Enabling Employee Choice

Erica Kelley

3m read

April 20

When we entered the pandemic, the health and safety of our employees was the overarching goal of everything that we did. Our Security and Safety and Legal teams worked very closely to create a framework of principles that could be applied to our various locations across the world. Having this consistent framework allowed us to act consistently while providing flexibility by recognizing that every location was in a different situation.

As we move into the next phase, we have an opportunity to create something unique, one that might change aspects of the way that we have worked for a very long time. Instead of driving employer choice, which is the state our companies have been in for a very long time pre-pandemic, our guiding principle now must be enabling employee choice. 

We also want to ensure that we are providing fairness and consistency in this new environment. From a legal perspective, this kind of mindset shift has some challenges. It requires a thoughtful, dedicated approach to a broad range of issues. 

Performance Management: Teams that were primarily in person have shifted to a hybrid or fully remote environment, and in some instances are reporting to managers who have never operated in this space before. How can we support further education for this new type of team setup, and how can we ensure that our managers do effective performance management and evaluation?

Ethics: With a more hybrid workforce, this is a problem that could cut both ways. We could see a decrease in reporting or contributions to the ethics hotline because there are less interactions, or it could be because people aren’t physically there to observe and report on questionable interactions. We also need to ensure that our employees are empowered and are aware of how to report on any ethics issues that they may become aware of – and we understand that sometimes it’s easier to pop by someone’s desk instead of filing an official report or making an official, documented statement.

Tools: With a hybrid workforce, more technology and tools are required to enable performance. As part of the transition, we have to be cognizant of where unfamiliarity or technical issues with those tools may have an impact on performance. We will be working closely with our HR partners on this topic.

Safety and Security: Palo Alto Networks has developed innovative security resources as part of our Security initiatives. However, as with any third-party resource, you need to be explicit about the purpose and limitations in using the resources. This is not something the company is representing as true and accurate, it’s something we are making available. This is critically important from a legal and ethical point of view.

Compensation: As we move to a hybrid workforce, and we empower employees to choose their geolocation, there may be variance in compensation and available benefits. To help employees make decisions that are right for them, we created a simple dashboard and algorithm to help employees understand whether their position can be remote and what the impact would be to their compensation (if any) if they chose to relocate. This allows for consistent, fair and transparent compensation practices across the board.

Our strong foundation of employee choice, grounded in fairness and consistency, will allow us to adapt and create a stronger, more effective workforce.