Q&A with Pavla Bobosikova, Founder & CEO, WFHomie

Pavla Bobosikova
April 19, 2022

Meet Pavla Bobosikova! Pavla is the co-founder and CEO of WFHomie, the employee engagement and culture-building platform for remote-first teams. She’s on a mission to help distributed teams bring joy into work lives, improve eNPS, and prevent employee burnout and turnover.

WFHomie is an employee engagement, people analytics and culture-building platform that provides distributed and hybrid teams with the tools they need to attract and retain top talent, prevent employee burnout and help team members build meaningful relationships. By identifying gaps in employee experience, WFHomie provides recommendations and automates the execution of team-building activities, health and wellness programs, rewards and recognition, learning and development and DEI initiatives.

Why did you start WFHomie? 

When the pandemic started in 2020, I was leading Product at a company that recently got acquired. Going through that transition remotely opened my eyes to the impact that remote work has on the day-to-day work life; getting onboarded, activated, excited and starting to build relationships with the new team remotely felt very different compared to the in-office status quo I was used to. As companies started to adopt the remote-first, hybrid or flexible mode, engage and retain their employees in the long run. That’s when I started investigating how People Operations, Culture, Employee Experience and HR teams are evolving and adapting to the new, flexible work reality. I met my co-founder Reza, who had a similar experience in his work life, and together we uncovered that many companies are not ready to succeed in the remote-friendly world. They didn’t have the strategy, tools and infrastructure to do so. That’s when we decided to build WFHomie and help companies get “remote-ready”. We believe work can be exciting for everyone and are on a mission to help companies succeed by enabling their people to do their best work.

What is your definition of “work from home readiness”? 

WFH readiness or “remote-readiness” means that teams can go fully or partially remote with little to no disruptions to their workflows. It means helping companies create and sustain healthy, inclusive culture, high morale, increase employee engagement and eNPS, establish communication and productivity practices, and ultimately great retention. It means helping companies succeed by creating a work environment that enables their employees to do their best work.

At WFHomie, we help hybrid, flexible, and remote-first teams at any stage of this process, from those just beginning to transition to remote working to teams with well-established remote cultures.

Our employee experience and people analytics platform identifies gaps in companies’ employee experience, recommends next steps and provides the toolset to action the recommendation; for example, updating the onboarding process, creating a new policy, hosting a team-building event or coaching session, or starting a peer-to-peer recognition program. 

The WFHomie platform is designed to identify, recommend and provide solutions designed to boost employee engagement and increase retention.  

In your recent research, what have you found to be the impact of toxic workplaces and attrition? 

A toxic culture is fatally detrimental to a company's employee satisfaction metrics and ultimately its’ long-term growth and success. A toxic culture is 10.4x more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation. It was the number one driver of employee turnover during the Great Resignation. Losing a knowledge-work-based employee costs the company somewhere between 30% to 400% of their salary, depending on their level of seniority. Yet companies are just starting to get used to investing in their employees, especially in the remote-first setting. We’re just at the beginning of the great awakening where companies no longer treat HR as the cost centre, but a source of competitive advantage. These stats are alarming, but not surprising. WFHomie is here to help companies fix and maintain their culture and in turn, keep their top talent happy, healthy, productive, and engaged. At the end of the day, companies spend billions of dollars on attracting top talent - it only makes sense they should invest in retaining it.

What are non-negotiables that companies, startups to enterprise organizations, can implement tomorrow to be more inclusive remote first organizations?

Companies should first and foremost clearly and transparently communicate what are their best practices and expectations (for example no camera meeting, focus time, and asynchronous hours). Removing assumptions and providing clear guidelines will offset the digital barriers of remote work. It should be communicated during onboarding, be continuously reminded, be easily accessible (for example on Notion and pinned in Slack channels), and constantly iterated on based on employee feedback. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to best practices. Managers simply have to ask their team and reflect on their needs in alignment with the company values. 

We’ve all heard the phrase, “people don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers”. Do you have any advice for organizations to support first time remote first managers? 

Right on the money, that’s the quintessential truism of HR! Providing coaching and supporting learning opportunities is key when it comes to helping first-time remote-first managers to succeed. It can be as simple as sharing best practices based on lessons learned, helping them listen and empathize with their teammates, letting go of their ego, and helping them understand that teamwork isn’t a zero-sum game. 

Consistent one-on-one meetings are a great opportunity to do this. Ask your managers how they’re doing as human beings, then ask how they’re doing as employees. Empathy is more important than ever because of the digital barriers separating employers and employees. One-on-one meetings aren’t for status updates (those can be done async), and they’re a great coaching opportunity.

What are some remote work readiness myths you’re still hearing that you want to smash? 

“We’re going back to the office” 

First off, many companies still live in denial and believe they will be able to force all of their employees to come to the office 5x/week, every week, all year long. Those that will mandate this are guaranteed to lose their top talent.

When it comes to “remote-readiness” specifically, some still believe that they’ll be able to guess and cook up in-house all the solutions needed to keep their employees engaged, happy and productive. At the very least, when not using data to inform employee experience related decisions (which any other vertical in the organization does, look at marketing and sales, there’s no guesswork, but conversion rates), companies should regularly ask their employees for feedback and make sure to action it. Measure its impact, share it, and iterate.

In your opinion, do you think all corporate jobs should be remote first? Why or why not? 

I strongly believe that all corporate jobs should be first and foremost flexible. We are getting into semantics regarding the terms hybrid, which continues to lose its popularity, and remote-first. Companies should give their employees the option for flexible work, or they will lose them to someone that will. They should not limit themselves to hiring the best person in their part of town but find the best person for the job in the world, or at the very least in the country. This is also an easy way for companies to build more diverse teams. Lastly, remote or flexible employees should not be treated as second-class citizens. Companies should pay close attention to and have practices in place to avoid creating a hierarchy between local and distributed employees.

Flexible and remote-first work requires effort to set up optimally, but it’s the only way to attract and retain top talent.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

Remote and flexible work are concepts that are still evolving. I’m proud and excited that WFHomie gets to be a category creator and shape the way we live and work. Ten years ago, the concept of eNPS was as new as the term “remote-first” is today, yet by now, we take it as the status quo. I believe “remote-readiness” will follow suit.

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