Pioneer Profile: Meet Louis Thorne

4th Oct 2023

It’s time that we recognise the people behind the evolving world of work. Our working lives have shifted to being more inclusive, more people-centric, more flexible, and just plain better for both employees and companies. 

These changes didn’t just happen: they were put into place and upheld by individuals and teams working to create a better working future for everyone. 

So we’re finally putting the spotlight on the people who make great companies great: the people-people.  

People-people are crucial to the success of every company. They find you the talent that drives you forwards, and they’ve taken on an increasingly strategic role in the past few years – often taking on responsibility for mental health, diversity and inclusion, culture, EVPs, Employer Branding and team happiness. 

Read more about the Pioneers List and go behind the scenes to understand how and why we’ve selected our Pioneers.

We were lucky enough to speak with Louis Thorne, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Flipdish about his career, his experiences with flexible working and building great company cultures, and his hopes for the future of work.

Tell us a little bit about your career history, and how you got to where you are now. What were the key milestones?

My career history (like most in Talent) is unconventional at best… 

I am a professionally trained chef by trade, and worked in multiple 5* hotels before a burning ambition to have my weekends back took over. I spent the next 6 years working my way up the agency recruitment ladder to a stage where I managed a team for a FTSE250 recruitment agency. Then boom: COVID-19. 

The pandemic was my first time ever experiencing any form of flexible working, as the recruitment world was previously very much 8am-6pm, 5 days a week in the office. In June 2021, I made the transition to working in-house at Flipdish, and 2 years later I now manage our Talent Attraction, Workplace Culture and Employer Branding functions, alongside various other things that are incorporated into the modern day talent acquisition role.

When did you become interested in flexible working, EVPs and the future of work?

Like many, I was always a sceptic of flexible working. Working from home or general flexibility was just not the done thing in financial services recruitment. I used to take annual leave for a doctor's appointment! 

I really started to embrace flexible working when I joined Flipdish, and could see that my own productivity improved. I was able to work when it worked for me, with the ability to work when I feel most productive and not be chained to a desk.

What's the most impactful change you’ve overseen?

Allowing our employees to work from anywhere for periods of up to 3 months has been a huge positive cultural advantage to attracting talent. In a cost of living crisis, with mortgage rates through the roof, a number of my colleagues have taken the time to spend 12 weeks working in the sunshine overseas. Ultimately, a less stressed workforce is a happier, more productive workforce.

What’s the biggest impact flexible working has had on your own life?

I was able to get a dog! In all seriousness, it has allowed my personal life and my working life to co-exist, rather than compete. I personally struggle to maintain concentration for long periods of time, so the ability to work when is best for me also means that Flipdish gets the best version of me.

What’s the biggest challenge of being in your role right now?

Finding the balance between office and home working. Both personally and as a company, I see huge benefits in having an office space and an office culture: it helps collaboration, makes the team feel more included, and often helps to support mental wellbeing as well. But forcing people to come in or making it mandatory has the opposite effect. So how can we make the office an environment where people want to thrive? That is the question.

What do you think the next big trend is in working culture?

I've often thought about this, and I worry that by trying to predict working culture, you almost take the flexibility element away. Employers do not have a crystal ball, but we do have the power to provide the flexibility to allow trends or future demands to flourish in an inclusive, flexible culture. 

With the rising cost of living and house prices in cities back on the rise, I personally feel that employers will have to embrace a work from anywhere approach in order to attract and maintain the best talent that simply cannot afford to be within a commutable distance.

Take a look at the other Pioneers who made the list, and subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on new Pioneers, guides to help you navigate your strategic role, and exclusive invites to webinars and events.