Founder's Corner with Pavla Bobosikova

Pavla is the Co-Founder and CEO of WFHomie, an employee engagement analytics and culture-building platform for hybrid and distributed teams. The WFHomie platform identifies gaps in employee experience and provides the toolset to automate the execution of virtual team-building experiences, activities and workshops, as well as onboarding, peer-to-peer appreciation, employee gifting and recognition.

WFHomie enables companies to operate more effectively with data and provides them with the tools they need to attract and retain top talent. Pavla is on a mission to redefine employer-employee relationships, empower people to lead, and organizations to support better work-lives.

What does your company solve for?
We mostly focus on helping companies attract and retain top talent and how we might flag and prevent undesirable top talent churn before it takes place. Our goal is to solve the challenge of connecting teams remotely. We think about things like; how can team members build meaningful relationships when it is in a distributed setting? And how can we give leaders the tools they need to understand their employee engagement levels and people analytics?

What was the pivotal moment where you decided to start WFHomie?
We got started on WFHomie last year after the pandemic, so we're kind of born out of the need for the mass adoption of distributed work that started taking place then and continues to trend.

As you know, just as the pandemic was starting, the company where I was leading product was being acquired by Affinity, which is basically a CRM on steroids for VCs. So we were going through the company acquisition in March 2020 and me and a couple other core team members flew down from Toronto to San Francisco to help with the onboarding process of some of the product and some of the team. 

We were looking to stay a couple of weeks, I believe at the time, but then on day three, we were shipped back home to Canada because we didn’t know if the borders were going to close. And, they certainly did. 

And I think for me, as somebody who has worked for years in startups, it's been such an eye opening experience, because prior to that, I hadn't realized how much of my daily work life was embedded in the fact that there was a strong office culture. So, I would take certain things for granted. 

The fact that, yes, sure, there's free beer and whatnot. But also, the fact that it's a great opportunity to connect with team members. And you always have a good sense of where leadership's head's at, and what is the engineering team working on? What is the marketing team working on? So, even in a very informal setting, you would always get a better sense of what's happening and what other people's vibe was. And when the pandemic hit, it was just so challenging to get a sense of what was going on from that perspective with a team that was new to me and working remotely. 

So, I think that really triggered me to start thinking about “How is any work in the world ever going to get done if even somebody who considers themselves quite dedicated to work is finding it so challenging to get hyped up about a new team?” I thought, “How will companies figure out a way to attract people and get them engaged, and really just live and breathe their mission?” 

And so with that, I started investigating my questions and then met my co-founder, Reza, and we got it off the ground.

What problem are you working on right now?
We're digging a little bit more deeply into people analytics, and how we might leverage these new data sets that have never existed at this scale - internal communication, sentiment analysis, employee engagement levels, and so much more. 

Now, with remote work, things are a little better documented and a lot of meetings and interactions are taking place online that previously might have just been something that took place in passing or in an analogue way. 

Now, there's just much better access to data around how different teams, different companies, or different people, at a company, interact with one another. We use this data to flag burnout, flag potential churn, and help companies plan better. It’s really something that can just help companies operate more successfully.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Just the magnitude of the opportunity, in the sense of, I think, companies like ours really have the potential or the unique opportunity to shape how people will live and work in the long term. 

On a personal level, I’m really big into health and wellness and longevity and these things. And I think that the mass adoption of distributed work can really help people just lead happier, healthier lives. 

So, I think broadly, it's being on the mission of helping people to redefine the employer/employee relationship and help businesses operate successfully but to also leverage this new opportunity for humans to rethink how to live at work and to help them be better and live a better life.

What’s one piece of advice you might offer to someone who is about to embark on starting a company?
I think well, first of all, just do it. And second, don't wait. Just start doing whatever it is you’re thinking about starting and use data and feedback to iterate as you move forward.

How does your team work i.e. hybrid, fully remote, in-person?
We are globally remote. And for a brief moment in time, we did get an office in downtown Toronto. we got, I believe, three desks. And, I thought at the time,“Oh my god, we have this collaboration space. So awesome!” In the beginning, maybe the first month, it was quite interesting.

Myself and my co-founder would go quite often. And after a while, it kind of died out. Team members were just like, “I don't want to put on real clothes and commute.” I think, for some of them, this is their first real job post college and they just have zero desire to come in. Which is so interesting to me because this is the swankiest office I've ever been to, okay. We’re really living through an experience of how much people value flexibility. So, we’ve always been remote first and given people the option for hybrid.

Five years from now, what impact do you want to have made?
These are really loaded questions, guys. I love it! We view ourselves as the category creator for remote employee engagement and people analytics and this whole concept of understanding a company culture and helping leaders navigate all of that by providing them with the right tool set. 

I really hope for us to positively impact the lives of billions of knowledge workers around the world by just providing them with access to better work life opportunities. On a personal note, my co-founder and I put together an amazing team. My hope is to continue to inspire others, be a good teammate, and learn because there is so much - and it never ends.

Founder's Corner