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A purposeful workplace, by design, with Jack Mardack, co-founder of Oyster

Tune in to See You At Work and discover new strategies for improving the way your team operates in remote, distributed and asynchronous workplaces, all while achieving synergy across borders and timezones.

Here at Loom, we’re all about helping organizations everywhere optimize company culture, streamline communications and simply function better. The modern working world is evolving fast, and we’re here to help you keep up with the changes. 

That’s why in our new podcast series, See You at Work: A Loom Conversation Series, we sit down with the world’s leading experts in remote work to learn their top tricks of the trade. 

In the most recent episode of See You at Work, we sat down with Jack Mardack, the co-founder of global employment platform, Oyster

We discussed the opportunity for leaders to improve the way they operate in remote, distributed and asynchronous workplaces, and how to achieve synergy across borders and timezones. Jack explains how leaders can craft a purposeful workplace by design, all while constantly improving their own personal leadership skills.

Read on to discover some of Jack’s expert tips from the episode.

1. Take a borderless approach to hiring 

Companies have historically taken a concentrated geographical approach to talent acquisition. It’s been the norm to restrict the search for talent to a company’s immediate area––or recruit from a few select hubs like San Francisco, New York, or Toronto.

Organizations are missing out on a golden opportunity to welcome in new perspectives and a fresh combination of skills that could up the ante on their success. Now that remote work has become widespread, companies all over the world are discovering the benefits of adopting a broader geographical perspective when it comes to hiring, and broadening the talent pool to the entire world, rather than just a few select cities.

Jack explained why this borderless approach to talent acquisition is a major component of Oyster’s overall vision and mission.

“As someone who used to live in San Francisco, who moved there for work, I can certainly understand the unsustainable nature of trying to concentrate all the people and all the companies around individual tech hubs. It's our vision that by providing a global employment platform so that an American company, a German company, a Danish company, an Israeli company, a company anywhere in the world who is also embracing the many enhancement and improvement opportunities that come from being a distributed company, would be able to also avail themselves of this borderless approach to talent acquisition.”

Jack believes that by removing the barriers when it comes to hiring practices, any company can enjoy transformational work and life benefits in the future.

2. Be intentional

For many organizations, the shift to remote work has been the catalyst for a holistic redesign of their entire workplace culture. As we move towards a new way of working, leaders are being challenged to view every aspect of their company with a more critical lens, and make decisions about how they want to show up as changemakers in this new environment. 

For Oyster, Jack explained that building a fully remote, distributed company required an element of bold thinking and crucial intentionality behind their remote work infrastructure in order to continue innovating.

“As far as our embarkation to being a fully distributed company, we had never done it before, and we had never been at a company that had no offices… Undaunted by that, we made a few good choices very early on, which was to be extremely thoughtful and extremely deliberate in designing how we work, knowing that there would be no framework provided by the physical office on which to rely. We knew that every aspect of the employment experience would have to be thought of and created and made a deliberate part of the employee experience.”

As part of Oyster’s deliberate and strategic approach, they decided to hire an expert who could help streamline the entire process. Early on, they hired Rhys Black as the company’s Head of Remote to help lay the bricks of the Oyster employment experience. Today, Rhys is the company’s Head of Workplace Design, and he continues to play an essential role in shaping the future of the Oyster’s culture.

3. Practice servant leadership

As we continue the conversation surrounding workplace evolution, Jack reminds us that it’s impossible to discuss the future of work without also talking about leadership. It’s his philosophy that we should all be taking a critical look at the way we lead, how we manage others, and how we can continuously be finding new ways to uplevel our approach.

Jack’s personal preference is the concept of “servant leadership,” a leadership style where the goal of the leader is to serve. Servant-leaders primarily focus on the growth and well-being of people in the organizations to which they belong. 

“Some of the principles that I've recently shared are things like realizing that a lot of your time or the majority of time gets rolled up into things that other people are taking credit for. And I found that that's a great gauge that you're on the right track because it means a couple of things: it means that fundamentally, you are given over to the enablement and empowerment––being of service to––other people… Such that our usual interest in credit or visibility goes away. Something amazing happens when you let go of that.”

Jack calls the act of letting go of the need for credit or visibility “the resignation of recognition.” By following this simple principle, Jack says he’s been able to open up a world of opportunities within his own career, and for the company as a whole.

The democratization of work

Overall, the seismic shifts we’ve seen in the working world over the past few years have ultimately leveled the playing field for organizations everywhere. The barriers that have been holding us back for decades are virtually disappearing, and as a result, there’s never been a more exciting time to be in business or create something new.

“One of the more profound effects of the pandemic is the democratization… Suddenly you aren't faced with the historical constraints on where you can get money from, where you can hire from, and so there was an incredible surge in an interest and appetite for great people––wherever they are in the world.”

As we continue to navigate new ways of working, Jack believes that companies will continue to transcend national boundaries in ways that are not only relevant to where they acquire talent from, but relevant to their own corporate and brand identity. He hopes that this will provide leaders with greater leeway to be creative, overcome challenges, and carve a unique path for their organization’s trajectory.

Listen to the full See You At Work podcast episode featuring Jack Mardack here:


Sep 8, 2022

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