Kristen Zervis, VP of Talent & Culture for LegitScript
Kristen Zervis, Vice President of Talent & Culture for LegitScript, on why to create an engaging, inclusive hybrid workplace
For the latest episode of Think Beyond Space | The PDX Workplace Insider podcast, I was grateful to speak with Kristen Zervis, Vice President of Talent & Culture for LegitScript, a Portland-based technology company that helps organizations of all sizes help keep their services legal and safe online. Kristen has first-hand experience of what it is like to start a new job during the pandemic as she began her role at LegitScript in August of 2020. In the episode, Kristen shared how her experience has shaped the onboarding process the LegitScript team has implemented, and why building trust with employees is so important for the workplace of the future.
Onboarding Talent During the Pandemic
Before the pandemic and before Kristen started her role with LegitScript in August of 2020, the company was a traditional 8 am-5 pm, in the office culture. Like many organizations, the pandemic created a dramatic shift almost overnight for the way LegitScript operated- from getting employees the best tools to work remotely and integrating new employees, like Kristen, into the organization.
“For me personally, I did not meet anyone in person before I took the position,” Kristen said, adding “I had no idea what I was walking into, so there was a lot of trust. Having gone through that I could relate to those coming onboard to our organization. My number one priority was onboarding- we needed to create a program that is remote-friendly, but also ensure that people feel welcome, that they get to know LegitScript without having to be there, and also that they feel supported as remote employees because it was such a shift from where we used to be.”
An Opportunity to Reevaluate the Way they Work
Going through this shift has changed how LegitScript looks at the future state of their workplace. Kristen said, “We actually had a huge opportunity because our (office) lease was up. We could really take a step back and say, what makes sense for us as an organization?”
For some of LegitScript’s analysts, a lot of the work they do requires quiet, focused blocks of time with no disruptions, and the flexibility of remote work is great for these teams. And then, there are others that prefer a blend of remote and in person, with also some employees that want to be back in the office every day because they crave social interaction. To provide support for all of their employees, Kristen said, “We made the decision to be able to offer a hybrid work environment. We will have a new office that we are excited about- it is in a great location and employees are super fired up about it, but we recognize that employees need flexibility. We really wanted to create an environment that worked for everybody and because we built that trust, it set us up for success and I’m really excited we can offer that to our employees.”
For the employees that do come into the physical office, Kristen’s team was very intentional in designing the gathering spaces. “I truly believe people are going to come into the office to be with people, not to sit at their desk and just do their work, they want to come into an environment where they can have work conversations but also that social interaction, collaborate, whiteboard- that's why people get together,” Kristen said.