How Will Company Culture Thrive in the Future of Work?

Categories: Google Workspace Industry Solutions Management Tools
How Will Company Culture Thrive in the Future of Work?

As companies start putting pen-to-paper for a return-to-work model, companies like Quantiphi are committing to a “flexible future.” But what does that mean for company culture? 

On May 25, C2C will discuss corporate culture in the future of work with Kelly Ducourty, VP, GTM strategy and operations with Google, Brigette McInnis-Day, VP people operations at Google Cloud, and Peter High of Metis Strategy. 

They’ll cover questions like: 

  • What does the future hold for work-life integration as we return to the office?

  • How are businesses reconsidering approaches to talent planning, learning, and innovation?

  • What lessons learned over the past year can be used to address wellness and employee burnout?

To tap into this more in advance of the Navigator, C2C sat down with Laurie Klausner, global head of marketing at Quantiphi, to discuss what culture means to Quantiphi, a global business with most of its workforce in India. Given the dire situation, and a need to ensure cohesion as a company, Klausner shared how they view culture now, supporting their multicultural team and what the future holds for work-life balance. 

 

Listen to the conversation below.

 

 


 

Full transcript of the conversation below 

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C 

Hi, everyone. I'm here with Laurie Klausner from Quantiphi, and we're talking about the future of work culture and how this changed our world. We're going to kick it off by just trying to understand a baseline of what company culture means and what success looks like? Laurie?
 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi 

So I think company culture is so imperative in an organization that's growing. So at Quantiphi, one of the first things you'll hear when you join our team is that we refer to ourselves as the Quantiphi family.  I think you don't necessarily know how to take that until you're here for a little while, and you realize that despite geographies, despite timezones, despite people from all different kinds of backgrounds, everybody really cares about each other, much like you hope is happening in a normal family. But it's really a phenomenal part of Quantiphi, and I have actually yet to meet anyone in person. But I still feel like I've really gotten to know people and I think that company culture comes from the four founders all the way down through everyone in the organization.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

How do you think, you know, enabling all these different tools and using Workspace and other ways that have helped you all come together as an organization? How has that sort of behavior in that pivot improved outcomes? And what do you think you guys will continue doing past this phase?

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi 

That was a lot that you just asked there, and I'll try and break it down a little bit. But so in the first part of your question, the tools, so we're a company that's based entirely on all of the G-Suite tools. So I think it was expanding the way we were using them already. 

So I think Google meet, like you and I are talking right now from two different states, two different places, it makes it very seamless, of course, it's not the same as if we were sitting together over lunch. But I think it's pretty good. It’s pretty easy to understand when someone's talking and you know when there are multiple people on a call, how to make sure you're communicating right or using the raise a hand. 

So I think as far as getting together, it's a very powerful toolset that we have in front of us. I think we have used it extensively throughout our organization prior to COVID. 

But I think as far as meetings, I think so many meetings that were in-person have now obviously shifted to being remote and online. I think, initially, people were wary, it's different, right? And I think you always naturally have people who talk more than others who have more confidence. But I think we have found ways to really try and draw people into the conversation, as you would do in person, we're finding ways to do that using the tools. But as far as we use Google Chat, you know, so I mean, you're constantly hearing from people regardless of where they are, and I think that's really been very powerful and allowed our organization that is global, still feel very connected.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Yeah, so it sounds like some of those behaviors and those tools will be things that will be used, even if we start moving into more of a hybrid environment.

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi 

Yeah, Quantiphi is firmly committed to a flexible future. So our HR team and talent team are putting together what that looks like. But I don't think there will ever be a mandate for most positions at Quantiphi to be five days a week in the office. I think there will be a lot more flexibility. I think what we've learned, and as many organizations have is, you can have people be incredibly productive and work on their own schedules around the sort of parameters that you have dogs, kids conflicts, you know, laundry machines breaking, you know, whatever is going on, people can still do some incredible bodies of work. 

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Mm-hmm. Yeah, definitely. I think that's one of the biggest lessons that some of these bigger companies have learned. You know, there's been a little bit of a movement from some of the smaller startup companies to say, you know, there is a better way that we can all work together, we can shift things to people's work, preferential work styles, and make we've learned that people can still be credibly productive despite the environments that they're in. 

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi 

 

Yeah, I would just add one. I do think that it's, it's paramount to have flexibility. But I do think there is, there is something missing, and I'm just speaking from my personal experience from having, you know, for over 25 years of typically being in an office and often the headquarters of an organization. 

I think there are small things that just can't be replicated, and I think, as I said, Quantiphi is doing a great job. We have Zen days to allow people to step back from meetings; you know, we have all kinds of connection points that we've tried to make. But it's still not the same, and in fact, you know, there are a few of us who are past our second shot and past the two-week point, and for the first time, since I've been working, we'll be physically getting together and one of the offices here in Massachusetts.  I’m really excited, even if it's just a handful of people to have that synergy that happens when you're in person that is important. 

So my hope, my personal hope, you know, for my team, and the way I think that Quantiphi works, and the way we will work with our partners and customers going forward, is that it is a hybrid. A blend of, you have flexibility, and you can accomplish your job, whatever that looks like, but that there is still some mechanism for people to physically get together because I do think other things come out of that that is really valuable.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Oh, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. I mean, so many of those hallway conversations at times is where the best ideas come up, or, you know, the morning coffee, and you can talk about your days, and you get to know your colleagues as humans. That gives you a little bit more appreciation for the impact they're bringing to the organization, which ultimately leads to better productivity and outcomes. 

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

Our team here in North America, most of our team is based in India, but a fair number of us, a few 100 people are here in North America, and every other Friday we have a T.G.I F. The first part of it is always just dedicated to who's new who joined and, you know, they have to say a fun fact about themselves with their favorite foods are but, then it gets conversations going about, Oh, you like this? Or you want to bungee jump? Oh, I bungee jump, you know. And so then it starts the sidebar conversations that you're right, that normally would just happen in person. So, you know, it's, you know, a mechanism to get there, but not quite the same. 

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Yeah, yeah. You touched on something really interesting there. So a lot of your teams are in India, too, right now, right? How are you guys dealing with, you know, the upheaval that your teammates are facing over there and ensuring a strong culture and instill trying to maintain and thrive? From a business perspective?

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

 

Yeah, we spend a lot of time trying to ensure right that it's true; I think 80 or 85% of our team is based in India. So there are separate peer groups that have been established, really to help with support, specifically around COVID, how to find resources, if people know where oxygen is and what hospitals have room, how to find certain drugs that are needed at this point, and even just support for somebody else to talk to during this time. 

 

Then the company they're really trying to ensure those team members, whether it's themselves who are sick, or somebody directly in their family has support to step away from their roles for a short period of time, with no worry about their roles. Quantiphi consistently makes it clear that taking care of yourself, taking care of your family, that's the most important thing. They’re really trying to ensure that people understand they can take that time and not worry about if I need to take two weeks off because I'm sick, or I'm caring for a parent that my job will be threatened that none of those things are worries at this point. I think that’s really shown compassion as an organization. It's hard to read some of the things going on, and here are some of the numbers of people just on our team who are out sick; it can be very overwhelming.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, how do you then, you know, as a receiver of some of that trauma and like hearing those experiences of your colleagues, like how do you also maintain and continue to thrive and ensure that you're, you know, able to pause and digest that?

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

Yeah, and I think that's some of what we try and take these monthly Zen days.  The goal here is really to have no meetings on a certain day and really be able to step back and think about what kind of work can I accomplish because I'm not on a call? And also, are there things I can do to help someone else or learn something else? I think that can be really valuable, where we're trying to ensure that even within my marketing team, within our sales team, and within the service delivery, the greater team, that there is an overlap of skills so that somebody can take that time away so we can ensure as best we can, at this time, that we are still having the output that Quantiphi is looking to deliver. 

So it's tricky, and I think you just, you know, certainly as a team leader myself, you know, we always just have to be cognizant of what somebody is going through. I'm sitting here in Massachusetts, but you know, someone in my team and Bangalore, Mumbai, or Trivandrum, they're experiencing something wholly different. You know, they haven't left their house in 19 days, and food is being delivered. 

But, you know, it's just you have to think about that, you know, if I'm out walking my dog, I have to realize, you know, I'm lucky, but they haven't had that chance to clear their head. So maybe they need to not join one extra meeting today, you know, to find ways to make sure that they can have some control, and still, you know, be able to focus because it can be hard, it's hard if you really don't have, you know, some outlets that you normally would.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Oh, my gosh, absolutely. I love that Quantiphi does the Zen days; that’s a really smart way to handle a hybrid environment during a really, you know, bizarre time that has caused a lot of upheavals and in many people's lives.

 Do you think that that has improved productivity or business outcomes overall, though, having the different tools and different ways to sort of manage all of these other parts that were once thought of as “this is your home life, you leave this here, and you come to work, and you're you are 100% plugged in?”  Now there seems to be a shift in mindset to coming to work as your whole self and will support you in whatever way that looks? Can you talk to us a little bit about how that has improved outcomes in terms of just people feeling like they are valued, so they want to be more productive?

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

I do think so. I do think there have been so many positive things that have resulted here. 

We are in the process of adopting Google's #Iamremarkable programming, which is the empowerment of women or underserved voices within an organization. In fact, we have a kickoff session for that starting next week, and we have our first batch of people who are going to go through that training, you know, so I think there are ways to be heard. 

We also have implemented physical programs. So it's a five or six o'clock on a number of different afternoons, there's sort of stretching, or Pilates, or some dance moves that are all done virtually. One of the women on our team, it was something she had studied in college, and she just sort of raised her hand and said, it could be good, everybody sitting so much, how about if we try these programs? And you know, so it's small things.  Last Friday, we had everybody just making these dance moves together. It's good. No one was recording like this because it wasn't necessarily pretty, but it was really human, and I think you touched on that word a minute ago, right? Everybody was also laughing at the end, too, right? It was it didn't matter if you had the right moves, there were dogs involved in kids, and everybody was just jumping around in their kitchens. It was really great. It was a really terrific program to have some levity, too. 

I think as far as tools and productivity; I think we have absolutely found that people can be productive anywhere and in any way, right?  I think the one thing that makes me so encouraged about Quantiphi, and the way we are working with our partners, the way we're going to market, the future, is that I see here is that all of the good things will remain everything good that we have gained from you know, this remote time, this time working in a very different environment. 

Then we'll be able to layer on the things that we're missing, like traveling to see people when it's safe again, being in person; I think all of that will just complement the work structure that we've been able to have for the last year.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

In terms of the future of work and the conversation that we're going to be having with Quantiphi and other partners in June, what do you think some of the topics are going to center around? Can you share with our community anything they should be aware of going into that conversation?

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

 

Yeah, I mean, I think the conversation with Ritesh and the other leaders that you're going to be able to speak with, I think they're going to hit on so many really important themes.

I think the main one is that we will really embrace everything that's worked, right, we everybody's become flexible. Everybody had to go through these pivots, you know, everyone, whether it's from shifting events to shifting the way we meet and communicate. 

Travel was a very big part of Quantiphi, obviously, as I've mentioned, we're a global company, and both are in person, our customer meetings, our partner meetings, everything was, you know, traveling so you gain some of the ability of not having to necessarily take a trip for one meeting where you would have, and I think people will have more things come together when they do get on a plane. Then when they do, you know, go to a new office, they'll have a number of things set up to make that valuable. I think people will really carve out that time for the connections, where you might travel and then right away hop to get back home. Then, because people have been home, maybe they'll spend a little bit longer. 

I think some of the other themes are just the way we have learned to embrace these tools. We'll continue to use those. I think the way companies have really set out targets for what's reasonable, it's just it's a little bit different, right? 

I think we will have to find a way to ensure that people do sort of shut-down at the end of the day, too.  I find that as most of my direct reports are in India, and well, it's fantastic. They're responding to me when I ask a question, a lot of times, I say, “Okay, now, now stop talking to me till tomorrow, because, you know, it's 11 o'clock at night, your time.”

It’s great that the technology is there, but I do think we're going to have to find ways to have boundaries so that people don't feel the burden to respond immediately to everything. Maybe it's ways that we'll flag information, you know, messages can come in different ways, if something is truly urgent, versus, “Hey, this was on my mind, so I want to put it in your window, or your email, but you don't have to think about this right away.”  I think we'll have to find a way to be sensitive that people don't feel wrong for walking away from work for some, you know, for periods of time, because that's really important.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

I couldn't agree more, and I'm hoping that some of these habits and some of these learnings actually continue, post-pandemic, right, then we don't start defaulting back to what we've always known. 

That's sort of the concern; I think that many people who are kind of on the execution side of work are thinking about like we've developed different boundaries and habits now. But how long will that last? And will that change? With consulting and traveling coming back, is that pace going to also return, or some of those learnings going to also filter into that? If we've seen that business can still be productive and successful as Quantiphi has been, then is that something that we can ensure for the long term? What do you think?

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

I do think so. I think that's something that Ritesh will probably cover, but I do think we will see, travel again, but I do think as you said, I think it's going to be different. 

I think it won't necessarily be Monday to Friday, every week, right? It's interesting, when I first joined, Aasif, one of the founders, and I were talking, and I said it was really weird for me to have, you know, it had been four months since I had been on a plane when I first joined Quantiphi, and I said: “it felt really weird.” It was just a very weird feeling for somebody who traveled very regularly. In the three months before the pandemic, he had made four trips to India, and three other trips, you know, massive travel time, and he said, “for right now, it's a really nice change, right, you're home, and you're grounded, and you know, have time with your family in a very different way and, of course, you're still able to work.”So I think it will look different. I think we will always travel. I think people benefit from being physically together. I think there's a connection that can happen. 

One thing Ritesh mentioned was, if in a normal sales cycle, or working with a prospect on a normal time we would have four in-person meetings to lead up to a sale. He anticipates it would be more like one or two now that it will be that hybrid we keep talking about. There'll be some meetings just like this, where you and I are talking like this, and then maybe beginning or end of the connection we would meet in person, you know, so I think that's a great thing. 

I think like we said earlier, I think leveraging all of what's good, and bringing back the things that have really been missed, that just where there's just something missing from the way we connect as people, I think that'll be great if we can get to that balance. As you said, find ways to keep some parameters around it.

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Yeah, that that sounds good. I'm really looking forward to that conversation with Ritesh and all the other partners that are going to be joining. 

Well, this has been a really great conversation. Thank you so much, Laurie. Before we wrap up, I am just curious, is there anything else that you wanted to add that we didn't get to yet?

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

So you just use the perfect word in your wrap-up there use the word curious. So that makes me think about we started a program back in February called the curious writer’s contest.

What we realized is we have some brilliant thought leaders here at Quantiphi, but there were other voices that we didn’t really hear from. We really wanted them to have a place that they could be heard, whether it was their experience with a customer, whether it's some kind of new programming that they were learning or doing, or just how they were handling COVID, or how they were where they were living and how it was going for them, so, we started this content. 

We had some simple parameters, but basically, write a blog post for us, it could be about myriad topics, and we would help them wordsmith it; we really just wanted to hear their thoughts. And we have had incredible responses. Of course, we made it a little competitive, we have a leaderboard, and we give out prizes, and we got all kinds of submissions.  From really incredibly heartfelt poems about how this was going to some brilliant really in-depth programming skills that someone's learned, and some of these are now public on our blog. 

The overwhelming response makes me realize, I think many times people just need to know where they can share, so o I think Quantiphi’s done a good job really trying to hear from everyone, even while we're all remote. I hope that the program will continue running, even if we're seeing each other five days a week; I think it's still nice to have a place that people can go and write and share thoughts in a different way. 

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

Definitely, I feel like we could talk all day, and I'm hoping that we get a chance to talk again.

 

Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi

I hope so too. Yeah. 

 

Sabina Bhasin, C2C

So everybody, be sure to come back and check out our future work is all about the partner perspective; until then, take care. 

On June 10, Ritesh Patel, Co-Founder of Quantiphi, will join Tony Safoian, CEO of SADA; Swaraj Kulkarni, CTO of MediaAgility and Tom Galizia, Global Chief Commercial Officer Alphabet Google at Deloitte, to discuss client empathy during digital exhaustion.

 

Register here: ​​​​​​

https://community.c2cglobal.com/events/the-future-of-work-and-client-empathy-51

 

Love this post, it’s such an important conversation, impacting us all right now.


Yes! Between the bi-weekly TGIFs, monthly Zen Days, and #IamRemarkable workshops, Quantiphi has invested in initiatives that keep our team engaged, connected, and productive!

I’d love to know what other organizations are doing to plan for #FutureofWork.


Hi @jaclyn_wood!

What are the “monthly Zen Days”?

Can you tell us more about it? Who is leading it? Do you have an instructor? What are you doing? And most important, can we attend it online?

😀