Paul Sigaloff has over 22 years experience in media across the UK and Australia. Paul leads Yahoo’s portfolio of digital media and technology brands across the Asia-Pacific region. With a personal passion to ‘move the world forward for good’ he has transformed the business’ corporate social responsibility program, embedding it into the company’s fabric all while achieving record commercial results and employee engagement results.
In 2021 Paul was appointed a board member of Australia’s media/marketing industry social purpose organisation, UnLtd, following several years of active involvement. Additionally as a board member of the IAB, he influences digital standards and trends that shape the media industry.
A better world of work is rooted in flexibility and inclusiveness. It’s where people are constantly learning about themselves, their jobs and the world around them. And, as a result, they feel empowered and inspired.
The pandemic has forced so much change in the way we work, particularly when it comes to flexibility. Our attitude at Yahoo is now, ‘How can flexibility be at the heart of everything we do?’ A better world of work will focus on productivity and output regardless of location. Flexibility ensures a better quality of life for your people, and that’s a real win.
In terms of inclusion it’s all about making sure that people’s beliefs and ideals are taken into consideration. Listening to other perspectives and ensuring everyone has a seat at the table is so important in building a sense of belonging and community.
I see a shift from a fixed mindset to a permanent growth mindset in the future of work. Meaning we’re always positively disrupting ourselves, and constantly stretching our thinking, skills, and interests. If we can enable that permanent curiosity within people, that will really maximise potential.
Ultimately the future of work is all about giving people the autonomy to work in the way that’s right for them. We as leaders need to trust and empower our people to do the best work they can.
At Yahoo we’re charging full steam ahead into a better world of work.
In terms of flexibility, our offices remain open for people to come and go as they please and they’ve been supported with a WFH set up allowance. We’ve also recently introduced floating holidays to support people’s different philosophical, religious or personal beliefs. This way they can choose to celebrate their way on their day.
We’ve also introduced a new ‘Work From Anywhere’ policy where employees can work abroad for up to 30 days a year. A lot of our team have taken this up and are currently working from their home countries whilst spending much-needed time with their families.
When it comes to upskilling and education, we’re pushing our people and the industry at large into new uncharted territory. Outside of technical skills training, our Yahoo Academy virtual masterclasses teach those soft skills that are so important for people management. In the spirit of inclusivity, we’ve opened those up to the entire industry for free.
Our Decoded series is another example, bringing together the best minds in the industry to discuss the hottest topics. It’s all about broadening the industry’s knowledge, encouraging analytical thinking, and finding answers to the big problems
We also have an internal educational speaker series called ‘Real Talk’ that brings together speakers from different cultures, genders and neurodiverse backgrounds to encourage honest and safe conversations. So far we’ve featured First Nations speakers on how we can reconcile Australia’s dark history to Autism Australia speakers on how we can create a more inclusive workplace.
We’ve also invested in mental health first aid training because we recognise prevention is better than cure. I’m proud to share that Yahoo was recently recognised as a Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace, with over a third of our workforce certified.
Technology has enabled us to do so much over the past two years. But whilst it’s opened up so many new avenues to productivity, I think we need to be extremely cognisant of what effect less social interaction will have.
Did you know that ten years ago the UK appointed a Minister for Loneliness? They’ve been planning initiatives to combat loneliness for over a decade.
With the rise in flexible working I predict we’ll see more businesses focusing their energies and resources towards tackling loneliness. There’ll be interesting challenges around how we prevent people from feeling disconnected from one another when, ironically, we’ve never been more connected.
At the moment, one of the biggest challenges we’ve had to face since adopting a flexible work approach is enticing people back into the office. The benefits of working from home are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and don’t get me wrong, I’m very much for it. I for one absolutely love spending more time with my family. But as we’ve gotten used to less social interaction, many have forgotten about the benefits of face to face collaboration.
Take our global sales conference that’s coming up in the U.S. Normally we’d have about 2000 people flying in from around the world and they’d be there in a heartbeat. But this year we’ve been given the option of dialling in virtually and as a result we’ll probably have just under half that number there in person.
It’s a hard one because I fully support hybrid working, but at the same time, I think we’re missing out on some things when we’re not in person. It’s that opportunity to connect and engage with your peers and get that dose of people energy that you can only feel in real life.
On that note, I believe it’s really important for companies to share what’s working and what’s not as we navigate these challenges together.
I was recently in an IAB board meeting with about 15 other companies from across our industry and it was great to hear where other leaders were at. It’s a real spectrum and as leaders I think it’s incumbent upon us to share our learnings.
Talk to your people, and more importantly, listen to what they have to say.
If you’re searching for ways to create a high performing business where people are engaged and love what they do - then ask your people the questions and listen to their answers. When they’re passionate about something, they’ll tell you.
But it’s important to remember that everyone isn’t the same and we do change over time. It’s important to check in periodically and across different functions because you may find different patterns through that feedback.
For me, it's all about constantly talking to my team and understanding what's important to them.
There’s a very clever man called Rishad Tobaccowala, who I’m a self-confessed groupie of. In fact I’m bringing him in to be our guest speaker for our offsite, so my entire APAC leadership team can hear what he has to say.
Whilst he’s not running a business per se, he inspires others to think differently about workplaces and people.
I really like the way he compares work to a jigsaw puzzle. We're formulating all these different pieces and trying to work out how they fit together. The system of work that we’ve known for so long has been completely blown up over the past two years and now we have this amazing opportunity to rework it.
We’re very good at giving things labels and trying to systematically organise the world to make sense of it. But Tobaccowala argues that approach doesn't work for people. People don’t fit into buckets and so you’ve got to think differently about growing yourself, your team and your company.
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