Episode 4

Annette Reavis

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Season 3

How to Create a Thriving Hybrid Workplace with Envoy's Annette Reavis

Hybrid work has emerged as a popular choice for companies, and especially employees who enjoy the freedom of working remotely, but still crave in-person connections. Host Katelin Holloway sits down with Annette Reavis, Chief People Officer of Envoy, a workplace platform that helps teams manage hybrid work and create a flexible workplace experience. Annette shares tips on how to create a thriving, connected, and collaborative hybrid workplace.

Katelin: Welcome back to All Hands, a podcast brought to you by Lattice. I’m your host Katelin Holloway. 

In 2020, we all had to quickly adapt to working remotely. Now, many companies are starting to define what their new workplace looks like – whether that be fully remote, fully in-person, or somewhere in the middle – what we call the hybrid workplace. … 

Hybrid work has emerged as a popular choice for companies… and especially employees… who enjoy the freedom of working remotely, but still crave in-person connections.


"If you're just bodies coming in on those days that you're in the office, and you and I don't need to work together and you have too many of those sce- scenarios, you're not building community. So, really being deliberate about how you're defining hybrid is really important."

Katelin: Annette Reavis (rev - is) is the Chief People Officer of Envoy, a workplace platform that helps teams manage hybrid work and create a flexible workplace experience. Annette shares tips on how to create new norms & policies to make sure everyone in a hybrid workplace feels connected to their team and encouraged to work where they are most productive – wherever that may be.

Annette, welcome to All Hands. We are so thrilled to have you on the show today. Thank you for joining us.

Annette: Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

Katelin: I'm really excited to talk with you today about hybrid work. You and, and Envoy have been working around this and solving this challenge. When we talk about hybrid this is my belief, uh, employees get the best of both worlds. So, you, you have remote work but you also have an office, a space where people can come in and find that culture and find that community. And I know that Envoy maybe one would argue currently is the best hybrid workplace.

What does a hybrid workplace look and feel like?

Annette: I agree with what you said, which is the best of both worlds. I really think about it as two focus places to do your very best work. So, hybrid is defined in my mind by being able to come into the office, a place to come. And when you come into the office, you're really working cross-functionally and collaboratively with other people both on your team or other teams that you need to work closely with.

Then on the other days when you're not in the office, I don't think of those days as being spent on Zoom all day pretending you're in the office.

Katelin: Right, right.

Annette: Right? I really think of those days as days where you're doing focused work, where you're either cranking out those spreadsheets or even having some one-on-one meetings. But again, when you're in the office, you really should be building that community and that cross-functionally.

Outside of the office I am very focused. You have to be deliberate though for it to work. Because when I first started at Envoy, what I was finding was I was on Zoom all day because there weren't the right people in the office at the right time.

... we had to start Stop and think about how we do this deliberately so we can actually build that community. Because if you're just bodies coming in on those days that you're in the office, and you and I don't need to work together and you have too many of those sce- scenarios, you're not building a community. So, really being deliberate about how you're defining a hybrid is really important in order for it to work to give people the best of both worlds.

Katelin: That was a great first takeaway. There are a lot of, almost like zombie employees that are going into their offices. The reality is that a lot of people do not have companies that have figured it out just yet. And so, what happens is exactly what you said. You kind of wander around aimlessly. You might get a cup of coffee or check out an old banana and you're like, "Well, I guess I'll just sit over here and jump on Zoom again."

Annette: Right.

Katelin: And that doesn't feel good.

Annette: Nope.

Katelin: That's, that's a really bad- ... just general human experience.

Annette: Right. And then you're asking yourself, "Why did I get out of my pajamas to get, to commute for an hour to go into an office when really I'm either on Zoom all day or not seeing anyone I need?" And so, as you said, that's not a good experience for any circumstance. But for sure not in a world where you're trying to get people back into the office part of the time. You need to have reasons for them to come besides just the old banana as you said and the cup of coffee.

Katelin: Yes (laughs). You know exactly what that looks like, too.

Annette: Yup, I do (laughing).

Katelin: It was sitting up probably all day and it's definitely not worth trading my yoga pants for hard pants.

Annette: Right?

Katelin: So, tell me, you know, I, I actually have a lot more qualifying questions here but I want to back up a little bit. Tell me why you think Envoy is uniquely positioned to own the conversation around the hybrid workplace. Based on your product and based on your kind of history, what makes it unique for Envoy to be leading this conversation?

Annette: The first thing I would say is we care deeply about the problem. And we think about the problem from community building and culture building. So, it's not just about a product that can put bodies on a desk. Sure, I think that it does that. But the next level of what it does, for example we just added photos to the product so you can see who you're sitting next to. That's how you're building community.

So, we, our mindset around this is we're actually building a community and the office of the future. And our tool helps us and other companies do that. That, that to me is the differentiator versus just building an app or building a software tool. We're trying to take a step back and say, "What is the purpose?" And we truly believe there was a higher purpose to hybrid and doing it right.

Katelin: I love that. And so for our listeners, who maybe don't know what Envoy is, my guess is they actually probably experienced it and maybe don't know it. Can you give us the quick, uh, TLDR or Too Long Didn't Read on, on what Envoy is?

Annette: Envoy is a tool that helps people get back into the office safely. And we do that in multiple ways. Our Visitor platform is still very strong with check in. We have a part of it, for example, for companies that check vaccines, it actually uploads and checks vaccines.

Our product links with others so we're actually a platform. So, we have a to- a tool called Kisi that allows us to get in and out of the building. And Envoy talks to that product and knows that I'm safe to come into the office. And then when I get into the office, I've checked in and so I have a desk to sit with. And depending on how they use the product. For example, we've set up neighborhoods so that, again those teams can sit together and work cross-functionally. We also have a rooms product that allows you to check into rooms. And again, making sure the number of people in rooms and a whole bunch of stuff that is grounded in how we keep people safe. And then again, that next phase is how we build community as we're doing it.

Katelin: Thank you for sharing. I love that we actually started with that mission and that vision around building culture and community and then got to the tactical. I just wanted to make sure our listeners were like, "Oh, yeah, I know Envoy. I know I've taken my picture on the tablet." And I've, I've done that. Um, and, and what an incredible last few years you all have had. And I, I must say from the outside looking in, not many companies were able to gracefully adjust and adapt to – The, oh, shoot, needle off the record, everyone is suddenly working at home. And, and many, many companies did not survive, uh, because they were not able to gracefully transition.

Annette: Yeah.

I totally agree. And the ability to really start with one day of a Visitor product and pivot to understanding- What the future was. It's really cool. And part of the reason I came here.

Katelin: I live here in San Francisco and, and seeing the ghost town that was, uh, the financial district where all of the, the big tech offices were all.

Annette: Right.

Katelin: Tumbleweeds blowing down the street. And so, that was an opportunity for Envoy to just, you know, raise their hands and say, "Okay, we're gonna wave the flag. We're, we're done here." But instead really embrace the opportunity. And that's what ... I think that's what great companies and great products and great leaders do, embrace the opportunity to say, "Hey, this wasn't our plan but here we are."

Annette: I agree. And it's been great to watch and really bring talent into the building that understands what the future can be.

Katelin: Yeah.

Annette: And marrying that with the talent that built that Visitor product. And so, how are we all learning and growing and building that product that's really focused on the future around culture community getting people back into the office safely has just been so amazing to watch because as you said-

Katelin: Yeah.

Annette: Not a lot of companies were able to do that.

Katelin: And so, you are a hybrid workplace-

Annette: Yes.

Katelin: With 300 employees. And so, what ... on average, how many employees are actually in the office versus working remotely at any given point in time? Is ... Have you been in that kind of pattern? Is there a trend that you're watching?

Annette: Yeah. So, we have four physical offices.

San Francisco and Denver are actually spaces that are ours. And then, we just built out a WeWork space in both New York and London.

Katelin: Okay, exciting.

Annette: We asked employees to come in right now two days a week and they get to pick those two days their teams do. Every individual can pick one of the days. And then on the other day, it's a team day. And what we're finding is we have a lot more employees in the office Tuesdays and Thursdays. At least in San Francisco, around 80-ish people compare to the other Tuesdays and Thursdays. Whereas the other days, it's more spread out anywhere between like Mondays and Fridays, probably honestly about 20-ish. 

Wednesdays, somewhere around 40. Part of that is because we think about Monday and Fridays as the bookends. And then I think what happens is Tuesdays and Thursdays, you have again all those cross-functional meetings and you can do work on Wednesday in between at home and be focused to get for that Thursday. So, you know, that's how we're thinking of it.

Katelin: It's so cool that you are, seeing it live in action. To really understand where those peaks and valleys? How, how are humans collectively coming together? And what are those communities doing? What's the behavior of a group of people who is trying to work both collaboratively and autonomously?

It makes a lot of sense-

Annette: Yeah.

Katelin: ... when you say Wednesdays are kind of chill.

Annette: You're getting ready for Thursday, you know, you're doing all your prep work. You're getting ready for those meetings. You're getting ready for those presentations. Monday is the beginning of the week, right? People are just getting up. They're looking at their week. Where is it going? And then Fridays, I think, you know, people are a little bit tired from the commute of the week or the work. And so, they buckle down really. We do our best on Fridays. We call it Show and Tell so we can end the week with information

Katelin: Nice.

Annette: ... and get people kind of ready for the weekend, right? Just start it all over again. So, it's been fun to watch. Um, we're, we're looking at going to three days a week. And when we do that, I think what will happen is it will be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday still I still expect Wednesdays to be a little lighter and still more focus worked in the office. I do think people need a couple of days of that focus work. And so, we've got a plan around that.

Katelin: Yeah. That's awesome. I, I really am excited about just the pattern matching of human behavior and how we work together. And-

Annette: Yeah.

Katelin: To find that sweet spot of output productivity, uh, and, and that feeling of belongingness, right?

Annette: Yup.

Katelin: So, you're in competition with yourself? How often do you find yourself saying, "Hey, we're going to reevaluate this?" Are you on a set cadence of reevaluation of what's working, what's not? How are you measuring success? Any of that? Or is it as the wind blows when you ... when, when you feel the collective shifting?

Annette: So, we talked about it in my people leadership meeting every single week as far as what's working, what's not? Are there things that we need to do to help people get back into the office? So, we're looking at do we need shuttles? We put Care.com in place. Somebody sponsored so people can have help when it comes to daycare, um, or childcare, senior care, pet care, you know.

Katelin: I love that.

Annette: So, we are looking at it on a regular basis from that perspective on a people team. And then from a company with the, Larry's and the directs, our staff meetings, we talk about it once a quarter. The issue is around when can we up it? Two or three days? Because we do find that you need more ... the more time you have together, the better collaboration, the faster you can move. Two days was a great place to start, but the ultimate goal is the three days.

And so, we reevaluate that. We were looking at it, for example, in January, but then Omicron happened. Actually, everyone went back home. And we had to almost restart, right? And get people back in the groove of two days. And so, that's how we're looking at it. But we're again trying to be deliberate in everything we're doing. How are we making these decisions so that the decisions, A, don't make us, right? That we don't have to be forced. But more importantly, so that you can communicate. You can have those conversations. You can get feedback from the organization to understand what's best. And you can, I, I believe, only do that when you're making deliberate decisions.

Katelin: I couldn't agree more, especially as it relates to people, culture and community building. And, and that's the sweet spot, right? The juicy goodness that lives in the middle of what it is that we're trying to do. When you're firing on all cylinders, when your people are feeling connected, when that peak engagement happens opposed to, to just relating to one another in a pixelated virtual world or conversely being forced to come in every single day, forced to.

Even our language has changed. Listen to my own bias on that. You're being forced to come to work every day.

And so, when I think about ... specifically when I think about culture building and that, that, that community aspect, in the world of pre-COVID, there were generally two models. The full-time office where you had typically it was one office or you had a few different hubs and HQ and, and then, you know, some, some distributed, work around either domestically or globally.

And then, the rare teams because back then, it was rare to have fully remote. And, and both of them had pretty solid playbooks you could more or less pull that book off the shelf as a people leader and say, "Great, I know what this looks like. I know our meeting cadence. I know our performance cycles." You kind of fill that in.

And so, this thing that we're building now, as it relates to building culture and community though, I'm curious to get your perspective on some of those kinds of unifying threads.

When people are in the office and remote, from a cultural standpoint, how do you make sure that everyone is feeling connected staying in, in the loop?

Annette: So, one thing that you said was interesting to me is I, I do think we have different kinds of talent. And part of it is making sure you understand who you're hiring and what that talent needs. It starts right there. For someone like me, I love being in the office. Honestly, I come here Monday through Thursday. And so, it's really important to make sure when our managers are hiring people on their teams that they understand if someone's not coming in why. There's a difference between being worried for someone at home. For example, I have someone on my team. She'd come in the office Monday through Friday but she has a little baby. So she's here three days a week. And so, starting with trying to help managers understand the talent on their team and what we're doing wanting to hire is really, really important. Then there is the next piece I talked about which is time. Let's make sure that the time we spend together is designed around hybrid, designed around when people are together versus when they're not, because that is such a critical part even when it comes to communication. For example, when we are all in the office together, we have meetings together. We make sure that everyone's in the office because anytime you have one person on Zoom, you effectively have to run a remote meeting, right?

Katelin: Right, right.

Annette: Because at the end of the day, there's body language and queues and laughing and all those things that don't happen. We talk a lot about making sure that we're deliberate around that, and that people are together and we hold those kinds of meetings. We do a lot in email and Slack. There's not only remote, there's different time zones which we've always had, right? Even pre-pandemic, we had people in different time zones. And how are we making sure that the information was somewhere that people could find it for those that are in different time zones?

And so now, we have an added component. We not only have other offices, we have talent that's 

remote. We talked about it. We train our managers on it. When we hire people, I'm honest about it to say we're working on this, but I don't know if anyone can solve it 100%. The decisions that you're making to be a full remote person, um, is you got to factor in that decision. Because when everything gets popping again, you know, when it ... whether it'd be this summer or next summer, whenever it is it is, there's gonna be people that feel left behind because they are remote.

And so, how are we being honest about that versus trying to solve it because I don't think some of that is solvable.

Katelin: You are speaking so much goodness because I think that the, the myth or the, uh, the illusion we are all trying to create for one another in these leadership conversations is around solving.

Annette: Yup.

Katelin: And there are some things that are just simply human nature.

Annette: Exactly.

Katelin: And to your point, they existed before.

Annette: Yes.

Katelin: This is not new. We cannot blame COVID on this.

Annette: Exactly.

Katelin: This is the human condition. What you're saying is entirely accurate. And I think that the more, as people leaders, we can help communicate that to our leadership team-

Annette: Yeah.

Katelin: ... to say, "Hey, look, this is not a problem for me, one human, to solve. This is something for us to acknowledge and educate ourselves on." And, provide training and support as well as expectation management. Something that I love that you brought up was, was hiring.

So, having those open, honest conversations when you are hiring somebody allows them to opt in or opt out or to adjust, right?

Annette: Right. And I think making managers and leaders be as responsible, a lot of times, it's like, "Well, HR is gonna solve it.

Katelin: Yup.

Annette: HR is gonna fix culture. HR is gonna do those things." Myself as a people leader, I'm going to tell you what I can and can't solve. And then we're going to work together to be honest and to maybe set the right expectations. But if we don't do that, we're going to be living in a world that is full of these illusions. It never was the case and it's not going to be the case now. And there's lots of people that will still opt in. They want to be remote. They want to live in Idaho and go skiing in the winter and go climbing.

Katelin: Right.

Annette: And that is absolutely okay. But the expectations have to be clear for what that looks like versus someone who's sitting in San Francisco coming in the office Monday through Thursday

Katelin: Absolutely.

Annette: And there are places for both. But it won't be exactly equal.

Katelin: You really have struck a chord with the conversations that I am privy to and the ones that I'm seeing even amongst our people leaders, communities are around how do I fix this, how do I fix this?

Annette: Yup.

Katelin: And, and the answer is sometimes we can't. But we can be thoughtful and intentional and manage expectations around it.

Annette: Yeah.

Katelin: The supporting frameworks and systems and policies that, that we have, the privilege of, of helping to shape and guide as people leaders, are going to impact the outcome of that, whether it is interview training and once you're on the ground structuring when we come together what the goals are, who should be there how we are being thoughtful and inclusive

Annette: Yes, yes. I can talk about that all day, yes (laughs).

Katelin: Well, go ahead, girl. Anything you want to say (laughs).

Annette: Right. I mean, honestly, it already was imbalanced for people of color.

Katelin: Yes.

Annette: That is just a reality. You can look at all the data. You can look at all the stats.

Katelin: Yeah.

Annette: Now, you have people of color who aren't sitting next to their majority peers working remotely. Again, all of those are choices but we need to at least call them out, Katelin. Because if we don't call them out, it will be too late before anyone notices the extreme gap that continues to be built, right?

Katelin: Yes.

Annette: And again, the gap may keep happening but I choose that gap.

Katelin: Right.

Annette: I choose to live again in Idaho, right, versus not.

Katelin: Right.

Annette: So, we've absolutely got to make sure that we're talking about this all the time because we, again, can't fix everything.

Katelin: Right.

Annette: But what we can do is just make sure that people acknowledge it. And then me as the individual employee takes ownership of my part in it.

Katelin: Yeah.

Annette: Because this is not just a company problem, right? It's not the company that did this to me. I made this choice and therefore here's the outcome. And so, that's what I speak to a lot of people about including friends and colleagues of color to say, "Here's the choices you're making. How do you feel about those choices?" Because again, in the end, it's not someone doing something to you, you were part of that decision as well.

Katelin: This whole conversation is just absolutely fascinating because I ... like I said, this is the first time that I'm having a conversation with a colleague that is saying there is no one-size-fits-all solution here. There is no like, "I found the hack. I found the magic key that unlocks the store." The reality is, is that, that some of the same crummy stuff that was happening before, it ... not only does it still exist, but in fact it's amplified in the negative.

Annette: Yeah.

Katelin: How do we build those systems again? Like, you know, even just thinking about performance management and talent development-

Annette: Yup.

Katelin: Access, opportunity. just reflections on your work, even rewards and recognition and feeling like you're a viable part of this community that's building into success.

Annette: Yeah.

Katelin: Do you have any tips around any of those things to help, besides having this conversation?

Annette: Yeah. A lot of it is around having the conversation. We implemented something called stay interviews. I put it in quotes because I did it at Facebook-

Katelin: yeah.

Annette: Before we called it, you know, engagement interviews. But how are we touching base with our talent which is even more important now when you don't see them every day? How are we touching base with them and asking them questions along the lines of, "Why are you at Envoy? What do you love about your work? What gets in your way of doing your best work? What can I do as your manager to support you?"

So, we've asked our managers to take one of their one on ones a quarter and really have the stay interview. And then we're going to start. Our HRB- B team is beefing up and we'll start collecting this data so that we can use this data in the future. We just started that. But again, it's around changing the mindset so that both parties again come to the table and be involved.

Katelin: Before skipping to my next topic, I just tactically have a question about your stay interviews. Do you conduct those on a platform? Or are you doing these live in person? Is this like a separate one on one? What, what do they look like to you?

Annette: Yes. So, live and in person, separate one on one. We're actually changing to Lattice. And so, hopefully, (laughing) we would be-

Katelin: Oh nice (laughing).

Annette: ... able to use ... Yeah. That's the goal is to have a tool to put this data in so we all can collect it. We just wanted to get started. And so, again, it's pen and paper right now just doing those again for the managers once a quarter.

Katelin: Yeah, the beauty of putting it in a tool like Lattice is you get to measure it over time, right?

Annette: Uh-huh, 100%. I can do that, certainly.

Katelin: So, actually, this is a perfect segue to my next topic which is actually retention.

Recruiting always gets the front row seat because we got to ... we need talent, we got to, we got to scale.

Annette: Yeah.

Katelin: But really the sleeper hit of 2022 is going to be retention.And people are trying to figure out, uh, you know, we, we call it the great resignation. I disagree with that. I think it's a great reprioritization. We are reprioritizing what is most important in our lives.

Annette: I'm with you, yup.

Katelin: And so, as you're thinking about retention at Envoy, and, and how that relates to the hybrid workplace culture, what are your thoughts or your observations in how, how that is ... not only how that has played out to date but how you're thinking about using the hybrid workplace moving forward with talent?

Annette: Yeah. First and foremost, we have to hire people that care deeply about this mission. That's the only way we're going to retain it in any kind of timeframe. And so, again, it's, it's the same things I've spoken about which is around interviewing and making sure we're hiring people that cared deeply about the mission.

The second piece around retention is making it worth their while to come into the office.

Katelin: Right.

Annette: So, we do things like breakfast, lunch, snacks. 

Katelin: God, I miss, I miss meals.

Annette: Right? I mean, you know you miss snacks, right? We have, you know, a video game to play during lunch. We all have lunch together so we can build community together every day, you know, from 12:00 to 1:00.

Katelin: Right.

Annette: So, again, we're making it worth their while to be in the office. We also allow dogs in the office.

Katelin: Oh nice.

Annette: Yeah, just small things so you don't have to figure out kind of pet sitting all week long. And then thirdly, how are we re- rewarding people when it comes to ... Our comp philosophy is around market value, fair pay, benefits. We actually have a credit to get you into the office that we give to every employee that you can use towards commuting, commuting.

Katelin: Nice.

Annette: So really, hiring the right people that care deeply about the mission, making it worth their while to get in the office, doing those perks and then training our managers. Making sure that their managers understand what are we doing to build great people, what are we doing to build great leaders, what are we doing to make sure that they are great leaders is all really, really important. Ultimately, people will change companies and they will look for things. Compensation will be one. Another will be if someone wants to be fully remote, this is not the right company for them and we're okay with it.

Katelin: Right, yeah.I know kids coming out of college don't want to be sitting at their house 100%, you know, sitting at their mom's kitchen table 100%.


Annette: And so, also trying to really think forward and what that future looks like is really important as well. And we spend a lot of time doing that.

Katelin: This is where we are now. We're all kind of settling into companies that either get it or they don't and they're, they're failing out or succeeding in, with Envoy being a leading voice in this conversation about how we work together and, and the safety and the community and all of those wonderful things that we've discussed, what is the future, future look like?

And I, I love that you're talking about Gen Z sitting there saying. They want community.

Annette: Right. Right? Exactly, right? I know like my boys and their friends, they want community. They want to be building something together. They don't want to do it every day. They love the concept of hybrid, just like they have classes three days a week, four days a week, not every day. And so, how are we building a world for them? Those companies that for example are 100% remote, that is both ends are different types of talent, 100% remote 100%, 100% in the office. The middle actually you get the best of as you said both worlds, but also the biggest talent pool, right?

Katelin: Exactly.

Annette: Because you've got people that want to build community, want to be in sometimes and want to work home sometimes. And I absolutely believe that's the future. I believe that the kids coming out of college will absolutely want that choice, that hybrid that they will want free lunch sometimes. They will want to be home working, kind of half working while they're playing on their computer. Or they will want to be working at 2:00 in the morning

Like there are so many things that they want that hybrid will allow for that. Another thing that's in the future is a world where you imagine a world where you've got your Envoy app and you ... there's four WeWork spaces or whatever those spaces on your app and you can decide where your friends are. And then you can go work with your friends from different companies. I mean, there are so many things, right?

Katelin: Absolutely.

Annette: That could be cool with what the future is in a hybrid way in an office, not even necessarily your own office every day.  Imagine a world where you can work cross with people that you went to college with. There are so many things that can be in that future, as we continue to build amazing products for the world.

Katelin: Annette, you're showing me the future and, and I'm in. I'm all in. I like it (laughs).

Annette: Good!

Katelin: There is no company better suited to, to lead the way and demonstrate, through action what it really means to, to work successfully and inclusively in a really thriving way. I am so grateful for your time and sharing all of those wonderful juicy tidbits and tactical things that we can all pick up, and start using today

But, Annette, are you ready for some Rapid Fire questions?

Annette: Yeah. I love it. This is my favorite thing. It's my favorite thing to do. So, oh, I'm so excited.

Katelin: Oh, my goodness 

So, you mentioned that you prefer to come into the office more than you, you like to stay at home, right? So, four out of five days.

Annette: Yes.

Katelin: How long is your commute?

Annette: One hour.

Katelin: One hour. That's a long commute. So, what do you do during that commute? Are you in music, podcast, radio, phone call, email? What are you doing in that commute?

Annette: None of those things. I read romance novels.

Katelin: Yes!

Annette: And I'm on the train. So I drive to the train station which is like 15 minutes. And then I sit on the train for an hour and I wouldn't trade that for the world because I read romance novels the entire time.

Katelin: How many you go ... do you go through in like a, a month? How many romance novels?

Annette: Oh, in a month?

Katelin: Yeah.

Annette: Gosh, probably 30.

Katelin: Yeah (laughs).

Annette: I can read them in one sitting though. And sometimes on the weekend, I can read two in one day.

Katelin: Aren't there enough romance novels in the world?

Annette: It's like visiting old friends. And I have a bunch of authors that I'm friends with on Facebook.

Katelin: Oh yeah.

Annette: I've had books dedicated to me. I've had characters named after me.

Katelin: Stop it.

Annette: I swear. Yeah. It's my jam.

Katelin: (laughing) I really loved the twist that this took.

In a world of virtual or video meetings, do you prefer a real background or the virtual green screen.

Annette: Real background, 100% 

I just care deeply about the people themselves and that green screen just ... I like to keep thinking about the whole time as to what's happening behind the screen. 

Katelin: What's your favorite productivity hack?

Annette: So, I get a lot of things done in a small amount of time. And it's because I don't sweat the small stuff. I would say really just having good lists. Lists are really important for me.

Katelin: Lists.

Annette: And like cranking through what the lists are that I'm gonna get done. Yup.

Katelin: When you're commuting home, how do you signal the end of your workday? 

Annette: Yeah. So, I actually believe in work-life blend, not work-life balance.

Katelin: I see that, too.

Annette: And what work-life, what work-life blend means is that I don't signal when it ends. I can read my romance novel at 5:00 when people are sending me emails because that's my time to do that on the train. And I check when I get off at 6:00. And then I go and I cook my dinner and I check before I go to bed and I go to bed. So, I believe really strongly in the work-life blend. If you live your life that way, that means there are moments when your life is more important and there's moments when work is more important.

Just like now,If I'm in a meeting with the CEO or anyone when my children call, I answer because I just really believe that in order to be successful at both, you have to make many tradeoffs I make many tradeoffs all day long.

Katelin: One more Rapid Fire question.

This one is a little bit more challenging but it's important. When was the last time you were deeply proud of something you had accomplished?

Annette: Something I personally ... Oh.

Katelin: I told you it's hard.

Annette: So, I get that every day with my boys.

I'm also a mother, a widowed mom of two boys. My oldest is graduating this year. My youngest is a freshman in college. And if you ask me the greatest thing I've ever done, it was focusing on them and, and knowing that I could put two men into the world that are going to be great humans. So, I feel really lucky to be where I am today. Like I am so blessed to know that when I chose. When my husband passed away and I chose to be there for them, the trade was worth it. Every day as a mom, I'm blessed, I'm proud every, every single day.

Katelin: You get me teary eyed again. Mom to mom, this is-

Annette: I know, me too on that one. He's gonna graduate next month, Katelin. I'm gonna be sitting there and know that I did that from when he was seven to 22 by myself. There's no greater gift than that in my mind.

Katelin: Truly, truly, truly. Throughout our conversation, you connected back, with that, that calling, that, that mission that you have personally to say, "I care about the things that I'm building at work because I care about the future for my children and for other children and their children's children to come," because creating this, this world and shaping the world is there is no greater mission. There is truly no greater mission.

There is no greater magic.

Annette: Yeah, I agree and no greater joy.

Katelin: Yeah. Truly.

You bring so much joy. I wish they could see your face. You, you, you lit up several times talking about the work, work that you, you do and the work that you're putting into this world with your team.

I am thrilled to have gotten to know you and I can ... I am excited to continue to watch the work in which you're building.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart and all of our listeners, thank you for all that you do. And so please, please keep living authentically.

Annette: So, thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure to talk to you. I appreciate the conversation and it's great to talk to another colleague who's been in this space and can think about it from the practical every day, you know.


Thanks so much for joining me on this week’s episode of All Hands, brought to you by Lattice. I’m your host, Katelin Holloway. 

Follow All Hands on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts… so you never miss an episode. 

In our next episode, Daisy Auger-Dominguez (oh - jhey domin-gez), Chief People Officer, tells me how she and her team re-invented the workplace culture at Vice Media Group.


"I had an opportunity to get everybody to hold hands and say we're going to do this and we're going to do this differently. We're not going to react to the moment, we're going to respond to what our employees need. We're not going to build lists of actions just to be performative. We're going to actually create the solutions that are necessary because we're going to do the work."

Learn more about how Lattice can help your business stay people focused at Lattice DOT com or find us on Twitter @LatticeHQ. 

All Hands is produced by Lattice in partnership with Pod People. Special thanks to our production team: Christine Swor, Annette Cardwell, Rachael King, Aimee Machado, Danielle Roth, Jessica Pilot and Carter Wogan. 

Until next time, keep leading authentically!

About the Guest

podcast guest

Annette Reavis

Annette is Chief People Officer at Envoy, where she leads global efforts to attract the best and brightest talent and to build diverse teams. Reavis was most recently Chief People Officer at startups Athos and Root. Before Root, she spent a decade at Facebook leading HR for multiple teams: product, marketing, growth & integrity, community operations, and partnerships. Before Facebook, Reavis spent years at HP, Yahoo!, and Deloitte & Touche in HR leadership where she built up her skills in talent strategy, business partnerships, culture and team building, training and development, and mentoring.

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