May 9, 2022

How to find work life balance and flexibility in today job Market? | Sophie Smallwood - Co-CEO Roleshare | E3


Sophie is the Co-founder and Co-CEO at Roleshare a role-sharing marketplace, which is trying to change the way in which we think about flexibility in the workplace.

Prior to Roleshare Sophie held different leading positions at Facebook and E-Bay, Tripadvisor, and many other digital companies.

An extremely savvy digital professional which turned a real first-hand real-life problem into an opportunity and a growing company expanding globally! 

Topics 

1. What is Rolesharing?
2. Where do you get a startup idea?
3. Dealing with human resources scarcity, and flexibility?
4. Skills needed to share a role?
5. Corporate culture and flexibility?
6. Diversify talents with flexibility?

Sophie

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiegonin/

Watch the episodes on Youtube: 

https://youtu.be/xKXZxvtVpBU


Follow me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcolanzi/
or subscribe on https://www.marcolanzi.com/

Transcript

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Welcome everyone to LeMLVP, We're here today with a Sophie 
Smallwodd, co-founder

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and CO-CEO of Roleshare, So welcome Sophie

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01:00:37,250 --> 01:00:38,916
Hey, Marco, really good to be here.

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so first things first, so roch sha. I know you also guys. 
just rais precid

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01:00:46,375 --> 01:00:50,833
money to create a global role share marketplace. Can you 
tell us a little bit

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more about it? What is it? what you guys are doing?

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Yeah, sure, so we are a talent marketplace that brings 
professionals

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together who seek to work flexibly and we enable them to co 
apply for

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full time jobs together.

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01:01:06,875 --> 01:01:07,875
Okay? So

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basically you, you need to find someone from which you're 
going to apply Or

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like, I see a role on which I want to apply My Ba. I don't 
have the enough time

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to do it and you guys find my soulmate or job, Soulmate.

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01:01:24,916 --> 01:01:28,541
Yeah, exactly so it's like dating meets job searching if you
 will.

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right. so Um, in essence we enable people to find these 
types of

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working arrangements, Um, that are shared working 
arrangements in

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different ways. right so? um? Historically, when people have
 shared

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roles, it's been someone who is already working at a company
 and Um

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that person enters a transition point. It could be that Um, 
they're

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01:01:51,166 --> 01:01:54,458
having their first child, or perhaps they are going through 
some kind

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of Um, the physical ail men. Or maybe they want to go back 
to school

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and get their master's degree. or maybe learn some totally 
different

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skills right because they're tired of the job that they're 
doing. Um,

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It might be also that they just want to have some time for 
themselves.

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Hey, you know like what's wrong with that? After you've 
worked for

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twenty years, What's wrong with the working two or three 
days a week?

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But what happens is that people don't want to give up on 
what they've

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achieved right, And so they are passionate about their 
careers. It's a

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big part of their self ident,

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and so people, Um, in all of those different use cases can 
come onto a

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platform and it can look for other people who also are going
 through

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those transitions who are genuinely motivated to work this 
way. Um,

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they can meet our platform and then from that we. so we 
matched them on

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our platform. We are a technology platform, Uh, in a 
marketplace, and

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one, if you will, and once they match individuals, they can 
shortlist

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people that they'd like to work with. You know, have a 
coffee. ▁zoom,

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you know, do some exercises together to

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Mhm.

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determine whether or not you could share or work together. 
If so, how

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would you split the role? you know, Um, all sorts of 
different things

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that. Um, you know, we helped them to figure out for the 
process, and

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then um. On the other side of it, we work with companies to 
list roles

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that are shareable, and so companies list throlls that are 
normally and

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historically they've only been available to people to do 
alone. And we

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now say hey, why don't you open it up to this new class of 
talent, Um.

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part timers who want to actually be doing the job of a full 
timer

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together. Um. and so, generally, broadly speaking, that's 
how it works,

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and we also enable people who are working at companies today
 who maybe

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want to scope out to see if there's interest out there in 
their own

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job. They can actually put their job out on the marketplace 
in the form

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of their profile and or as natural job post. So we have 
different ways

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of entry into Um. the platform today.

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Okay, okay, not nice. thanks. so for sharing that and one 
question. So how how

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did you get to that idea? You woke up one day and say hey, I
 want to Rothir or

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No, no, so, actually, Um, I came across this idea when I was
 working in

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Los Angeles even before Um. you and I initially met Marco, 
Um. I was in

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01:04:13,250 --> 01:04:17,250
advertising before I started at Um for Ebay, and

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when I was working in advertising, I volunteered once a 
week. Um did

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community service and I met a woman who was very senior, 
more senior

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than I was a Fa point in my career And she had young twins 
and she and

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I volunteered together once a week, and I remember asking 
her Wow, How

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you find time to volunteer in a director level role in 
advertising.

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You've got young twins and now you're also volunteering and 
I will

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never forget she said to me, Oh, I'm so lucky I share my job
 and I was

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like. What is that And that's how it initially came up. 
That's say the

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way I discovered this idea, and then years later when I was 
working at

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Facebook and I entered a major transition in my life as a 
first time

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parent. I started to think about how would do the juggle of 
being an

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aplaer at work, but then also an apyer parent. Both are 
important to me

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and I

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01:05:10,250 --> 01:05:10,583
Mhm.

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didn't want to fail in either role And I actually looked 
into part time

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roles, but was extremely disappointed. as far as the level 
of the roles

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dis, the strategic impact of the roles. Um, I felt like they
 were quite

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limited in scope and or just generally like functions, and I
 thought

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well, why can't I share my role? Surely, there's got to be a
 place

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where I can go and find people to share a job. What I 
started searching

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for that, but when I needed roll share, it wasn't there. It 
didn't

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exists. Um. It was quite Atd hawk, and very rinky dink at 
the time, And

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so anyway, um, my my partner, who is also my husband, and I 
decided to

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in essence build row share. At that moment it wasn't 
overnight, but we

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started the process and we decided to bring this age old 
constructs of

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jobs. you know, one person, one job into the modern sharing 
economy,

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and then the rest is history.

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Okay, No, nice. So you started from A from Whaterson from a 
real need.

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something that you

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Yep,

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were there in the market, something that somehow was 
existing already, but not

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not at scale. So,

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01:06:18,125 --> 01:06:19,125
exactly

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01:06:19,166 --> 01:06:23,791
indeed, if you look in the market today part time job are 
usually like, Is a

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lower level in the yarkee, a kind of job,

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ly.

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and I, I agree with you when you say like hey, I, I build 
this like with a lot

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of sacrifice. I grow experience knowledge network of people.
 Why should I give

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up just because I cannot devote myself hundred percent it.

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right. Why is full time? I start to really think about this 
when I was

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faced with a wise full time.

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the number one requirement. Why aren't we just looking for 
the best

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01:06:51,083 --> 01:06:54,916
people? And if people are happy to team up together to share
 the job,

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01:06:55,250 --> 01:06:59,791
and ▁ultimately, it's the ▁ultimate allyship. It's like 
Olympic relay

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athletes together racing toward the finish line and handing 
the baton

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and measure together. It's a really good incentive right to 
perform

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01:07:09,791 --> 01:07:13,500
well and so as start to question a lot. Uh, as far as like 
the Ag

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construct of jobs which was manufactured, you know, around 
the you

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01:07:18,458 --> 01:07:19,083
know,

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the Ford companies sort of coming into play

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expecting people to work eight to nine Monday, Friday, Just 
the world

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01:07:27,166 --> 01:07:30,583
is changing. Why are we still working the way of the past

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01:07:31,500 --> 01:07:37,333
Yeah, no, I think it's super powerful, especially in a today
 world where

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01:07:37,875 --> 01:07:43,166
flexibility got uh, all different to a all different level, 
and I will probably

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01:07:43,416 --> 01:07:48,541
do all different meaning like location. timing. Boundaries 
are just not there

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anymore. especially in the digital word we live in for for 
some say for some

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01:07:53,750 --> 01:07:58,458
kind of job for sure, like location base is still necessary.
 Certain time

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01:07:58,708 --> 01:08:01,166
frames, orssy in the digital information

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war, Not not not really, and if I understand, correcive, 
flexibility is

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definitely one of the key, uh, that actually push you to to 
look

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a hundred percent,

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01:08:13,000 --> 01:08:15,250
for. For creating, actually, Ro, share, and

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01:08:15,541 --> 01:08:16,541
and just on that point

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01:08:16,541 --> 01:08:17,375
sure.

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01:08:17,375 --> 01:08:19,416
really quickly, So historically, when

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01:08:20,541 --> 01:08:22,583
the the decectors where

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01:08:23,625 --> 01:08:25,583
roll sharing was more prominent,

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01:08:25,583 --> 01:08:26,291
Mhm.

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01:08:26,291 --> 01:08:30,208
Historically Um were teaching that happen in person.

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01:08:30,208 --> 01:08:30,916
Okay,

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Health care that happened in person. Government that 
happened in

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01:08:35,625 --> 01:08:40,375
person. And actually they did it Because there was a need 
they were.

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01:08:41,416 --> 01:08:44,750
It was hard to find town right like so they really wanted to
 to find

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01:08:44,916 --> 01:08:47,958
out. there was a time way like there was a shortage in good 
teachers

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01:08:48,375 --> 01:08:49,416
when I was at university

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01:08:50,541 --> 01:08:51,541
and Um.

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01:08:52,750 --> 01:08:59,500
And so now there's a paradigm shift in that the corporate 
sector is now

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01:08:59,708 --> 01:09:03,791
rethinking about how do they keep their talent right in this
 changing

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01:09:04,041 --> 01:09:09,333
landscape where we're moving toward almost a self self led 
employee

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01:09:09,625 --> 01:09:15,166
workforce, right where the majority of employees by two 
thousand twenty

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01:09:15,500 --> 01:09:18,375
seven and I should rephrase that the majority of the 
workforce

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knowledge workforce will be freelancing. What does that mean
 to Acc

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01:09:24,041 --> 01:09:29,333
company when they might only have access to half of the you 
know the

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01:09:29,416 --> 01:09:32,541
workforce that they were used to getting access to before?

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No, indeed, I never thought about it bad. If you think, if 
you think about it

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01:09:36,541 --> 01:09:41,500
like I'm a part time teacher and'm a part time doctor is a 
totally normal

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01:09:41,666 --> 01:09:43,416
sentence. I'm a part time director.

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It sounds kind of we today.

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01:09:46,708 --> 01:09:47,125
Exactly right.

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but yeah,

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01:09:48,375 --> 01:09:48,750
Yeah,

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01:09:48,750 --> 01:09:50,833
now there's definitely something with the scarcity of

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01:09:51,958 --> 01:09:55,416
resources which are available. as you are pointing out. 
Something needs to be

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01:09:55,708 --> 01:09:56,708
something to change

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01:09:56,708 --> 01:09:59,583
yeah, yeah, and also more companies are under the radar, for
 you know,

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01:09:59,875 --> 01:10:04,125
great in insence, enabling greater gender representation of 
the ranks,

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01:10:04,458 --> 01:10:07,791
and Um. You know, also, uh, being under

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01:10:08,833 --> 01:10:13,416
review for diversity scores and it's something that 
companies are now

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01:10:13,875 --> 01:10:19,333
gaining a lot more pressure to action and are solutions out 
there to

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01:10:19,416 --> 01:10:23,083
enable them to support them. And obviously world sharing is 
one that in

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01:10:23,166 --> 01:10:26,833
the past was difficult to achieve. but now with our 
technology we can

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01:10:26,916 --> 01:10:29,083
help companies that enable it at scale.

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01:10:30,541 --> 01:10:32,833
That that's super cool. Let me ask you one thing

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No,

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01:10:33,541 --> 01:10:37,791
say today people are struggling even to work in the same 
team. How

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01:10:37,791 --> 01:10:38,416
Mhm.

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01:10:38,416 --> 01:10:42,208
do you convince someone that they're good to sha a role?

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01:10:43,250 --> 01:10:48,041
yeah, yeah, that's a valid question. so one. I will say 
that, Um,

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01:10:49,625 --> 01:10:53,875
it's not for everyone right, so just like freelance isn't 
for everyone.

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01:10:54,125 --> 01:10:57,500
Just like gig working isn't for everyone. Sharing a role 
isn't for

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01:10:57,625 --> 01:11:01,416
everyone. and actually people who share roles have a lot of 
the

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01:11:01,500 --> 01:11:05,083
desirable self skills that we need in the future of work. 
It's all

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01:11:05,333 --> 01:11:11,583
about collaboration. teamwork flexibility, and you know 
those are a lot

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01:11:11,708 --> 01:11:15,166
of the desirable skills in the future. As far as like our 
human self

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01:11:15,416 --> 01:11:16,916
skills, and Um,

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01:11:18,916 --> 01:11:22,375
When people work together in a roll share, there is a 
genuine

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01:11:22,541 --> 01:11:26,291
motivation to work this way. Right. They want to do it 
because one.

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01:11:26,541 --> 01:11:32,458
they want the meaningful, um, impactful, strategic or senior
 role, but

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01:11:32,541 --> 01:11:37,083
they haven't also right. They have. they also have kids, or 
they also

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01:11:37,333 --> 01:11:40,666
want to study, or they also want to look after their health.
 All those

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01:11:40,750 --> 01:11:44,208
things we talked about before and those are genuine 
motivations, but

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01:11:44,375 --> 01:11:48,458
they also are very ambitious and they also really want to 
work hard and

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01:11:48,541 --> 01:11:52,666
they also really want to belong to a company right and they 
also want

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01:11:52,750 --> 01:11:55,583
to have full access to the company, which oftenimes you 
don't have when

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01:11:55,583 --> 01:11:58,458
you're freelancing, right, You've got to work harder to 
actually like,

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01:11:58,666 --> 01:12:02,041
be successful in your job as a freelancer just because of 
the limits of

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01:12:02,208 --> 01:12:04,208
what you can access within a company.

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01:12:05,416 --> 01:12:10,666
And so those motivations mean that people Um, put their egos
 aside when

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01:12:10,750 --> 01:12:14,666
they work together, and they actually are performing 
together as a

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01:12:14,750 --> 01:12:19,083
unit. As a team. they're measured together. Um. they are 
much more

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01:12:19,416 --> 01:12:25,416
transparent with each other with feedback and that weekly 
hand would

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01:12:25,583 --> 01:12:29,416
have a weekly hand overver, and that weekly handover means 
actually, on

190
01:12:29,500 --> 01:12:35,333
an individual basis, they are performing better because they
 know that

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01:12:35,500 --> 01:12:38,666
there is going to be somebody every week that will have a 
look at how

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01:12:38,833 --> 01:12:42,541
much work they've actually achieved. You know how well was 
it done? Was

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01:12:42,666 --> 01:12:46,041
the ball drop and the other person will hold them 
accountable because

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01:12:46,458 --> 01:12:49,708
it's their performance review on the line as well, and 
everyone knows

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01:12:49,875 --> 01:12:53,500
that it really is that. like I said before, you know, Like 
having

196
01:12:53,708 --> 01:13:01,083
Olympic athletes from a relay a trial together on your team,
 and that

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01:13:01,333 --> 01:13:03,416
social contract naturally

198
01:13:04,833 --> 01:13:07,083
increases the performance of the

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01:13:07,333 --> 01:13:36,291
individualm.

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01:13:36,291 --> 01:13:39,166
results, but you ow it to to someone that got into this this
 journey for you.

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01:13:39,583 --> 01:13:44,375
The The relay, I think analogy is really good, even if I 
will not do it between

202
01:13:44,541 --> 01:13:47,083
Italy and U. K. Cause apparently is better

203
01:13:48,708 --> 01:13:53,666
for for the Italian site, at least in the last in the last 
year, but uh, one

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01:13:53,791 --> 01:13:59,416
question, like uh, When you were also saying like uh, say 
people go there

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01:13:59,958 --> 01:14:03,666
because they want flexibility. So they have something that 
they want to

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01:14:03,750 --> 01:14:08,125
achieve, And for they put the Egu aside. But if you look the
 other side of the

207
01:14:08,458 --> 01:14:12,625
of the medal is not just the people, it's also the 
corporation means to be open

208
01:14:13,083 --> 01:14:17,791
minded to to accept that people can share a role. How? how 
do you see

209
01:14:17,875 --> 01:14:20,791
corporation actually acting in this change of

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01:14:21,958 --> 01:14:23,666
shifting? Let's say, part of the

211
01:14:24,791 --> 01:14:30,625
Uh management or part of the ownership of the decision to 
the employee, which

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in this case say like Hey, By the way, I want this ro to 
divided into two.

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Mm, Yeah, absolutely yeah, absolutely. so. The good news is 
we're not

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inventing a way of working, So a growing number of the 
world's

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01:14:43,000 --> 01:14:47,708
companies are offering job sharing and it's been it's gone 
up. Um. you

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01:14:47,708 --> 01:14:52,583
know fifteen percent since two thousand nineteen. So it's 
it's on the

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01:14:52,583 --> 01:14:56,041
rise. that's a positive trend. Um. you're absolutely right, 
though

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there's definitely a mindse. Um. you know cultural um 
element to this

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and it isn't for all companies, but it's surprising because 
a lot of

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the companies that we've been working with are actually

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01:15:11,166 --> 01:15:12,166
Um.

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you might be surprised, right they? really they. They're not

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necessarily the sexy is like, Um, you know the the, the big 
tech

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01:15:21,958 --> 01:15:26,916
companies yet, Um, though we're talking to those as well, 
but it's more

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01:15:27,166 --> 01:15:28,208
about you know

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01:15:29,416 --> 01:15:34,125
survival. The legacy companies know what it takes to 
survive. They've

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been around a long time. They know they. they know what it 
takes to

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01:15:38,458 --> 01:15:43,708
adapt and to continue to operate. And so they're open. 
They're open to

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01:15:43,791 --> 01:15:47,625
new ways of working. They're also are sophisticated like 
they're they

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01:15:47,875 --> 01:15:52,666
know how to do H, r, and um, A. And so the,

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01:15:53,875 --> 01:15:59,416
they are open minded, and the challenge ▁ultimately is in 
getting the

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01:15:59,500 --> 01:16:03,500
right stakeholders and the right role models within the 
organization to

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01:16:03,625 --> 01:16:07,958
communicate why they're enabling this way of working, and 
that it is

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01:16:08,208 --> 01:16:12,458
part of their general ethos. So we're finding companies 
absolutely

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01:16:12,666 --> 01:16:15,958
interested in this way of working. Um, many have done it 
before, just

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01:16:16,125 --> 01:16:19,583
didn't do it successfully because they didn't have the right
 technology

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01:16:20,041 --> 01:16:22,833
partners. They also didn't have to right enterprise 
communication

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01:16:23,000 --> 01:16:26,916
tools, and we are in a position now with the changing 
landscape of war

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01:16:27,625 --> 01:16:31,791
where enterprise communication tools like slack and 
workplace and teams

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01:16:32,291 --> 01:16:36,458
have enabled people to really work differently, 
asynchronously cross

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01:16:36,666 --> 01:16:41,166
borders, fully distributed. Um. You know, and

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01:16:42,291 --> 01:16:47,708
this means that actually working in a shared environment is 
just

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01:16:48,291 --> 01:16:51,791
simplified now because of these advances and other 
enterprise

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01:16:52,125 --> 01:16:55,625
technology communication tools, So companies are aware of 
that

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01:16:56,041 --> 01:16:59,791
No, not really true. So what what they hear is like De nise.
 is definitely

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01:17:00,208 --> 01:17:04,916
there? No. I. no. no, no surprise is in a. The offering is 
somehow is also

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01:17:05,166 --> 01:17:09,416
there. There is just like something to be better structured 
with a better shape

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01:17:09,583 --> 01:17:13,958
to get this two uh side of the metal to to come together. 
But like we have

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01:17:14,041 --> 01:17:17,750
company like like yours is actually, are there to to help us
 out on this?

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01:17:18,291 --> 01:17:21,791
exactly' What we're doing, trying to remove luck from the 
equation and

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01:17:21,875 --> 01:17:25,875
trying to enable the successful foundation of the sharing 
arrangement

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01:17:26,041 --> 01:17:31,416
so that ▁ultimately we can improve in time that Um. In 
companies, when

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01:17:31,625 --> 01:17:34,833
employees share roles, they more, they equally

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01:17:35,958 --> 01:17:39,000
effective and and successful. if not more.

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01:17:39,583 --> 01:17:42,541
Okay, Not really looking forward for that and

256
01:17:43,583 --> 01:17:48,208
wrap up question as we as we approach our time. So, for 
sure,

257
01:17:49,500 --> 01:17:53,500
opening up the flexibility, opening up different way of 
working is,

258
01:17:54,625 --> 01:17:58,791
you guys are probably also allowing the companies actually 
to top into some uh,

259
01:17:59,208 --> 01:18:00,208
uh,

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01:18:01,000 --> 01:18:05,750
new cluster or actually unlooked clusters of uh. different 
talent. Better are

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01:18:05,875 --> 01:18:10,041
being overlooked because they cannot comit full time. They 
cannot me for that

262
01:18:10,125 --> 01:18:15,791
location. So do you? What do you see in Thattaia Is that 
more like an appealing

263
01:18:16,041 --> 01:18:19,875
from these people, is more a apply from company, but 
actually now have access

264
01:18:20,125 --> 01:18:25,333
to more to more and diverse resource. Most of all, what do 
you see in the

265
01:18:25,333 --> 01:18:26,041
space?

266
01:18:27,791 --> 01:18:32,041
When Um. Companies work with us. They very quickly realize 
that

267
01:18:32,291 --> 01:18:35,708
actually, by using our platform not only can they retain 
their top

268
01:18:35,875 --> 01:18:40,583
talent who might be at risk of churn um. because you could 
very easily

269
01:18:41,708 --> 01:18:46,125
conclude that if someone starts to share a job, it's likely 
that they

270
01:18:46,208 --> 01:18:48,750
were either going to ask to work part time, and that's 
probably

271
01:18:48,916 --> 01:18:52,833
unlikely within the company because it's a full time type 
job, or they

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01:18:52,916 --> 01:18:56,375
weren't going to say anything, and they would have just left
 Um. So it

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01:18:56,458 --> 01:19:01,333
is a retention mechanism on the flips side. Also, it is 
absolutely a

274
01:19:01,416 --> 01:19:07,416
way to attract Um, a new and activate the new class of 
talent. So Um,

275
01:19:07,791 --> 01:19:11,958
people who want to work this way are looking for part time. 
They would

276
01:19:12,125 --> 01:19:15,708
like to work part time. They're not necessarily looking for 
full time

277
01:19:15,958 --> 01:19:20,041
jobs, Right. And so now, by enabling this way of working, 
companies can

278
01:19:20,208 --> 01:19:25,166
actually uh, put themselves forward to those candidates who 
otherwise

279
01:19:25,333 --> 01:19:27,625
wouldn't have come across those full time jobs before,

280
01:19:28,541 --> 01:19:32,375
Okay, Now that thats Aome, I can totally see the need I 
have, couple, probably

281
01:19:32,708 --> 01:19:37,791
of people to to think of, I might send them your away. So 
no, I think that's

282
01:19:38,208 --> 01:19:39,208
that's great. So

283
01:19:40,625 --> 01:19:44,375
our time is up for today's so. But thanks a lotd, for 
sharing being like a

284
01:19:44,375 --> 01:19:50,458
pleasure. Like having year to to sha your knowledge about 
role sharing and

285
01:19:50,625 --> 01:19:54,375
actually what it means in the industry. So looking for A to 
see how this

286
01:19:54,541 --> 01:19:56,833
evolved in the coming in the coming months,

287
01:19:57,375 --> 01:19:58,375
thanks Marco

288
01:19:59,041 --> 01:20:00,041
thanks a lot

289
01:20:00,500 --> 01:20:01,500
soon.

290
01:20:01,500 --> 01:20:02,500
by.