In recent years joining a product team in a start-up has been all the rage because of shiny salaries, ethical missions and cultures to match. However, with the rising cost of living, economic uncertainty and mass redundancies, people are crying out for more job security. With this in mind, is 2023 the year big business can make a comeback when it comes to attracting the best product talent?
We teamed up with Planes, a digital product studio, to discuss what big businesses can learn from startups when it comes to building the best product teams...and in turn, the best products.
Joining us on the panel was Becki Lake, Head of Product at BT, Serena Chana, Product Manager at GoCardless, Yshira Kelly, Senior Product Manager at Lego and Sophie Aspden, People Lead at Planes.
The discussion covered everything from the benefits of working at product-led organisations to the biggest misconceptions of legacy businesses. Below are some of the findings which are both surprising and insightful.
The term ‘disruption’ is associated with start-up culture but Becki Lake who heads up the product team at Etc at the BT Group, highlights that ‘there is a way to disrupt within’ legacy businesses and teams. Many people say that legacy businesses ‘can’t do product properly’ but you can bring everything you’ve learned from a startup into a bigger business. You don’t have to do things the way it's always been done. The businesses themselves are ripe for disruption.
Whether you’re a FTSE 100 company or an early-stage start-up, creating a culture that embraces psychological safety is key. Product managers of all levels are put under immense pressure to delight users and the business. Creating a space and environment where people can experiment and learn from their failures is key to feeling safe and valued. Product Management can at times feels like a thankless job and having the backing and support from your peers and line managers can make all the difference.
Bigger companies have the budgets, bandwidth and HR expertise to invest in serious employee wellbeing programmes that can really impact people’s lives. For example, Vodafone offers “16 weeks paid parental leave to all employees” and champions Diversity and Inclusion from the top down as CEO Nick Read said, “Diversity and inclusion are core to our beliefs and purpose at Vodafone.” They also launched “the ReConnect programme in 2017 to attract talented women who have left the workplace for several years – often to raise a family – who want to return to work but are struggling to make the professional connections needed or refresh the skills required.”
So, have we got a clear winner in the race to attract the best Product talent? Maybe not but what we do know is that with this shift in people wanting more stability and inclusive employers, 2023 could be the year blue chips make a comeback in securing the best Product talent.
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