JUST ANNOUNCED: The New Era of Leadership 2024 Award Winners


Jill Penrose

Chief People and Company Services Officer, J.M. Smucker


How This Chief People Officer Developed a Hybrid Model That’s Working for Everyone

While many leaders rushed to get employees back in the office post-pandemic, J.M. Smucker’s Chief People and Administrative Officer Jill Penrose took her time to ensure that her company was truly meeting the needs of its employees. Before mapping out a model, she and her team conducted individual interviews with employees to hear about their hopes and fears for their post-pandemic work life. Using the insights gathered, J.M. Smucker implemented a unique return-to-office strategy that has been well-received by employees. Instead of a full-time or weekly hybrid model, employees are asked to be at Smucker’s headquarters six days a month during “core” weeks to overlap with their teams. “Our employees recognize that we’ve given this a lot of thought and no model is perfect,” Penrose says. “I think that’s a challenge that many companies have who put a model in place with no ‘why’ behind it. We’re trying to accomplish a few things, including in-person business delivery, developing our talent, building our culture, and allowing for flexibility.”

By: Courtney Connley