How and Where We Work Matters Even More in Today’s Hybrid Era

Recently, Twisthink was recognized as one of Crain’s Coolest Places to Work in 2022. It is a great privilege to be recognized for having a cool place – but the evolving nature of the “workplace” is different today than it was just a few years ago. As you’ll read, it’s not just about the cool place, it’s about the culture that matters through words and actions.

This raises a challenge that employers are currently grappling with:

In an era of accommodating remote and hybrid work demands, does on-site culture or physical office space even matter like it once did?

Our answer is yes. In fact, it matters even more.

 

UX and practicing what we preach

Our work is designed to lead clients to discovering new and innovative ways to solve problems and create impact. While our end solutions incorporate digital technology, how we get to that end solution is through human-centered design and open innovation.

When it comes to the challenges of the workplace, how you design it must reflect the desires and needs of your team members first, which is a tenet of the user experience.

The needs of your company will differ from ours. Yet we observed and learned that the collaborative problem-solving work we do and the creative combustion that happens when our people are working side by side matters. It cannot be fully replicated on a screen. These insights drive our intentionality about the culture and environment we seek to foster.

 

Glean from our employee experiences

Right now, figuring out the future of work and what works best is a common challenge for every business, and these are the kinds of questions on the minds of leaders:

  • What should our remote/hybrid policy be?
  • How much space do we need for our team?
  • Do we scale back if they are only in the office intermittently?
  • What programs do we need or let go of?
  • Can we trust people to be as efficient in their job remotely as they were in the office?

Attempts to answer these questions without hearing from your people won’t provide optimal results. And they aren’t the only questions you should be considering.

Our recommendation is to listen to what motivates our people. Chances are similar motivations exist within your people.

As we prepare to embark on creating a new space in Grand Rapids to accommodate our growing team, our team is making it clear what matters most to them. And we’ll be leaning heavily on what they want and need to help them do their best work.

 

On why our team members like coming to work:

Working at Twisthink has given me the unique balance of being challenged and encouraged daily. I am challenged to create meaningful digital strategies for our clients, and to create positive influence and high value to their key stakeholders as well as drive growth for their company. I am challenged to always think bigger, strive for breakthrough solutions. I am also encouraged by working alongside exceptional talent and cross-functional teams to create great user experiences. And I am encouraged that we do this within a great culture that honors different thoughts and perspectives, allowing all team members to make a difference and have a voice throughout the development process.

Rob Huber
– Chief Strategy Officer since 2021

 

There’s an “energy buzz” that you feel as soon as you walk into our space. This makes coming to work feel like less of a chore and more of an opportunity to expand your abilities and thinking. I’ve been able to uncover an interest in another role here at Twisthink. As soon as I shared this interest with my team, they made it a priority to make sure I was able to get the exposure and experience that I needed. This has led to me uncovering new passions that feel more aligned with my skillsets. I would have never been able to explore those interests if I weren’t at a company like Twisthink that cared enough about its people to help us reach our full potential.

Shelby Boyd
 – Graphic Designer (soon to be UI Designer) since 2021

 

It’s the team and the work. My co-workers are experts in their work and yet always learning and leaning in. Our leaders are invested in growing me as a person, a leader, and an engineer. The work here is innovative and impactful, and people are truly treated as the greatest asset to this company.

Isaac Chen – Software Engineer since 2021

 

 

I have an opportunity to be a part of an amazing team with strong leadership focused on creating an impact through innovation. Each employee is viewed as a business leader, and we are challenged and supported with opportunities to grow.

Esther Lastacy – Project Lead since 2021

 

 

On motivations to join the company, or stay for the long haul:  

I wanted to stay and work full-time after my internship because I found Twisthink to be a place that actively fosters growth. Not only in my engineering career, but also my personal and professional development through mentorship, lunch and learn events, Team Experience Collaborative (TEC) discussions, and so many other opportunities. I also appreciate the willingness of everyone at Twisthink to feed my curiosity and to improve my strengths.

Belina Sainju – Electronics Engineer since 2022 

 

 

Our team’s culture of excellence and willingness to serve has kept me here. Add to that the ability to work with clients across a diverse set of industries and products makes each day unique and challenging.

Matt Shinew – Director of Technology since 2007

 

A couple of things stand out to me during my tenure at Twisthink. Our “Team first” culture: I love pursuing the same goal with a committed group of motivated people. The team has always been a top priority and we have never deviated from this during my 13-plus years of service. And our focus on innovation: I have the privilege to exercise thought leadership and creative thinking every day. As a team we are on the forefront of new ideas, products, and solutions. I find this exciting, but it hasn’t always been easy. Innovation involves risk and I tend to be a risk-averse individual. Through the innovation process, I’ve experienced personal growth by embracing change, courage, and boldness. These experiences continue to shape me and I’m grateful for them.

Ryan Johnson – Team Lead, Principal Algorithm Engineer since 2009

 

On the importance of cultivating an inviting culture and space:

Our space and culture promote collaboration. We enjoy what we do and enjoy talking through the wonderfully complex challenges our customers and their stakeholders deal with day to day. As we craft focused solutions, we find ourselves drawing on a whiteboard together, standing together next to our desks, or even working on a virtual whiteboard. That desire to work together, challenging and promoting new ideas to solve problems is a cornerstone of who we are.

Kent Pilcher – Principal Industrial/UI Designer since 2005

 

I love that our company prioritizes its people. Many organizations say this, but Twisthink really means it. It is evident in the investments made, the initiatives supported, and the high bar that is held when building the team. The Twisthink team constantly inspires me, and to truly feel valued is priceless.

Taryn Kutches – Director of Customer Experience and Marketing since 2019

 

 

I’ve always been good at problem solving and leading projects, but I was looking for a company that would connect those skills to my passion for people. I saw a company that was driving incredible results and solutions for their customers but doing it in a way that honored them and their own teammates – and culture was a big differentiator. I appreciated the intentionality and investment Twisthink embeds in everything they do within their team. Looking around, it was clear they just do things differently.

Shannon Wynne – Project Lead since 2022

 

I wanted to be part of something big, something that would make a positive impact on the world. Everyone here is part of the team; everyone’s voice is heard, and opinions are considered. Together we learn and grow to accomplish our goals and touch the lives of so many people through our work.

Ariel Veneziano – Accountant since 2021

 

 

One thing that I love about Twisthink is our hybrid approach to remote and in-office work. I enjoy the in-person collaboration in a creative, dynamic environment that is essential to our work, and it helps build stronger relationships with my team. And I also appreciate the option to work from home as it helps me to focus and implement my work with minimal distractions, while gaining valuable time back by eliminating my commute on remote days.

Kaitlyn Marsman – Marketing Lead since 2015

 

On how to keep creating impact:

Our focus is on creating impact – impact for our clients for sure, but even more broadly we are running towards impact on our community and on global problems. This is an environment where we can bring both our professional and personal goals to work every day.

Kurt Dykema – Chief Technology Officer since 2001

 

 

It’s an exciting time to be a part of Twisthink as we continue to expand our team, our capabilities, and our space. Twisthink has come this far by remaining curious, listening to our customers, strategically pursuing what’s next, and being unafraid to chart new paths. Our success has been possible because our team trusts and believes in the vision – and in each other. I believe we have something extraordinary here, and we look forward to future employees experiencing that with us.

Bob Niemiec – Managing Partner since 2001

 

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