Designing the digital employee experience with Jazz Hanley



Jazz Hanley, Kath Hume

Jazz Hanley 0:00
And we’ve kind of seen this trend. And once we present the data to them, what we then be able to deduce, again through conversation because you know that the insights, the data will tell you one thing, but it’s kind of one piece of the puzzle, right? Is that essentially what was happening was senior leadership had a different lifestyle. Most of them had young children and young families and they were essentially putting their kids to bed kind of, you know, having dinner with their family, and then going back on Slack and kind of doing it at work and basically, they were pushing business or work down the organisation essentially.

Voice over 0:33
This is the Reimagined Workforce podcast from Workforce transformations Australia, the podcast for people and culture professionals seeking to drive meaningful, impactful and financially sustainable workforce transformation through curiosity, creativity, and data science. In this podcast, we hear from talented and innovative people making a positive difference for their people, their organisations, and those their organisations. So they share stories and learnings to help others on their path to transforming their workforce today and tomorrow. Now, here’s your host kathua.

Kathryn Hume 1:11
Jazz Hanley is the Enterprise Sales Director at Temporal, a leading workplace analytics and insights company, making working life more productive, efficient and engaging for all. His focus for 2023 and beyond, is to create a digital working environment with the same intention as the physical. Since speaking to Jazz, I’m more aware of the significant opportunity that exists across organisations to optimise the digital tools that so many of us utilise, but may not optimise. Jazz. Welcome to the reimagined workforce podcast.

Jazz Hanley 1:44
Thank you so much for having me, Kathryn, from a very early and dark London,

Kathryn Hume 1:49
I should just explain to everybody, it’s 6:30am in London, where Jazz is and I’ve got the luxury, it’s only 5:30 in the afternoon for me. So I’m in my happy place, but very honoured that you would get up so early and twice because you also did the same thing when we had our prep meeting too. So very, very chuffed.

Jazz Hanley 2:11
Delighted, delighted to be part of it.

Kathryn Hume 2:13
Thanks so much. Would you mind starting with telling us a little bit about your career to date and where you’re heading in the future?

Jazz Hanley 2:19
Yeah, look, I’ve been extremely fortunate in in my career, especially over the kind of past 10 years or so I first entered the world of tech and startups, scale ups with an organisation in the UK called Tech Nation. So very briefly to explain, Tech Nation was an organisation which was primarily funded by central government, with the remit of making the UK the best place for entrepreneurs and tech in Europe. So pretty wide remit, but my job and I think I had the best job in the world. But I was going out meeting entrepreneurs, you know, connecting with them, seeing how I could help that was all free for entrepreneurs. And it was just a really amazing kind of place to just connect with some incredible people who were still friends today, you know, some of them and just go tackling incredible ideas and got really close into that world. But for years with the organisation transitioned from kind of a role, supplementing and working with entrepreneurs to moving to essentially trying to head up the commercial aspects of the organisation how do we move away from government funding to more privatised funding? And again, started to worry about the intricacies and the breakdown really, between kind of corporates and startups, you’ve got that kind of chasm in between kind of, wants, needs, purposes of working together. Anyway, kind of long story cut short I had an incredible job, and I really loved it, but it dawned on me to realise that I needed to go and work on the other side. I needed to actually go and work for a tech business. And I came across Temporal, as Kath explained in the in the intro, we are a digital workplace analytics platform, ultimately, our platform addresses companies who are trying to understand hybrid work, making decisions pretty blindly. But actually, there’s data in platforms like Slack, Google workspace, Microsoft 365, that can help understand the impact of hybrid decisions and how you can create a more effective digital employee experience a lot. I’ve been very fortunate and sorry, since I subsequently joined Temporal about two and a half years ago, and actually, I kind of really realised, okay, this is this is what it’s like to work in a scalar. This is what it’s like to actually work in a tech startup, very different from being on the outside for anyone who hasn’t done it. And I’m really fortunate to do what makes me feel good. And for me, that’s the most important thing in my career that I’ve been able to work in roles and positions in companies that have a great mission and I’ve been able to express myself. It doesn’t feel like work most of the time, which I think is a good sign.

Kathryn Hume 5:00
One of my colleagues Tamara gave me a book recently called Connect the Dots. And I can’t remember the person’s surname, but I’ll put it in the show notes. I know his first name is Christian, but I’ll put it in the show notes. But it’s essentially it’s about serendipity. And it’s saying that there’s a certain amount of luck in our lives. But really, some people take that luck and make something with it. And I think your story and like many people on the podcast, and that I speak to, they say how lucky they are. And I think in reality, there’s an element of taking charge and that passion that comes through, there’s that mutually beneficial outcome that comes because you obviously love what you do, but you’re obviously giving back to your organisation and the clients that you’re serving as well. And I really like that you’ve identified that to really understand your customer, that you need to go and sit in their shoes. And I really liked that you’ve moved over, and you must have an enormous amount of empathy that you’re able to bring. Now that you’ve seen both sides,

Jazz Hanley 6:00
it definitely adds a different perspective. And I was completely wrong. When I was at Tech Nation, a lot of time in what I thought entrepreneurs wanted and needed when you’re actually in the trenches, as they say, it’s a very different experience and a very different kind of pace.

Kathryn Hume 6:15
Also, reflecting on when I started my career, you can call it a career, but back in the day, I was preparing loan applications. So as people would settle on their homes, and it wouldn’t be anything for me to hold up a settlement, because I didn’t have a document that was signed, which probably wasn’t critical. And because I didn’t understand that there was probably someone on the other side with a moving truck that’s got the furniture in the back of it. And if I say no, it’s not happening until tomorrow, they don’t actually have a place to sleep that night. So I think that now that I’ve gone through that process myself, I shudder thinking about what I did to people. So I think that we’ve got a company here called Woolworths, it’s a supermarket chain, it’s one of our largest. And my understanding is that they actually get all of their corporate staff to go and work in a store. So they’ve got an understanding of what the impact is on the workforce.

Jazz Hanley 7:06
Yeah, I think it’s crucially important. And I think, there’s a lot of drive to, acquiring new customers growing in that sense, but actually ensuring that the customers that you’ve got and the clients that you’ve got that you’re creating value for them, especially in this particular area, which is just so new. we’ll get into kind of the nuances of what we do that it does require you to truly create value on both sides, rather than sell something or work with someone and then kind of move on to the next one doesn’t quite work like that, in this particular world. I think sometimes you’ve got to look in the wider context. And, you know, can you honestly come up with another area of your life which has been disrupted more, and is still disrupted? I think you look at say, in the UK anyway, restaurants, bars, travelling, hotels, aeroplanes, football matches, cinemas, that they’re all kind of back, and they’re all back to a level, you’re relatively similar to pre pandemic. There’s nuances in between but definitely more so than offices and the way that we used to work. It’s really the only outlier that we have, significantly left over the past, coming up to three years now. It seems kind of wild. And I think, ultimately, look, we went from a physical world, which was supplemented by digital technology, to a digital world supplemented by the physical. And I think we’re still coming to terms with that. And for me, a reimagined workforce means one that truly embraces our freedoms, the freedoms that our technology first work has unlocked for us. You know, things like asynchronous, work can be done at any time from anywhere. And I think at the moment, we’re in this kind of limbo, where we’re trying to still work in a similar way to what we were when we were in the office, We are recreating meetings, we’re recreating, you know, A4 documents, even though we don’t print anything out anymore. Really, you know, it’s kind of like, we’ve got this, these constraints that we think, Okay, this is how you work and I’m kind of waiting for like a total rethink a total redesign, you know, and that goes from everything from, you know, onboarding to offboarding. You know, the the only constant now is that that work likely takes place on the digital workplace, which is this growing thing of all of your digital tooling. You know, regardless of where it happens, it probably happens digitally on Microsoft or Google or slack and I think it’s about trying to really understand the case. Now we are digital. What can we do that’s different and how can we reinvent work rather than I’m still holding on to those mental hooks we have about what we did in the office basically,

Kathryn Hume 10:06
Years ago, when I was doing my Master of Education I was, and this is I think, around 2008, I wrote a paper about asynchronous learning environments, and how we could create it for a school. And it is amazing that that was so old. And the theory was that through asynchronous learning, you provide time for people to evaluate and justify and you know, talking in a forum, students have the opportunity to reflect on their own what they’re going to say, they might speak up more often than they would otherwise in a live environment. And there was so many advantages to it, but the learning design was different. And I think that goes to what you’re saying is we’re trying to do the same things we did before but with different tools. And I think that’s why I wanted to start this podcast about the reimagine workforce because I think sometimes we get stuck in the groove and we know what we know. But, how do we, how do we discover things that we could do differently that we’re not doing now? And, and that’s where I also think the curiosity, creativity and courage is to say, there’s crazy ideas out there, but some of them might actually lead to change that’s really, really positive. So how do we harness those? How do we find them? How do we share them? And how do we build on them? So you are going to talk to us today about what you do in terms of designing a digital experience and how you want that to be digital first, which I think is, is actually how we approach work now. But it’s not necessarily how we design that. So I’m really interested to hear how you approach that.

Jazz Hanley 11:47
What’s happened, especially over the past 12 months, this kind of remote versus office debate has, has died. I don’t think that’s something that we’re really talking about right now. You know, somehow hybrid has just become the default word that we use to describe work. But actually, hybrid means 100 different things to 100 different people. It could mean that you get to the office once a week, it could mean I get to the office every single day, it could be someone gets to the office once every six months, it’s just so many variables kind of in between it, I liken it to a kind of sandwich, you’ve got an office work remote workers, the bread, and the filling could be there’s a limited combination of what that could be. But with hybrid, essentially, now you have two different workspaces. You have like the physical workspace and the digital workspace. And if you think about the physical workspace, it’s just extremely intentional in its design. The time the money, the effort, the consistency of thought that we have about what an office should look like, is, you know, 100 years of collective thinking about how those spaces should be designed should be Yeah, absolutely. You know, Open Office exposed ceilings, things somewhat change.I don’t think I’ve ever walked into an office and thought wait, what do I do here? It’s like, no, there’s desks, there’s there’s chairs, I kind of know what’s happening. But actually, the digital workplace isn’t. And because it’s intangible, it’s easy to overlook the digital workplace. I kind of touched on this before. But you know, we fundamentally now build businesses on the cloud. And not on centralised infrastructure. And work happens on that digital workplace. And it’s just become a bit of a mess. You know, we have email, we have slack, we have, you know, teams, we have meetings, we have phone calls. And there was a stat in HBr, the other day that the average worker flips between screens 1200 times a day, or 1200 times a day, you’re flipping attention, essentially. So we’re all a bit fed up, I think. And we’ve constructed this way of working, as I mentioned, which is essentially replicate what we did in the physical world. And I kind of liken it to when cinema was first invented. Go with me on this but but when cinema was first invented, this new medium was created. Essentially, filmmakers at the time just recorded a theatre and put it on a screen. It took them a few years to really figure out that okay, this is a new medium, we can experiment with different shots and we can have multiple cameras and we can do multiple things that just weren’t or don’t exist in the in a theatre watching experience. And I think currently decisions about hybrid are being made with limited data. And already in 2023, we’ve seen a bit of a war on meetings., People across the board, cancelling meetings and Shopify, probably most famously kind of cancelled all standing meetings with over two people. And they’ve claimed to save 76,500 hours across their business, which is pretty simplistic way of thinking about it, right, because those meetings and those kinds of questions and those bottlenecks, I guess, still exist. What’s the business? And I think this decision is made, we kind of see it all the time with our clients where it’s like, Okay, we’re gonna have no meetings on a Friday, or only use Slack for open channels, or no emails after a certain time, or everyone in the office two days a week. And that’s where we are with work, it’s kind of like gut feeling decisions are being made, like I’ve just described there in pretty much every boardroom on the planet. And it’s kind of right, that could that could be the best decision in the world, it could be an incredible decision. But there’s just such limited insight or data as the impact of that, that I think that’s what we’re seeing a bit of a in the office out of the office back in, not back in back in two days. And it’s just kind of ultimate flex, because I think people are making decisions and then having to rely on pretty poor data. In order to understand the impact of that,

Kathryn Hume 15:51
I see it as we can either go all the way towards the organization’s preference, or we can go all the way towards the employees preference. And I think we’re in a bit of limbo at the moment. And I think we’re probably leaning towards the employee because of the tight talent market. And we’re a bit nervous to upset people. But I wonder if there’s an opportunity to engage with people to say, what is it that you like about these different experiences? And how can we blend both for the benefit of both? Because I wonder if what we’re losing, and as you say, there’s not enough data? And I to be honest, I haven’t looked into it myself, because I’m not in that role to make those decisions. But equally, if we go to the employer making the decision, and without a reason to bring people back into the office, mandating that would be extremely detrimental, I think, because I think people really need to have a why if they’re going to change from what they’re comfortable with at the moment. But the other thing too, sorry, I keep going on. But the other thing, I think sometimes it’s very easy for me to get up and just work from home. There’s an effort involved in getting into the office. But yeah, I love it when I get there. And I’m always grateful that I’ve done it. But I think if we if we don’t remind ourselves of what we enjoy about work, and we remove ourselves too often, then that isn’t necessarily what we’re really enjoying.

Jazz Hanley 17:12
And I think, you know, I say it to a number of our clients, that kind of working from home is productive, and working from the office is valuable. And then the two kind of different things. And they have to be two different experiences. I mentioned to you about like looking at retail as a way of really understanding how hybrid can coexist, because in retail, the way we shop, there is certain things you buy online and the certain things you buy in the store, and we’re kind of very comfortable with having those two experiences two different kind of sets of products that we buy online and in store. And we’ve kind of managed to not freak out with that. But then when it comes to work, it’s kind of is a bit it should there. Should I get to the office? What if no one’s there? Is it valuable for me to spend time spend money, and it’s just key kind of we still haven’t quite figured out really?

So can you give us a practical example of a digital experience that you’ve already designed? And the outcomes that you’ve achieved from that?

Yeah, absolutely. And look, there’s there’s a number I could have gone through, but I think the one that really sticks out is we work with a unfortunately can’t actually name them. But there are the 600 person FinTech based, based in London, but they also had kind of a number of a number of people in an office in New York. And look, one of the biggest issues or one of the biggest challenges that people come to us with is burnout and working hours, right. And this organisation spotted an issue within their pulse data. So they were doing pulse engagement surveys kind of every 30 days. And they saw continuously decreasing kind of scores over months, particularly on questions relating to working hours and kind of work life balance. But it was really difficult for them to actually pinpoint the issue. So they tried a number of different things, you know, they tried, okay, well, all meetings cancelled after a certain time period, they offered things like the Calm app., They were really conscious about people in New York on Slack, have a little emoji next their name and people in London have a lot of little things that that they were kind of trying because they’re trying to, you know, I guess like spitball kind of ideas, right, but weren’t really seeing a change and actually what was really difficult for them were two things that stood out was the delay between feedback was low. So they were kind of waiting a month basically, between we’re doing something has that had any actual effect on people the way they’re feeling, and being able to pinpoint the stem of the issue. So they were, you know, heavy slack users, they relied upon that platform for almost all of their communication internally and externally. And then that’s where we kind of came to work with them. What we were able to surface you know, on our platform, so we connect our platform to Slack, their Slack and really after a couple of minutes get some historical data. We were able to surface activity hours. And this is activity hours across demographics, this isn’t individual activity hours across, department seniority, location, you know, what is the typical working patterns of those different areas of the business? And what we’re looking for the outliers, we’re looking for the areas of the business that are really high or really low, like, why are they so high in their working hours compared to everyone else. And actually, we started to discover something really incredible. We started to discover that the senior leadership team were really active on slack between six and seven pm, the mid management team were really active on slack between seven and eight pm. And actually, fascinatingly, the most junior part of the organisation was really active on slack between 7:30 and 8:30pm. And we kind of seen this trend. And once we presented data to them, what we then began to deduce, again, through conversation, because you know, that the insights, the data will tell you one thing, but it’s kind of one piece of the puzzle, right, Is that essentially what was happening was senior leadership had a different lifestyle. Most of them had young children and young families, and they were essentially putting their kids to bed kind of, you know, having dinner with their family, and then going back on Slack and kind of doing a bit of work. And it basically we’re pushing business or work down the organisation essentially. And because there wasn’t any clear guidelines or clear rules is probably a tough word, but kind of, you know, guidance in place about how Slack should be used, or how communication should be used. It had this knock on effect right down to business, and especially to the most junior part of the team, which was the largest part of the team, you know, getting work at 7:30 – 8:00 pm from their boss, it became okay, I’ve got to act upon this straightaway. So then we proposed a three week trial of okay, well, let’s have no activity on Slack after 6pm unless it’s absolutely business critical. And we saw an 84% decrease in overall activity after 6pm. And the surveys scores, the kind of engagement scores, they were getting dramatically increased, just dramatically increase in terms of work life balance. And that was all done within the space of six weeks. So I think that really shows that and this data all existed in their company, it was just a case of them trying or working with us to actually unlock that and use that. So that yeah, that’s something that they’re really quick, really sure, and probably resonate with a lot of businesses trying to pinpoint why are we burnt out? Or are we burnt out as an organisation?

Kathryn Hume 22:30
I think there’s research behind this. But I think people when we were in lockdown, they did extend their working hours. But they did it by choice, and they were okay to do it. And I presume it’s because people felt that there wasn’t really much else to be doing and so that’s that was their comfort zone and that’s where they spent their time. But as we reemerged, like, we’ve got lives to live. So I imagined that people don’t want to be doing that and I would be really interested to see the data between the impact on your well being when you’re doing it by choice. And when you’re doing it because you feel like someone’s waiting on you to deliver and the ramifications if you don’t deliver something that you’re worried about.

Jazz Hanley 23:11
100% Yeah. And I think it’s just a kind of a weird thing happening in work. I think as you as you touched on that, Kath, it’s kind of funny, all these tools that we have or slack or Trello, or whatever it is, they all promise that they’re going to save us time, and they’re going to make life easier. But everyone’s as busy as ever. So it’s kind of where is this time that we’re all supposed to be saving? And kind of kind of have it please like, where is it? To your point, I think this is the wider kind of digital employee experience, which I think we all want to be in a working environment where we feel valued, we feel safe, we feel as if we progress, and we’re happy, relatively. And I think that is what a lot of companies now need to focus on is that it’s not good enough just to buy these technologies and just kind of hand them out to everyone like candy. It’s actually we really need to ensure that they’re working as hard as they possibly can, and creating an environment that is reflective of what we want our employees to have. Because, again, you know, we work with companies who look at onboarding, and they want to understand, you know, as people as cohorts on board to the business, like, how many connections are they making across the business, you know, in their first 30 days, or their first 60 days or first 90 days? How can we proactively understand if they’re being silent or not? Because normally before it’s too late, people leave and it’s like, Oh, you didn’t work out. But that’s a mental impact that has a personal impact on those in those individuals who are part of that process and reputationally it could be bad as well. So I think there’s those kinds of points that you think about data and insights, you know, every other part of the business, especially when it comes to the customer, every granular data is analysed and used to ensure that experience is optimised for the customer. And we create an amazing experience with the customer. But actually, what about the employee?

Kathryn Hume 25:17
Because their life outside of work is seamless, and it’s been designed for them as a customer. So we’d need to match that inside as well. Can I ask a question that’s off script? What are the ethics around monitoring people’s usage? How do you approach that? What are your thoughts?

Jazz Hanley 25:33
Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a couple of things that we do just to standard, you know, we’re looking at trends, we’re looking for trends. So typically, by default, you cannot find any part of the platform that will look at under six people. So we are looking for kind of teams for kind of parts of the organisations that for trends we don’t analyse message, data specifics. So this is around the actual activity. So it’s like it’s using the events API. So it’s okay, a message has happened at this particular time. And then we won’t show the actual time it will be like a band. So it’d be like this message happened between 730 and 8pm, the customer that we work with, they’re in complete control over who sees the data, and how granular the data gets. So we are very much in that world of we’re looking for macro trends. And we’re trying to bring clarity to an overarching part of the business. This isn’t about, you know, Kath said this at this time, we will never ever do that. But I think the most important thing is it’s about it’s about that value exchange. It’s about being really transparent with your organisation about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what value that will bring to them. Like, what problem are you trying to solve? Because if you know, in your organisation people are unhappy with, they’re having to flip between slack and email or their messages are everywhere, or they feel as if they’re working too long, then that is up to you to come up with a solution for the problem that’s been raised. And to be transparent about the reason we’re doing this is because actually, you know, we are aware that people are unaware of this, or whatever it may be. So it’s kind of it’s all about, you know why and what value could you feel you can get from it.

Kathryn Hume 27:19
And I think that sometimes we’re unconscious to what we like and dislike and your comment around Shopify stopping meetings. If we were asking do want to cancel meetings, we might not have much of an opinion one way or the other. Some people might feel strongly some people might not. But until we actually are forced to experience that, it’s probably not going to be a realistic response. You kind of have to work with your staff and talk them through why you’re moving through those experiments to improve the experience overall, in the long run.

Jazz Hanley 27:55
I think the key and most of our clients appreciate all of our clients that work with us, the biggest thing that they gain from our platform is the ability to pinpoint the ability to essentially go, I want to move away from blanket decisions, you know, again, I always try to relate it back to other stuff. It’s a billboard anything about employee communications, a lot of time it’s like a billboard. It’s like a billboard. It’s like, here’s the information, you all need to read it. And it’s the same message to 1000 people or 10,000 people. We are actually using a platform to be like, Okay, this part of the organisation uses slack way more. So why don’t we create a message in Slack for this part of the organisation? Because they seemingly that that’s where they’re working, or, Hey, this part of the organisation or India team, they seem to be in 35% more meetings than everyone else in the organisation. Ok, let’s pinpoint and focus on their meeting culture, rather than a blanket cancel all meetings, I think that’s the nuances that we unlock for companies where it’s let’s be smarter about decisions and not just go everyone in the office two days a week, because that it’s never going to be the same for everyone. So it’s about what levers can you pull in order to create a better working experience for people? That’s more personalised I guess, again, like we do and we expect in our in our real lives, right? A real life as if as if work isn’t isn’t real.

Kathryn Hume 29:27
So I’m wondering how you help organisations. So where do you think organisations can improve?

Jazz Hanley 29:34
I think I touched on it previously. And I think, you know, and to reiterate, I think decisions are being made, like, you know, no meetings on a Friday, you know, let’s have one day off a month for, you know, a wellness day, you know, everyone in the office on Thursdays, the list goes on, and I think they may be fantastic decisions and they may work incredibly well for your business and your employees and it may be the great decision, the greatest decision you’ve ever made, but actually a lot of the time, most of the time, I should say, colleges don’t know. They don’t know the impact of those decisions. And I think sometimes they’re kind of too scared to admit it. Even if I could go as far to say that I think companies need to bring a better level of data into their hybrid decision making, because there isn’t an industry standard, there is a kind of an outlier that’s kind of working, I guess, you know, we see news articles day after day from companies say, Well, we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do this, and every company is kind of going at it different, which shows that we’re still trying to really figure it out. But I think like the physical office, you think about the time the money the resource spent on seating plans, you know, the furniture, the way the car park is designed, the canteen, the social areas, you know, whatever it may be. And I just think the digital workplace is often completely left to the wayside. It’s kind of well, that is IT. They give everyone an email, they give everyone a Slack licence, and it’s like, crack on. And I just feel companies, you know, and I think it’s still quite early. But I do think companies are really now about creating a better digital employee experience, and are really thinking about those tools in a really important way. And some of it stems from I’m fed up of slack, I’m fed up of teams, I’m fed up of email and teams together, I just want to better understand this. And you know, how we’re using these platforms?

Kathryn Hume 31:31
Yeah. Because I think too, it’s, as a as user, there’s so many places, I need to check to see if someone’s been contacting me, do I check my voicemail? Do I check my email? Do I check teams, there’s multiple ways people can come to me. And so I find it, it used to be easier when that was, there was only one option, because there was one place to check. And that made life a lot easier. I also think there’s an expectation that things like chat, there’s almost an expectation that you need to respond immediately. And whereas emails for some reason, I think we spoke about this previously, emails tends to be more accepting that that’s a that’s a longer message and that’s something that you can ponder. So it’s interesting how those norms have come about, even though probably unintentionally, there’s just these assumptions that we’re all kind of making along the way.

Jazz Hanley 32:27
Yeah, 100%. And I think that’s a really smart way of looking at it that we’ve kind of got these things that do the same thing, basically, but actually was very set way of doing it. And slack and teams is probably a really good one. Because it I think the immediacy is correct, it feels like WhatsApp. I know, I know, Slack teams would hate me saying that. But it feels kind of like that kind of, you know, WhatsApp messages. But actually, it’s a much more casual way of chatting rare anyway, people would go like, hello, you know, Kath, how you doing today? You know, it’s it’s a bit less formal, essentially. And I think it’s like, where does that fit in? And actually, we’re very quickly going to get a an entire workforce over the next decade or two, that has never really experienced the office or is very rarely or the office is second to them? And how are they how is that going to transform the way that we actually work? I think that the answer is nobody really knows.

Kathryn Hume 33:23
Interesting, very interesting social experiment that we’re all going through at the moment. One of the things I think with design is so my background is learning and development and freelance was a thing that I did for a long time. And people would come to you and say, Alright, I want an elearning programme, I want it to be 30 minutes long. And and then we talked about the learning outcomes, but really needs to be the other way around where you say, This is what I want people. And sometimes it’s not actually even learning. Sometimes it’s just we want people to change a behaviour or sitting them in front of a 20, page elearning programming, getting it to do five, multiple choices at the end is not going to lead to the outcome you’re after. So I think it and I’m sure you do this. It’s about saying what do we need to do in this workplace? Why are we collaborating? Why are we working together? What are we trying to achieve? And then say, now, what technology do we have? And so the technology question is the way we do it, but it’s not necessarily you don’t start with the technology, and then work out how you’re going to achieve what you need to achieve.

Jazz Hanley 34:23
Absolutely. And I think previously, a lot of times, you know, we see, I’ve worked in lots of organisations, you know, serve yourself where a new CRM system gets put in, or a new technology of some sort gets put in, which is going to revolutionise the way that we work, it’s going to solve every problem. And then you kind of Blink and a year later or two years later, or five years later, you’re like it’s kind of the same as what it was. And I think we often forget in the world of work that there are people using these technologies, it’s not just licences on the balance sheet. It’s not just costs. It’s actually people that are using In these and always seeing what we promised they would become for us. And I think, very quickly. Personally, I think you’re gonna get to the stage where companies are going to ask like, what’s your tech stack? Like, what what technology do you use? Like you would? When Okay, where’s the office? Okay, the office is, you know, it’s me the office is in Westland. And I’d be like, Okay, that’ll take me 45 minutes to an hour to get to every day, just quiet. It’s just too far. And people, you know, we used to, like reject jobs, because I just can’t make that commute every day. And I think people will probably do the same, where they’re like, Oh, you don’t use Slack, or you don’t use use, I just, I don’t want to use Microsoft Teams, I prefer slack, or I don’t want to use Slack. I prefer Microsoft Teams. And I think that’s probably gonna be quite shocking for a lot of companies for like, wow, okay, we really need to make sure this is a great experience.

Kathryn Hume 35:53
I wonder how you actually meet the needs of everybody in that scenario, because people don’t have many and varied experiences. So there’s something about that transition process, I suppose, where you need to be upfront about if people are basing their decisions on your tech stack, being upfront about what we’ve got, but how we’ll transition you over? And why maybe why we use that particular tech stack. Yeah, that’s it’s an interesting thought I hadn’t thought about before.

Jazz Hanley 36:23
100%. And I think, you know, a lot of times as well, when we work with clients, they don’t know what they want, or they don’t know kind of what they need, or they may have a hypotheses about, we think we have a bit of a meeting issue. We think people are overworking, we think people outside of our London office are disconnected, you know, whatever it may be. But actually, initially, when we work with companies, it’s that diagnosis stage, it’s like, well, before any ambitions to improve, you have to understand where you’re starting from. And that goes from everything from running about running a marathon to, you know, trying to eat healthy, or trying to lose weight, or trying to, you know, build a digital workplace, if I can kind of, you know, link all of that. Where are we starting from? Like, where do we need to improve? Actually, what is interesting is our London office uses slack, X percent more than every other part of the business. Okay, well, maybe we need to actually ensure that the other parts of the business know that slack is our tool of choice, and maybe we provide training for them to use Slack. And then they can become more connected. Little things like that, where it’s like, okay, yeah, that makes sense. And the biggest thing is like, where are we now? Where do we need to enact change? But crucially, how can I track those changes against business impact?

Kathryn Hume 37:37
Yeah, and monitor, monitor how they’re progressing towards what you’re trying to achieve? I’ve got a question around their curiosity, creativity, and courage. And I think you’ve done a nice segue there, to explain that we’ve really got to understand where we are now. And I think that’s where the curiosity comes in around exploring and making those hypothesis and saying, what, what are we seeing, being curious about that? And that can then inform how we create that environment? And, and the courage to, like you’ve said, around those organisations who are taking a bit of a leap of faith and doing a bit of experimenting, but also monitoring the impact that you’re having. So do you do that in your work? Do you think it’s ever examples where you blend the curiosity, creativity and courage?

Jazz Hanley 38:23
No, I think I think this this whole kind of industry is that and I think actually to give you more specific answer as well. I think this is all brand new, I think, we are three years into something, because I think the first probably 18 months were you have to be remote just to be remote. And it was like, that’s quite easy, right? Because it’s okay, well, everyone’s at home, I’m not missing out on anything. I guess that’s just what we do. Whereas actually, when it becomes this hybrid, it becomes confusing. And I think it requires cooperation, thinking and connection. And I think the important thing to know is like speaking to everyone, it’s just a great way of learning something new, and a great way of getting a new perspective, from a different industry or from a different culture or a different country. And I think, lots of people come into speaking with people trying to understand your what’s in this for me, or what value can I get from this interaction? And I think you can, to loop altogether, what we we talked about at the beginning about the kind of serendipity. I think that’s just so important. In especially industries like this, where, you know, it’s almost like we’re trying to figure out well, what metrics important is focused time versus collaboration time, what’s a good level, what what should you be looking at? What is the percentage of email versus slack an organisation should be seeing? And the answer is at the moment, there’s, there’s not really an answer, kind of. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, focusing collaboration time. It sounds like okay, we should probably be more have more folks. cuz time and collaborate, I don’t know, it’s like, actually, again, and what’s the average of your organisation? And where are the outliers? Where are the areas of the business or departments or the countries that are way different than the status quo, because then that gives you an insight as to why is that different? I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it’s just, it’s very different in the way that they work. And it gives you the impetus to go and investigate. And I think it’s really important just to find people connect, who can add value on both sides, I think there’s really the stage where there’s no wrong or right answers. And I think you see that in a lot of texts, I think, you know, you see that in a lot of the articles about this space, a lot of the writing about this space, that it’s very new. And I don’t think we should forget that. Because the office was just so big, you know, as a thing. And when that’s been taken away, it’s like, we’re almost a bit like, what’s the anchor for work? And you seeing that with, you know, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, you know, the big companies, all being really different about hybrid really different about, I think, proves to you that there isn’t an answer.

Kathryn Hume 41:08
And it also to me, I don’t know if it’s just me, but also still feels a little bit temporary. It feels like we’re still in this limbo, we haven’t worked out where we’re going. And so I think, for me as an employee, it’s like, yeah, we’ll go with the flow. But if we get to a point where we say, Okay, this is it, and this is how it’s going to stay. That’s gonna worry me a bit more. But when you’ve got the flexibility, and you’ve got this nuance that yeah, we’re not really sure. And we haven’t really settled yet. I don’t know, I just feel a bit more comfortable with that. But but at some point, I wonder if there will ever be a point where we feel like we’ve we’ve settled, and this is how it’s going to be I don’t think I actually think it probably not.

Jazz Hanley 41:47
I agree, I think that, most of my work and career has taken place in office first and office primarily. And I think it’s going to be impossible for me to forget what that was like, and to not try and recreate that in some capacity. And I think it probably does need that new workforce coming through who are really very briefly experienced office or never experienced the office, just to see like what work is, and I think you’re right, but that’s kind of social experiment. And I think we’ll see real changes in that regard. It’s kind of the incumbents coming into a, you know, an old industry, essentially, because I feel personally, I can only speak for myself kind of always swayed by the office and always swayed by Well, that’s what work was. Yeah. And this is what work is now it’s kind of before and after. Whereas I think you’re right, it’s been almost three years now. So it’s like, Well, how long are we going before we settled on before? Like, that takes five years? It takes six years? I don’t know. Again, it might be never

Kathryn Hume 42:52
Yeah. It is really interesting. And I’ve learnt heaps from you, I opened my eyes to things that I hadn’t really thought about before. We probably are out of time. Could I ask you how if people wanted to connect with you, how should they go about that?

Jazz Hanley 43:09
Yeah, absolutely. Look, LinkedIn, probably the best way. So just my full name, jazz Hanley, I try to be active and additive on that platform as much as possible, I guess, you know, connect. And, you know, if you’ve got any specific questions, or any, you know, specific comments, or anything that you find most interesting, you know, feel free to drop me a DM, you know, I think that’s probably the easiest way on LinkedIn to do so. I also run a weekly newsletter, you know, building the digital workplace, which I’ve also published on LinkedIn. And that has over 900, people who think it’s valuable check it out every week. It’s kind of snowballed and become something that I didn’t expect at the beginning. But I think this is the we’re in this kind of education mode as an industry, right? I think people are really trying to learn and even you’re delighted to kind of get you asked me to come on the podcast to talk because I think this is, you know, a fantastic forum for that exact thing for actual people to get together or to learn, hopefully, from me about a new perspective. So yeah, LinkedIn, probably best to connect with me. And obviously, my name will be on the on the poster, as they say.

Kathryn Hume 44:13
I will put it in the show notes, just to clarify it handily. H A N L E Y. So there’s no D in there. But I’m very, very confident people will learn from this. And I might even open up for some of these podcasts, I might open up a conversation on LinkedIn and see if we can generate some discussion and hear what other people’s experiences are because I can bet on the fact that there’s multiple experiences going on there. And the other thing I think, is that most people will have a very strong opinion about it.

Jazz Hanley 44:41
That is another thing. Sorry. Just to finish on this very final point. That is I think the most rewarding thing about my job is that we were very fortunate to work with some incredible clients from from different industries. You know, a couple of weeks back, one of them came to us and they basically They wanted to understand using our platform, they were like, well, could we look at gender? And we could look at we think, and they said, he said, we think that we have a male bias for new employees coming into the business. So I employees who have been there for less than six months, males seeking out when interacting with males, more so than the women. And that was just a hypotheses that they had, that they were like, we just think that males are coming out and speaking to other males for information to ask questions. And then we’re still kind of running this right now. But they’re using our platform to understand by gender, that they’ve got us into the data and completely anonymized. But are we seeing what is the split between especially males seeking out other males? For information? Like, are we seeing that happening more than, than other genders? And I just thought that was it’s kind of like, wow, yeah, that sounds great. You know, it’s like, it’s, you know, it’s a self service platform. So it’s kind of up to you, but just that creativity in thinking and problem solving. I think it kind of knows no bounds. And I think that is one of the most exciting thing about this industry that the questions and the information that we put right now, I always say this all the time is that it might be completely wrong. Three, four years from now, it might be like, no one cares about that bit of information. They really care about this. And it’s just gonna take time to develop that.

Kathryn Hume 46:27
How cool that you’ve got all that data that you can play with, I think I’m glad that I don’t have access to that data, because I possibly could spend a lot of time digging into it. Okay, well, and here, it also actually, well, I am just thinking, links a lot to the episode with Ralph books and juice where he was talking about organisational network analysis, obviously, but that was all very much an eye opener for me too, because I’ve always relied very much on the formal structures within the organisation. So it’s really interesting to see how we’re now able to look at how we human beings operate with some actual data and let that inform the decisions that we make.

Jazz Hanley 47:09
Yeah, that’s a technique that we use all the time at temporal, using kind of slack email data to form network maps. It’s just such a powerful way of understanding, influence information sharing across the business.

Kathryn Hume 47:22
Yeah. Brilliant. Well, thank you so much for your time. You’ve got your whole day ahead of you. Now I’m going to go and have dinner, put my feet up. But thank you so much, really appreciate it. Enjoy beautiful London. I’m a little bit jealous, but we have a nice sunny day here in Australia. So it’s good on both sides of the world at the moment.

Jazz Hanley 47:43
Cool now, I’ve really enjoyed it. Thanks. Thank you so much.

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