Jason Lauritsen is a talent strategist, innovator and keynote speaker who will challenge you to think differently about talent and the workplace. For nearly a decade, he spent his days as a corporate Human Resources leader where he developed a reputation for driving business results through talent. Today, Jason’s quest is to identify, recognize and support awesome workplaces as the Director of Best Places to Work for Quantum Workplace. Jason is the co-author with Joe Gerstandt of the book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships and a frequently published writer and blogger on talent and leadership topics.
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
Our systems of work today are set up to optimize from the perspective of the organization, not the human being actually doing the work. And, most of the models we use to organize and manage work are holdovers from industrialization when work was accomplished with machines, not intelligence. Human ingenuity and creativity are the most valuable natural resource we have in business today and we are largely squandering it. That must change.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
In my role as Director of Best Places to Work, I get to both research and celebrate those companies who are creating workplaces that work for humans. This provides me with an opportunity to both look for what those companies are doing differently and to share those stories with others. I’ve also been described as a workplace evangelist because I write and speak about these ideas and issues a lot. I try to use my platform to challenge and change how people think about work and the workplace.
Why do you do what you do?
Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with study of how people and work come together. It feels like a calling to me. Plus, it hurts me to think about the number of people who live in misery every day because of their work experience. It’s unnecessary and wasteful. And, I feel like I can make a difference for those people.
What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
I really love being around visual art of almost any kind. I’m not educated or sophisticated at all when it comes to understanding art. But, I do appreciate the passion and vision that an artist pours into their creation. It fills me with energy and makes me feel alive.
What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
We do a lot of socializing together. Some of it is structural (like a 3 day trip to Florida for the whole company) and some of it is informal (happy hours, 5K races, etc.). We invest in relationships with one another.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
The restaurant and food industry. It started at home because my wife has worked in restaurants on and off throughout her career before going to school to become a pastry chef. For the past six years, she’s been building a bakery business of her own. In addition to that, I’ve gotten to know the great folks at TDn2K who serve the Restaurant industry. When I see and hear about how hard some of those organizations are working to create awesome workplaces for their staff, despite being in what some consider to be a really challenging industry, it fills me with hope.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Make time and space for people to socialize and connect together as human beings at work. Team lunches, happy hours, and other gatherings designed strictly for fun and camaraderie build a social fabric that has many benefits including increased engagement and innovation.
What piece of technology (other than your laptop/smartphone/tablet) could you not live without and why?
My DVR. While I know it’s trendy for smart people to say they don’t watch TV, I do (while acknowledging that this might be a comment on my intelligence). I love my TV, particularly since DVR came along so we can watch exactly what we want, when we want without having to suffer through the commercials. It’s a delightful way to unwind my brain and be entertained.
What does your preferred work environment look like?
It depends on the day. Some days, my office with floor to ceiling whiteboards is awesome. Other days, I need to be in a coffee shop and yet others in my home office. The longer I work, the more I understand the need for flexibility in workspace depending upon the type of working I’m doing.
What do you do for fun?
I love spending time with my wife and kids. That takes on a lot of different shapes. In the summer, we are in the pool a lot. I have also fallen in love with running over the past several years, so I like training for and running half-marathons. All that, and mix in watching college football, basketball and the NFL.
Where in the world are you?