Okta's Kristina Johnson On Dynamic Work & Moving Beyond Remote
Best-Self Management · 43 minutes ·

Okta's Kristina Johnson On Dynamic Work & Moving Beyond Remote

The year 2020 has dramatically shifted the role of people leaders in business. COVID and the racial justice movement has rightly forced managers to take a hard look at their organization’s priorities. This is a time when human nature itself is being put back at the center of companies. As we consider the importance of how people feel while at work, good leaders are recognizing the opportunities to improve company culture.


About Kristina Johnson

As the Chief People Officer at Okta. Kristina Johnson leads the organization’s global people function. She is responsible for the company’s human capital management strategy and oversees talent acquisition, talent development, total rewards, and engagement programs.

Kristina brings more than 20 years of human resources experience to Okta and has worked across a variety of industries, including technology, software, consulting, and engineering, ranging from start-ups to large multi-national established businesses. She is an experienced leader of global teams and adept at driving change management across diverse regions.


Bringing the Human Element Back to Work

Despite the massive tragedy it has brought, the global COVID pandemic has had a positive side-effect. It has accelerated the role of remote work and forced many organizations to rethink how they promote efficiency. It has also reemphasized the human element of work. With managers focused on how to support the emotional aspect of work, old paradigms are being re-imagined.


The New Dynamic Workplace

Kristina explains how her company is embracing the new dynamics of the workplace. This involves recognizing that we are all complex humans and work styles should reflect this. Going beyond simply allowing remote work, companies can give their people a huge range of choices to support them. By providing flexibility around this, organizations can better support their people and see a huge return in productivity.


In This Episode

  • How COVID and racial justice awareness has shifted the priorities of leaders in business [0:57]
  • Teaching empathy in the workplace [3:00]
  • Balancing the needs of remote work with the desire to return to a physical workplace [4:30]
  • The difference between dynamic work and remote work [7:35]
  • The role of the post-COVID office [10:52]
  • Managing communication and getting accurate feedback in a virtual workplace [14:54]
  • Recognizing the opportunities that come with crisis [20:50]
  • How to incentivize employees not to overwork themselves [25:50]
  • Creating environments to support extraordinary managers [30:48]
  • How to measure engagement in a meaningful way [37:28]



“As tragic as the global pandemic and racial injustice has been - and you can’t ignore that - there have been positive side-effects.” [2:25]

“People are multifaceted. Everyone works differently. People like to be managed differently. People are productive at different times. If we can get out of people’s way and let them work, they would get so much done.” [10:35]

“Now more than ever, we need to invest in managers because they’re the first line of defense in making sure the employees are taken care of.” [31:49]

“If we’re going to have a culture of builders and owners, we need to empower our employees.” [32:39]


Key Takeaways

1. Recent events have shifted the role of people managers. They now play a crucial role in supporting the workforce at an emotional level. Teaching and supporting empathy is a large part of this. 

2. Dynamic work goes beyond remote work. With dynamic work, leaders can provide true choices to their employees. Investing in employees through access to stipends supports them in numerous ways. Also, without the geographic constraints of a physical workplace, the talent pool has never been wider.


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