I can still place myself in the early pandemic conversation with my boss, CEO, Nikesh Arora over a year ago. He asked me to help keep balance and stability in our organization as we were stepping into an unknown journey, and also to think about how we might blow up a convention to make work more employee-centric. It’s been such an interesting, and at times exhausting, challenge. After much listening, (and thinking) learning (and more thinking), iterating, (and iterating again) about our opportunity (and responsibility frankly) to each employee, I was very excited when we recently announced our global FLEXWORK philosophy at Palo Alto Networks.
FLEXWORK describes how we get work done – with employee choice and personalization front and center. It encompasses every element of our culture, tools, processes, and policies that support our work. We lead with employee choice to enable every individual’s best work and best life.
FLEXWORK means that our employees:
Can choose their work location – without manager dictate
Can go to an office at their preferred cadence and times – no minimums, no maximums
Are offered equal development and growth opportunities regardless of where they want to work
Enjoy location-agnostic learning and development initiatives (for people leaders and employees), with self-paced offerings, based on employee feedback and requests.
I am thrilled that we are pushing the boundaries of hybrid working, by removing location confines and truly realizing our FLEXWORK philosophy. We are only able to do this because we truly believe in employee choice and because we trust our people wholeheartedly to make decisions that work best for them and their families.
You may be wondering how we move our pendulum this far away from the ‘norm’ – so let me share a few things. I am very proud of the culture at Palo Alto Networks, and our values-led environment did give us a very positive point to start from. The listening started long before the pandemic and we kept our focus on active employee engagement with both the big picture and the little details. For example, in our FLEXBenefit Allowance, we give employees $1,000 per year to spend on things for their wellbeing, and this list recently expanded to over 150 items including home coffee machines, Disney theme park tickets, and sewing equipment! We also swiftly moved our learning to be personalized, on-demand, and individualized connections to be multifaceted.
As we discovered more, I quickly came to terms with the fact that our business structures needed to better allow for the individual and the personalized. FLEXWORK creates the opportunity to make our business stronger and our people’s lives better by empowering individual solutions for individual situations.
I know that I need to encourage our People Ops organization to be courageous in thought and deed. We are on an organizational journey and cannot change everything overnight, but this journey simply cannot and will not always feel safe.
Permanent hybridization is a major change but it’s going to be amazingly positive and fun! FLEXWORK puts employee choice at the center of our programs and structures and helps managers consistently create the space, environment, and support every employee deserves regardless of their location. We will continue to be intentional around this effort and how we bring it to life because it’s definitely not a light switch we can flick at a moment’s notice. It’s part of caring for our people after an extremely tough year, and one that continues to be unpredictable. We don’t control the external environment, but we can have a huge impact as we continue to innovate the cybersecurity industry for our customers, partners, and communities.
I’m very excited our future is here through FLEXWORK. If you want to join us in discussing and acting to make the future of work look different, sign up today!
Palo Alto Networks CEO, Nikesh Arora, launches the FLEXWORK initiative setting out an approach for the year.
A recording of our panel presentation from the FLEXWORK coalition discussing virtual experiences for employees.
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