How to use highly engaged Facebook groups to grow your business with Valeria Ignatieva from WORK180

Oct 28, 2021

The Facebook algorithm is interesting. As the platform matures, so does the way you use it for organic (aka free) growth of your business. But have you really considered a marketing strategy around creating a highly engaged Facebook group? Find out how women focused job seeking company WORK180, did just that and more on this episode of Forward Thinking.

Valeria Ignatieva (Co-CEO & founder of WORK180), and Brendan Hill (Employee #4 and head of content at Metigy)

In this episode we have WORK180’s Co-CEO and founder, Valeria Ignatieva.

Valeria’s passion and expertise is in gender diversity, recruitment and employee engagement. And as Mark Puncher from Employer Branding Australia says “She’s a thought-leader without the hype and a strategist with rolled-up sleeves. If you’re working on diversity, talk to her”.

WORK180 connects women with progressive employers by pre-screening companies on amount of paid parental leave, pay equity, flexible working and much more. Transparency around these policies is driving incredible change; on average, once every two weeks a WORK180 Endorsed Employer improves a policy or benefit.

Founded in 2015, WORK180 is backed by Atlassian’s private investment fund Skip Capital and raised over $5.8m in venture capital.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How the push for transparency facilitated a positive social impact for female workers
  • How WORK180 grew from the ground up with $20,000 and campaigns on diversity
  • Tips on gaining event traction in the early days
  • The benefits of building a strong Facebook group
  • Networking with the right people to grow your startup
  • How anonymity drives Facebook engagement and facilitates valuable and shareable content
  • Changing careers with transferable skills
  • How to grow your business globally while working remotely
  • Preparing your candidates and employees with the agile environment of startups
  • Setting boundaries when you’re working from home

Notable Quotes:

  • “It’s going to take over a hundred years to close that gender equality gap”
  • “Through transparency, we have employers now changing their policies at a rate of one employer every three weeks, sometimes more”
  • “Don’t look for cultural fit, look for cultural contribution”
  • “We have very engaged facebook groups where we have shortlist topics we think are interesting and people can vote on them. Then you’re getting that engagement around. If you’re already invested into coming to an event, you’re more likely to attend”
  • “In areas where it’s really hard to pull off an event, ask people to pre-commit”

Resources mentioned:

Book recommendations:

What business would you build on Mars?

You know how they say “whatever you experience personally you always try to find a solution for”? I got lost on the way here from the station so for me, a google maps to get around. I’m sure the martians would appreciate it as well!

Anything around integrating the community. If there’s a meetup platform where there’s translation services in place, how do we actually get people to mingle with the martians in terms of events? Because I love playing basketball… don’t know how gravity will help in that case- how do we start a sporting event? Imagine the marketing. Everyone wearing their Chicago Bulls singlet. Space Jam! There you go. This is obviously if work180 isn’t launched over there.

Reach Valeria here:

Transcript (or download the pdf here)

Daren (00:05):

The Facebook algorithm is pretty interesting. As the platform matures, so does the way you can use it for organic, aka free, growth of your business. But have you really considered a marketing strategy around creating a highly engaged Facebook group? Find out how women-focused job-seeking company WORK180 did just that and more on this episode of Forward Thinking.

Daren (00:29):

Hey everyone, I’m Daren Lake, the audio content manager here at Metigy. Welcome to Forward Thinking, a podcast by Metigy. In this series, we speak with inspirational business owners, brands, and marketing experts to learn from their experiences on the frontline and uncover what it takes to build a world-class business. In this episode, we have on WORK180’s co-CEO and founder, Valeria Ignatieva. Valeria’s passion and expertise is in gender diversity, recruitment, and employee engagement, and as Mark Puncher from Employer Branding Australia says on LinkedIn, she’s a thought leader without the hype and a strategist with rolled-up sleeves. If you’re working on diversity, talk to her.

WORK180 connects women with progressive employers by pre-screening companies on amount of paid parental leave, pay equity, flexible working, and much more. Transparency around these policies is driving incredible change. On average, once every two weeks a WORK180 endorsed employer improves a policy or benefit. Founded in 2015, WORK180 is backed by Atlassian’s private investment fund, Skip Capital, and to date has raised over 5.8 million in venture capital.

Daren (01:33):

A few things you’ll learn in this episode, the benefits of building a strong Facebook group, networking with the right people to grow your startup company, how anonymity drives Facebook engagement and facilitates valuable and shareable content, how to grow your business globally while working remotely, and much more. Let’s jump right into the start of the conversation with Metigy’s head of content, Brendan Hill, and Valeria.

Brendan (01:57):

Valeria, welcome to the show.

Valeria (01:59):

Thanks for having me.

Brendan (02:01):

So, you’re working on WORK180, but before we get to that, I wanted to find out what was your first exposure to marketing?

Valeria (02:10):

Oh, I fell into marketing and technology at the same time. So, I was in my mid-twenties, and I had accepted a role at a tech company that was quite small at the time, and they were working with SharePoint. Not sure if you’re familiar with SharePoint.

This is going to sound offensive for some people, but probably not the most kind of exciting technology to market. So, it was an interesting learning curve because I knew nothing about tech or really marketing, but by asking a lot of questions, and kind of learning the ropes on the job, my first assignment was to create a massive launch at Microsoft for a really, really old version of SharePoint now in Sydney, and we had over a hundred people attend, so that was quite successful. 

So, it was about inviting people, getting them to understand the pain points that SharePoint could solve. In saying that it wasn’t very exciting back then, it was actually really good to work with, and we built some certain systems for marketing on SharePoint as well which was really cool. So, really shouldn’t be talking it down like that.

Brendan (03:19):

So, you took your long career in marketing, and then a few years ago, you started WORK180. So, you’re super passionate about this. I can tell when you talk about it. It’s a fast-growing company. It’s doing important work. So, can you tell me about the moment when you realized that this was something important that you had to start?

Valeria (03:39):

Well, it was actually my co-founder’s idea, Gemma. So, I had my own marketing consultancy at that point in time working in tech, but I was also volunteering with Females in IT and telecommunications, and I found that the work that I was doing there was actually way more rewarding than my paid job. And so, when Gemma had the idea about creating this platform to help women connect with supportive employers, through my own experiences as a single parent, work in technology as well, I really connected with that vision. So, it wasn’t long after that, that I jumped on board and we created WORK180 together.

Brendan (04:15):

Can you tell us more about WORK180?

Valeria (04:17):

Sure. So, we are a international platform that connects talented women with the most progressive employers, and how we do that is by pre-screening the employers. So, before they come on board, we look at things like, do they have flexible working discussions at interview stage, are they open to having those discussions, do they have paid parental leave, do they have coaching, do they have targets for women in leadership, are they an equal pay ambassador, that’s an Australian question.

In the UK, for example, they actually expose their pay gap. So, there’s about 30 different criteria questions in Australia at the moment and a bit less in the UK and also US is starting up, and that really helps women identify what the employer has on offer. It also helps drive change because through this transparency, we have employers now changing their policies at a rate of one employer changes the policy every three weeks.

Sometimes more than one as well. So, it’s driven incredible social impact whilst helping women find jobs with employers who are really, really looking for that talented team member.

Brendan (05:20):

Why is this an important area?

Valeria (05:22):

Well, gender equality. I think, I’m sure everyone listening understands how important that is. Something that people might not realize is that it’s going to take quite a long time, over a hundred years was the last estimate, to actually close that gender equality gap.

And what we are doing is really looking at things that are important, both to women, also men. So, things like advocating for gender-neutral parental leave policies so that men can also spend time with their newborns, not worry about financial troubles, and also enable women to return to the workforce and have that participation that they should.

Brendan (05:56):

Can you take me back to the early days of WORK180? So, you met with Gemma. You had this fantastic idea. You started to implement it. What were some of the challenges in the early days and how did you get people on both sides of the marketplace onto the platform?

Valeria (06:12):

That’s a really big challenge, I think for anyone who has that two-sided marketplace. So, for us, we bootstrapped the business to about 10 staff, and there was no kind of huge investment from ourselves. We had $20,000 from Gemma’s father who became our first employer as well.

That just went on building the website essentially. So, it didn’t go very far in terms of huge marketing budgets, and we did a lot of content. We also ran campaigns. So, one of our first campaigns was Leaders in Diversity. So, we reached out to different managing directors and CEOs and asked them why diversity was important to them, and shared their messages and different initiatives that they were running within their companies because that’s what… In all my conversations, through my volunteering prior to that, I was meeting all these amazing people that would tell me that we’ve got this program for women in tech, we’re trying to upskill young girls to get interested into tech, so bringing that together to share, and then obviously, they shared it as well, was really good in getting the word out to both sides of the market.

Valeria (07:14):

We also ran a lot of events for both employers and candidates as well to help them with things like their personal branding, interview skills, anything that our audience found valuable, which is hugely important, finding out what’s important to them and then facilitating those connections and those opportunities to educate someone about those things.

Brendan (07:34):

Can you tell me more about the events because this is an area, we’ve had some podcast guests on, events are often hit or miss, how did you make events successful in the early days for WORK180?

Valeria (07:46):

Well, I was listening to one of your earlier podcasts with, I think it was Fleur.

Brendan (07:50):

Yeah, Fleur Brown.

Valeria (07:51):

So, she was talking about TEDx being a small event initially. Same with us. Every event starts off quite small. So, I remember in the early days, we probably rang everyone we knew and emailed everyone we knew and had like five people rock up.

But you’ve got to keep going, and we are now at the stage where we’d sell out an event with 80 attendees in a few days. We run Super Daughter Day which has thousands of girls rocking up with their parents to learn about technology and that gets sold out through to, I mean, we’ve been in the UK for less than two years and we just held a careers’ fair for women in tech late last year and had 400 women registered to attend at Google Campus.

Valeria (08:28):

You’ve got to have the right, I guess, content. So, we have very engaged Facebook groups where, excuse me, we might have a shortlist of topics that we think are interesting and then people can vote them on them. So, then you’re getting that engagement around if you’ve already invested in coming to an event, then you’re more likely to attend. Another tip for some people as well, in areas where it’s really hard to pull off event because maybe there’s a really small database that you have over there, ask people to almost pre-commit to say, “Right. We’re thinking of running this event. Would you come along? This is the date.”

Then at least you know you’ve got, say, 10 people that are definitely coming. Say even if half of them drop off, then you might find another five somewhere else because you really do just need that small, tiny base for your first event. You can’t expect hundreds of people to come immediately. And then, yeah, there’s lots and lots of different ways to reach out to people, LinkedIn, Facebook, newsletter, social media, the usual suspects.

Brendan (09:25):

What’s the call to action at the end of your events?

Valeria (09:28):

I guess it depends. Well, there’s some standard ones like inviting them to join the virtual community so they’ve got somewhere to connect, also perhaps signing up to our newsletters. It could be registering on the website, just depending on their needs because if they are happily employed, they’ll probably follow us for the content that we share and the guides that we develop because that would help anyone, whether you’re job searching or not. Yeah.

Brendan (09:52):

You mentioned the Facebook group that you have. So, I wanted to touch on community building now. So, you have a super-strong community, a passionate tribe. How did you cut through the noise and provide them value and continue to grow the community?

Valeria (10:06):

That’s a great question, and I just also remembered that we started our events on meetup.com and then moved off there. So, just another tip because that’s already an existing platform of people with interest so you don’t have to start on your own. So, with a Facebook group, it was really interesting because initially, I actually wanted to go out and just invite everyone we knew and bombard it. And then one of my colleagues actually said, “Look, I think we need to nurture it very slowly and very carefully.”

Valeria (10:31):

We did that and we invited people that we knew were real passionate advocates for what we were doing. So, you can’t just post a post in this to avoid people spamming and so on. So, we have a few rules. We preapproved these posts. And what I think has been a real driving kind of factor in driving engagement there was people often send us anonymous questions to ask of the other women in the group, and often they would post questions themselves, and lots and lots of people would jump in. So, I’m talking about things like how do I tell my boss that I’m pregnant after the last experience had me fired.

Valeria (11:08):

And what happened with that particular post was… It was so amazing. First of all, the women are so supportive. So, there was everyone, first of all, offering supportive comments, but then also sharing their experiences. One HR leader who works with us actually came back to me and wrote this really extensive email, almost like a to-do list, this is what you do before, this is what you do during, this is what you do after.

I asked for her permission to repost that as a blog so we can help more people. She agreed. So, not only did we go back to this person who was anonymous with this great checklist, we also included that on our website. She shared it on her LinkedIn so we reached a much larger group of people, and I find that we are now going through the Facebook group and basically like developing guides and pieces of content because that information’s so valuable.

Brendan (11:51):

What type of pieces of content do you find perform best for WORK180?

Valeria (11:57):

We’ve got a rolling list. Let me see if I can, and it kind of changes, but the themes are very common. Things like coming back to work after a career break, building your confidence as well because especially in technology, things move so quickly that you go on holidays and you come back and kind of feel a bit out of place, even if you’ve just gone for a few weeks, and let alone having say six months or two years out of the workforce. So, that’s a popular one.

Changing careers, especially later in life. So, using your cross-transferrable skills to go into a space that you think you don’t have a place in yet you do because you have all these amazing skills that the right company would value. Negotiating flexible working, building a personal brand, excuse me, interviewing, and all the usual kind of job search-related questions as well, building resilience.

Brendan (12:47):

What type of format is resonating with your audience? Have you delved into video or is it mainly just written?

Valeria (12:54):

Videos are really popular for our product updates so we’re using that at the moment for that kind of content delivery. We write a lot of blogs and they are very well-read, but I would like to do more video content around those tips. Sometimes Facebook Live has worked well as well.

Brendan (13:10):

It’s done via live streaming.

Valeria (13:12):

Yeah, yeah. And also events, people love connecting with speakers in person and actually hearing their stories and then being able to ask questions at the end.

Valeria (13:19):

And podcasts, I should say.

Brendan (13:23):

So, it’s really impressive what you’ve done with the community, and you’ve been in the UK for two years, as you mentioned. I wanted to find out more about how you’ve actually grown the community while your team has been a hundred percent distributed. So, you don’t have a central office location. How have you managed to build a community and expand into the UK with everyone in different locations?

Valeria (13:46):

You know, just as you asked me that question, I thought to myself, I think being fully remote has actually helped with that because imagine if we were in an office say in Melbourne, you would be so inwardly focused. You’ll be doing everything in Melbourne, wouldn’t you?

Valeria (13:59):

The reason I say this because somebody the other day pointed out that we do really well in terms of remote working because everybody’s remote. So, it’s not like there’s always people in the office, having a meeting, and then there’s a few randoms dialing in. Everybody’s on Zoom, like a Brady bunch. So, I think the same applies to building a global community because we think about how can we reach people in each state in Australia, for example.

In the UK, we had somebody on the ground, but also working remotely, organizing the events across London, and then looking also, sometimes we get asked to go to some of the other further away area as well. So, I’m actually taking a trip in late Feb, and then we’ll go out and maybe go to Manchester and so on and run events there depending on where people want us to go.

Valeria (14:47):

So, it all comes back to surveying your members, your community, figuring out, I mean, there’s no point trying to pull off an event where you don’t really have a community as yet because that’ll be hard. Concentrate on your areas where you’ve built that community, and then as I mentioned earlier, perhaps get a bit of a expression of interest.

So, if we were to go to, I don’t know, Adelaide is a good example because we actually were planning to do this, we would get our Facebook group members to perhaps work with us on a suitable date that works for the majority of them, and then they can bring their colleagues and their friends, start off small because you’ve got to build that trust as well because as you said earlier, everyone’s running events left, right, and center. Why should I go to this one is what you need to think of.

Brendan (15:26):

Mm. And when you’re hiring distributed marketing talent for example, so I’ve had many colleagues and I’ve done some hiring of freelancers myself at the moment. And Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, he was one of the first to really champion a hundred percent distributed teams, and now there’s companies like Basecamp, Envision, Zapier. These guys all have large distributed team. So, Valeria, I was wondering what are some of the ways that we can ensure that we’re getting the best person for the job and how do you manage these guys continuously?

Valeria (16:03):

Well, there’s a few questions in there. So, I guess the first one is making sure that they are clearly aware of what the environment is like to work in. So, for example, people are sold on the dream initially when they come and interview with you. But I almost try to, this sounds kind of a bit, not crazy, but almost like scare the person. So, you could say, “All right, you’re sold on the dream. The reality is we’re a fast-moving startup. We’re very agile. Things might change all the time. How do you feel about that? Tell me a time when you’ve worked in that environment.”

The right people will actually look at you and say, “I thrive in those conditions, and that’s what I love. I love chaos. I thrive in chaos.” Because you’ve got to admit it, if you’re a startup founder, you know you thrive in chaos. If you don’t, you wouldn’t be here. I mean, we’ve had people that have had similar roles before that understand it, but then also you’ve got to give people a go that perhaps have not worked in that environment before but they’re clearly aware of what they’re going to be facing.

Valeria (17:02):

We also get peer interviews done. So, you can have a chat to your peers and ask them the questions that are probably something that you’ll be more comfortable asking them, rather than say the CEO or the people and culture manager that’s interviewing you. So, that’s really valuable. Does that help? Do you want me to delve down-

Brendan (17:19):

That does help, and it’s good that you have kept your values from 2016. In doing some research for this podcast, I saw a quote from you in 2016, “If you position your company as something it’s not, people will find out fairly quickly and leave, possibly taking some of the best talent with them.” So, I think it’s important as you mentioned to scare them.

Valeria (17:40):

Probably needs a nice word, I guess, but you know what I mean. It’s kind of just painting that realistic picture, and yeah, because as that quote says, the last thing you want is someone to come in and go, “Oh, I didn’t expect that.” So, we often ask, well, we ask all the time really of all the new starters, “Have you had any surprises? Is it as what you expected?” And most people say, the most common comment we get is usually, “I feel more connected to my team than I did working in the brick and mortar office,” which is really amazing.

Valeria (18:08):

But I’ve been working flexibly and remotely for, geez, over 10 years now. Gemma and I built the company when she was in Brisbane, I was in Melbourne. So, to me, it’s not even a thing. It’s how you get productive. But we’ve got to understand that other people coming in might really need help, and we’ve got a staff member that wrote a wonderful blog about working remotely. So, you’ve really got to be careful in making sure that they are having all their challenges addressed from anything as simple as setting up a workspace through to managing to switch off as well. We could have a whole podcast, I think, on remote working, can’t we?

Brendan (18:40):

Yeah. No, we could. But I might ask one selfish question for myself area on working remotely. So, how do you focus when you’re working at home? Because I know when I work at home sometimes, it’s difficult, a lot of distractions. I have my beautiful golden retriever, Brielle, and my cat, Harper, distracting at certain times of the day. What are some of the tips that you use to keep focused?

Valeria (19:02):

I was just thinking of my son who now is so well trained that he’ll come up to me and he’ll say, this sounds so strict, “Can I talk?” because he’s gotten a few glares when I’m mid-email and then someone comes over and goes, “Oh, check this out,” or whatever, and then you’re just like, “Would you just leave me alone?” But I think distractions at home, whether it’s animals, children, or partners, potentially your friends, you’ve got to set your boundary.

That is tough. I mean, I love to work from coffee shops and restaurants. So, if I need a change of scenery, I will move and go somewhere there. I kind of don’t like to be disturbed. So, to avoid having my poor son kind of feel like he needs to come up and get permission to speak, I might just go into my room kind of thing or into another room where it’s not as tempting to start a conversation.

Valeria (19:50):

I don’t have a pet. I’ve got indoor plants that I can go and visit as I please. Maybe shut yourself away from the dog or, I mean, yeah, it’s the same thing as if you’re in an office. I’ll make lists. I know what I’m working on. I have meetings set up, but I’m just so used to it as well that practice makes perfect. So, you’ll know your most productive state. Some people hate working in cafes. I love it because there is no distractions.

There is no pets. There’s no children. There’s background noise, but I love the fact that everyone around me is working so I feel like I’m in this productive environment because at home, you might get writers’ block and there’s nothing there to kind of snap you out of it, or going for a walk, exercising in the middle of a day. I do Pilates and I structure my day around that as well so that helps.

Brendan (20:33):

Yeah, touching on writer’s block and cafes, J.K. Rowling actually wrote Harry Potter in a cafe.

Valeria (20:40):

There you go. Isn’t it amazing because you think all the… It’s funny too because at home, I get annoyed if I can hear my son, say, playing games on the PlayStation, yet in a cafe, it’s different, but they do. I think there’s an app that you can play cafe noises, which I don’t use. I think that’s a bit, yeah, not real enough for me, but you just got to figure out when you get in the zone and do it. You might go outside and work near the beach or something like that, and that really, really makes you happy, then go for it. But yeah, just test out a few different kind of scenarios and routines and then it’s different for everyone.

Brendan (21:10):

Going on to the struggle section of the podcast, Valeria. So, what’s one thing that you wish you were more of an expert in, in business right now?

Valeria (21:21):

Well, we actually went through this very late last year and we’re still learning. So, have you heard of OKRs, objectives and key results, yeah?

Brendan (21:28):

I was meant to read the book over the Christmas holidays. I have not yet.

Valeria (21:32):

The Radical Focus?

Brendan (21:33):

Yes.

Valeria (21:33):

It is so cool.

Brendan (21:34):

Really?

Valeria (21:34):

So, it’s like a fable. It’s like a story. You will love it because it’s all about like two startup founders and it’s the easiest read ever.

Brendan (21:43):

Right.

Valeria (21:44):

Myself and our COO educated us through that book and then gave it to a staff member as well so they’ll pass it around. But I’m really, really proud of the team because even though you’re supposed to, well, not supposed to, but most companies fail with the first round or it takes a really long time, we actually had our most successful month after starting the OKRs, and that just really helps pull everybody in the same direction. So, for those listeners who are not familiar, it’s objectives and key results. It’s similar to KPIs, but probably more ambitious and driven in terms of what’s one big hairy audacious goal that you want to achieve, and how will you measure that you’re on your way there and you’re successful, how confident are you in getting there.

Valeria (22:24):

We started off with one company objective and we’ve now moved into different focus areas. So, each teams have their own OKRs and you can also have your own personal ones. So, for you, your overall objective could be I want to be more productive at home than anywhere else. How will you measure that? And then you have your three key results and then you start to think, “Okay, every week, what priorities do I need to hit in order to progress towards those key results?” Yeah, it’s really cool. And I want to be better at that because we just started and yeah, it’s not for everyone. It’s very daunting, but persevering with it really pays off. I know Google and I think LinkedIn and a lot of successful companies use that to run their businesses. So, worth a try.

Brendan (23:08):

Yeah. No, definitely. I’ll put the link to the book in the show notes and I definitely have to read it very soon. So, speaking of books, are there any other books that have helped you in your working life?

Valeria (23:19):

Have you read The Hard Thing About Hard Things?

Brendan (23:22):

Yeah, by Ben Horowitz.

Valeria (23:23):

Yes.

Valeria (23:24):

So, I’ve reread that. Gemma got it for me for Christmas, I think three years ago, and at first, when I read it, it was so far kind of fetched for me to… It was interesting to read, don’t get me wrong, but then when I read it a year later and then again, everything in it made so much more sense and I could relate to it so much more. And if you feel like you’re having a hard day, just yeah, have a read of the first couple of chapters, right, and then yeah, what they went through was, yeah, incredible. And I think it’s got a lot of advice there, how to hire senior execs, especially if you’re at that stage, how to go through feedback with your team members as well. So, amazing, amazing bible, really. I keep rereading it over and over again.

Brendan (24:04):

Yeah, definitely, and he just came out with a new book this year about culture as well.

Valeria (24:08):

No way. Ooh, on my list. Thank you.

Brendan (24:10):

I’ll put that in the show notes. And that also reminds me of another quote that came up in my research for this episode that you said a couple of years ago, “Hire for culture contributions, not culture fit.”

Valeria (24:25):

Can’t claim that one myself because I found an article on LinkedIn that said that, and then I heard somebody else repeat it, and I was like, “Wow, this is so true,” because so many people say can they fit into our company or our culture, and then does that mean that you are trying to hire more of the same. If you just reframe that into what can this person contribute to our culture, it becomes a whole different conversation, and the way you are interviewing people as well will change. So, I think that’s a really… People probably already think it, but just that wording as well, I think needs to… Especially when you’re coaching younger team leaders as well, don’t look for culture fit, look for culture contribution is really important.

Brendan (25:04):

Yeah, that’s awesome advice. So, Valeria, I just wanted to thank you again for coming in and sharing all your knowledge in the podcast today. All of Valeria’s resources and books can be found at metigy.com/podcast. I have a couple of questions before we wrap up. Firstly, I just wanted to get a couple of stories about employers, maybe one story about an employer, and one story about an employee who have used WORK180 and what happened after that.

Valeria (25:34):

Sure. So, one of my favorite examples, because it’s very close to my heart about my own experience, is a story with NAB, the bank. And there was a candidate who I spoke to because I occasionally just pick up the phone and call the people who’ve applied with our endorsed employers and to talk about the experience, and she said to me, “I actually had the confidence to reject an inflexible job offer because of your website.”

I said, “What do you mean? Tell me more.” And she said, “Well, I had a job offer from a company that you don’t work with, and however, they were…” And she’s in technology as well, by the way, so should easily be done flexibly. They said, “No, you have to come into the office every single day.” And she had a newborn so she was really hoping to work from home one day a week.

Valeria (26:18):

So, she rejected that job offer, went onto our site, and actually had a job interview with NAB the following day. And funnily enough, because I was thinking, “Oh no, what if she through to someone that might not be a hundred percent on board and so on with flexibility. I better reach out and get in touch with them.” I didn’t get to them in time, but I didn’t have to worry because she had a great interview. She’s employed there. I think she’s had a promotion since then in a few months and she’s working flexibly.

Valeria (26:42):

To me that was really evident of having that both the employer who is providing the opportunity for people to come and discuss flexibility upfront at interview stage which is really what we want, not even the promise of every role must be done flexibly, but just that opportunity to talk about it, and that’s exactly what she was after. That other company is missing out on an amazing talented employee and NAB’s just gained themselves a great asset essentially.

Brendan (27:08):

Yeah, amazing. With such a fast-growing company, do you sometimes get distracted by the growth, growth, growth mindset? How have you guys handled that issue?

Valeria (27:18):

Yeah, all the time which I think everyone else can relate to in that position. It’s about really prioritizing, figuring out what you can do in the short term without completely saying no to that idea. It might be a let’s do this now, and then down the track, revisit a bigger kind of plan for that particular initiative or let’s just shelve it until then. So you do have to get brutal otherwise you’re just going to pretty much freeze up and like the deer in headlights really, and not be able to make a move.

Brendan (27:46):

Yeah. So, Valeria, you have made it to the abstract section of the podcast. Congratulations. So, we have a couple more questions that are a bit more out there. Are you ready to go?

Valeria (27:58):

Okay.

Brendan (28:01):

So, the first question is if you could have a billboard that all business owners would see, it could have text, visuals, whatever you want on it, where would you put it and what would it say?

Valeria (28:14):

Well, we actually had a really interesting experience. When we bought our first billboard, lesson number one, make sure you know where it’s placed because it was literally in a forest.

Brendan (28:22):

A forest.

Valeria (28:23):

And there was trees all around it and no one would see it. So, placement is important. Even things like if it’s on the highway, for us, it’s are people going home or they’re going to work, and if we’re going to have a message around are you miserable at your job, check out WORK180, things like that, it’s really important to capture them on the way to where… Whether they’re going home and they’re going to be relaxing or maybe they’re going to work and they hate their jobs, and most people are looking for new jobs at work. Position’s really important.

Brendan (28:53):

What would you say on the billboard?

Valeria (28:57):

Can I use one of our previous slogans? So, one of them was why seek second best or it could be so something around, I’m trying to remember another. One of the first ones we did was get paid what you’re worth. Essentially it’s touching on that challenge that often women face of being underpaid. So, about evaluating are you in the right place, is the employee supporting you. So, something along those lines.

Brendan (29:25):

What’s your current slogan?

Valeria (29:27):

Oh, we have a number, and again, they were voted in by our Facebook community, so it depends on placement. I know we had a really clever one on the trains where it was saying, “Next stop, flexible working, equal pay,” and so on.

Brendan (29:38):

Oh nice.

Valeria (29:38):

There’s a few of those floating around. We had some in the UK as well, different catchphrases and so on around flexible working and being more choosy about the employer that you are evaluating as a employee as well.

Brendan (29:53):

Valeria, you’ve made it to the final question of the podcast. Are you ready for launch?

Valeria (30:01):

Where we launching?

Brendan (30:04):

You’re launching on the first flight to Mars with Elon Musk and the first settlers aboard the SpaceX Starship rocket. So, what business do you start when you land on Mars and how would you market it to the new Martians?

Valeria (30:17):

This might be cheating, but can I ask you what is your favorite answer so far because then maybe we can integrate a product with that.

Brendan (30:26):

My favorite answer so far, there’s been a lot. There’s been a lot around water, a lot of like around-

Valeria (30:34):

It’s important.

Brendan (30:34):

Yeah, it is important. Translation services. There’s been a lot around traveling back to earth. So, making that return trip or having some kind of product that reminds you of earth, sentimental value. Communicating with earth is another big one. A lot of distilleries as well on Mars. There’s going to be a lot of distilleries.

Valeria (30:57):

Excellent. Okay. Well, I won’t say those. So many things come to mind and can I say a couple because I think…

Brendan (31:02):

Yeah, no.

Valeria (31:04):

Well, if I look at personal, you know how they always say that, whatever you experience personally, you’re trying to find a solution for. I got lost on the way here from the station. Right? So, for me, I’ll need something like a Google Maps to get around, but I’m sure the Martians will appreciate it as well. Everyone feels challenged there. I mean anything around integrating the community. So, I don’t know if there’s already a meetup kind of platform where if there’s translation services in place, then how do we actually get people to mingle with the Martians in terms of events or maybe even, because I love playing basketball, maybe even start, I don’t know how gravity will work in that case, but figure out how do we start a sporting whatever, and then imagine marketing. Imagine everyone wearing their Chicago Bull singlets or whatever.

Brendan (31:51):

It’s like a space jam.

Valeria (31:53):

Space jam. There you go. Space jam.

Brendan (31:55):

Earth versus Martians.

Valeria (31:55):

Yeah, or maybe together, inclusion.

Brendan (31:57):

Yeah, that’s right.

Valeria (31:58):

But this is obviously if WORK180 isn’t already launched over there. So, we will do that first. We’ll create a job sport where Martians can find a boss they can-

Brendan (32:07):

MARS180.

Valeria (32:07):

Yes.

Brendan (32:07):

I can see it.

Valeria (32:08):

There’s so many ideas.

Brendan (32:09):

There’s some fantastic, original answers. Thank you very much, Valeria. We’ll add that to the database of new businesses that we’re going to start on Mars. So, Valeria, just wanted to thank you once again for coming in and sharing all your value today. You can find all of Valeria’s show notes at metigy.com/podcast. And how can people find out more about WORK180 and how can they get in touch?

Valeria (32:34):

So, wherever you are in the world, you can head to work180.co, and then select the platform in your country. That’s if you want to engage with us around your job search, or perhaps you’d just like to read the content that we share as well, and you can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter as well.

Brendan (32:53):

Awesome. Once again, thanks for coming in. It’s been fun.

Valeria (32:56):

Thanks for having me.

Daren (33:00):

From Metigy, you’ve just listened to Forward Thinking. Again, I’m Daren, and Metigy hopes we helped you find more insights and tips into your business. To find out more about Metigy and get a listener exclusive three-month free trial, visit us at metigy.com/podcast. And while you’re there, go and check out some more episodes. If you like what you heard, please share a link to another business owner or marketer who you think could get something from this. Also, to help us out, it would be great if you left a five-star review on your favorite podcast app. Last, never miss another episode, by following or subscribing to us on your favorite podcast player. See you on the next episode.

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