplace? And, perhaps more importantly, if somewhat paradoxically, how do you go about enforcing one?

Our Future of Work experts include:

Jacqueline Kurdziel | Head of Marketing & Communications of Managed By Q  – “the operating system for offices,” Q helps keep offices of all sizes and capacities running efficiently and smoothly. In addition to reimagining the workplace, Q has spearheaded its own Future of Work discussions.

Mike Del Ponte | Chief Hydration Officer of Soma – makers of smart and elegantly designed hydration products who value the personal development of their employees as much as they do the clarity of their water.

Devin Cole | Director of Business Development of Workbar – a flexible workplace company that caters to teams, entrepreneurs and mobile professionals.

Lisa Skye Hain | Co-Founder of Primary – the innovative, Bloomberg-recognized, and wellness-focused coworking community that is offering a body-first differentiation to WeWork.

Jonathan Hanwit | Co-Founder & CEO of thinkPARALLAX – a purpose-building creative agency that has received its fair share of accolades and attention for its employee empowerment and its PARALLAXploration initiative, a company-sponsored travel program that allows the thinkPARALLAX team to pursue personal and professional enrichment.

Itamar Goldminz | Head of People Operations at AltSchool – an educational startup comprised of a collaborative community of micro-schools that values its company mission as much as it does ensuring its employees receive frequent and transparent feedback and performance reviews.

(Below is the third part of a four-part editorial).


How does the people-first workplace change the conventions of hiring? If companies are investing in their workers through career development, in-house mentorships, and employee idea incubation, might hiring managers not have to turn so readily to outside avenues to fill leadership and executive roles? How else might the job hiring process change?

Itamar Goldminz | Head of People Operations at AltSchool

“Hiring from the outside is not intrinsically a bad thing. The value of true diversity in contributing to better business outcomes is becoming more and more apparent. What we’re really looking for is diversity in opinions, perspective, and experience, but these are tough to assess and measure, so we default to more easily observable attributes that we believe to be positively correlated with them such as ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. If we consider the true diversity that we’re looking for, it’s easy to see why promoting exclusively from within can hurt as just as much as promoting exclusively from the outside. I suspect that we’ll start seeing the hiring process changing to account for that and focus more on evaluating the true value that we hope to get from hiring someone externally.”

Lisa Skye Hain | Co-Founder of Primary

“If a company is investing their time, money and resources to help their employees excel in their role, they should first be looking from within when wanting to fill a leadership or executive role. Not only does this make sense from a financial and logistical perspective, but it also promotes the feeling that there is potential for growth among their employees which is important for morale.

If no one within the company fills the requirements for the leadership or executive role, it would serve the company to ask for referrals from within. Cultural fit is extremely important in a people-first workplace, and you have a higher chance of finding a candidate that fits the company culture when they are referred by someone from within, than from a job board where anyone can post their resume.”

Jonathan Hanwit | Co-Founder & CEO of thinkPARALLAX

“Just as we’ve made a quantum shift in the nature of the work we do, the hiring and recruitment process is in a state of flux at moment, so I think the answer to this question is still evolving—and rapidly.

As part of the rise of the people-centered workforce, companies now have reason to retain employees. Meeting the basic needs of employees (the ones at the base of Maslow’s famous pyramid), is no longer enough; employees need to feel self-actualized.

Knowing that good employees (with good ideas) can and will be scooped up by competition if they aren’t treated well, companies can and should invest in their employees. (If you’re betting in a poker game, you don’t want to lose the good cards that are in your hand.) Successful organizations keep employees happy, stimulated and have a healthy work-life balance.

However, as technology, social media, mobile learning, and hyper-connectivity have made it incredibly easy for people to learn, dream, and imagine new horizons, this puts pressure on companies to constantly keep an eye out for new talent.

At thinkPARALLAX, we strive to cultivate great relationships with our valued employees and invest in and empower them. This has turned many of our employees into our strongest ambassadors—and our employee referral program has led us to some of our best and most efficient hires. However, we also actively spend a great deal of time networking and reaching out to potential employees—whether there is an open position available or not—so we can have a talent pool to pull from when we need it.

The future of recruitment is still a bit cloudy, as technology is reinventing it as we speak. (ex: the line between contractor and employee has become increasingly cloudy in recent years.) But in any case, a good human-first workplace absolutely makes recruitment easier.”

Devin Cole | Director of Business Development of Workbar

“What we see on the ground is that many companies, especially creative companies, are moving in the direction of having a pool of skilled workers that they can draw upon when they need project support. This pool is made up of contract workers who have a long term relationship with the client but also work with other companies as needed. This is a different twist on a people centric workplace, but it functions on many of the same principles. For example, a company that works with a pool of freelancers must develop a strong connection that will allow them to call in individuals when they are needed. To do this, employers provide workshops, networking events and skill building opportunities in much the same way that Workbar does for our members.”

Jacqueline Kurdziel | Head of Marketing & Communications of Managed By Q

“At Q, we’re evolving our employee experience. Most importantly, as we mature as an organization and as a business, we are able to increase the attention paid to career development. Internal mobility is a big upcoming initiative for us. We want to both attract world-class talent and develop and retain the team that got us here.

We’re excited to announce that just this last month we hired a Chief People Officer Rochelle DiRe to lead important initiatives like these.”

Mike Del Ponte | Chief Hydration Officer of Soma

“People-first companies have a huge advantage when hiring. When we print out and show job candidates the long list of ways that Soma invests in its team—from in-office mediation and workouts to 1:1 professional coaching to ‘work from anywhere weeks’ where they can work anywhere in the world—they understand that Soma isn’t offering them a job, we’re offering them an investment in a purposeful life.”

Download PSFK’s Future of Work report to gain insight into the policies and tools that leading organizations are adopting to attract and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders today. Take advantage of the full findingssummary presentation, workplace visions and exclusive articles to get your company up to speed on the transformational workplace strategies that are driving innovation in business.


Lead Image: Luc Legay| CC | Imaged altered and cropped

Note: If you would like to participate in a coming PSFK Editorial Roundtable, please contact us here.

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