The Great Resignation & The Future Of Work: Adrian Jonklass Of Covalent On How Employers and Managers Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

I am very optimistic about the desire for innovation. It is exciting to see so many motivated and intelligent people coming together across the globe, connected by technology, to work on projects with a tangible goal of changing the world for the better.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Adrian Jonklass.

Adrian Jonklass is CFO, COO, and head of research at Covalent, a Coinbase Ventures and Binance Labs backed data provider that brings visibility to billions of Web3 data points. Jonklass has 15+ years of executive experience across multiple ventures, including co-founding Dignii — a leading data platform derived from human insights.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

I graduated close to the top of my class from a top 50 MBA program into the recession following the dotcom bust in 2002. As there were mass layoffs in Tech, I worked a variety of jobs that I would have never have considered doing, including selling cars and conducting market research on real estate foreclosures. Those experiences helped me in my subsequent career in market research and consulting to real estate developers and family offices in Dubai. Over a decade later, as a well rounded business person, I was able to realize my dreams of being a tech entrepreneur.

What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

Remote and hybrid work models are certainly here to stay. For many companies, applying flexible policies when it comes to in-person or remote work is crucial for both attracting talent and streamlining productivity.

It is impossible to predict the future, especially considering how much has changed in the past two years. However, for Web3-based organizations, the idea of “decentralization” now transcends beyond the blockchain and is often brought to life in the workplace — projects no longer require all team members to be in one place, and instead talent is scattered across the globe and engage in virtual collaboration. At Covalent, we implement a hybrid and flexible work model with a core team based in Greater Vancouver and a distributed team throughout Canada and a few countries globally. For the team in Greater Vancouver, most come in to our amazing 5,000 square foot office 3–4 times a week.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? How can employers reconcile those gaps?

It is important for any employer to do their best to understand the needs of their employees, as well as the best ways to attract the highest level of talent.

An approach that has worked well for Covalent is placing equal emphasis on hiring candidates who share our core values and candidates who have the skill set required for the open role. In our experience, employees who share the same values are more willing to embrace the changes that all startups experience, including taking on new roles and responsibilities. This helps with our retention as well as opening up new learning, development, and career opportunities.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

The workforce is changing at an increasing rate and hence re-training and re-education are key. It is interesting to see emergent models, such as “train now; pay when placed,” become more popular, in this case, with the training institute taking on part of the risk of the training being relevant. An innovation we are seeing in Web3 is the emergence of decentralized and on-chain credentials, which can remove gatekeepers and friction around access to credentials, transcripts, records of employment, and other achievements. In Web3, we also see implementations of Universal Basic Income, which is a stipend that is available to anyone who wants, to cover basic living expenses so to allow more people to take on unpredictable gig-work, start an entrepreneurial venture, or take up artistic and creative pursuits. These and much more innovation are required to retrain the tens of millions of people who will be displaced by workers who are digital native and who trained to use digital tools.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

I am very optimistic about the desire for innovation. It is exciting to see so many motivated and intelligent people coming together across the globe, connected by technology, to work on projects with a tangible goal of changing the world for the better.

That is one of the most enthralling aspects of the blockchain industry in particular — how contagious the excitement and energy is, and how motivated the whole space is to build products with immense real-world value.

What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

Mental health and well being is critical to both individual and team success. The hardships brought on by the pandemic served as a wake-up call to many businesses to acknowledge and tackle this important topic.

By offering flexible remote work policies, employers are putting more trust in their employees than ever, which fosters a relationship of mutual respect and accountability. We ensure our benefit plan has mental health related coverage. We also use a 4-day work week in the Summer to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the beautiful region we live in and to promote mental health and work life balance.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

The most important message any leader can take away from these headlines is to care for your employees as real people, and not just as members of a business. People want to be seen and heard, and they want to feel like they are part of a team where they are valued.

What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

I like the quote [from the Bible] that, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every[thing].” The current season may feel like Winter, so we should do the things that we do well in Winter, which is, to sharpen our tools, build our skills, processes, and capacity i.e. get prepared and ready for the inevitable Spring and the growth to come. Covalent was born in a crypto bear market and are well poised to use this Season not just to survive but to potential increase our market share.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

Visit our website — — where you can see everything that the team at Covalent is working so hard to build. We post blogs, and reviews frequently. Also follow our Twitter account (@Covalent_HQ) and Telegram channel to remain updated on community and product developments.

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

The Great Resignation & The Future Of Work: Adrian Jonklass Of Covalent On How Employers and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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