Pioneer Profile: Meet Will Scott

19th Feb 2024

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’re delighted to introduce you to Will Scott, Senior Sales Manager at Ultimate, flexible working influencer, and one of our 2024 Pioneers. Read on to hear all about his career, his experiences with flexible working and building great company cultures, and his hopes for the future of work.

Let’s dig in! 

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

I left university not really knowing what I wanted to do, other than still harbouring dreams of making it as a footballer (still hanging onto them). I took a chance one evening and applied for a sales role at LinkedIn who had only recently opened their office in the UK and that's really where it all started. Working at LinkedIn, I got to experience what it's like to be part of a high growth company, work with multinational brands every day, and start to realise the power of personal and employer branding.

After six incredible years, I made the tough choice to leave to relocate up north to where my wife and I were originally from. This led me to taking on a sales leadership role at SafetyCulture where I helped scale the team from <15 in the UK to over 70, and break into the European market. It was this transition from LinkedIn and into SafetyCulture that confirmed my passion for flexible working.

After 3.5 years, I moved over to Hopin to work on their newly acquired StreamYard business, bringing it to market in EMEA and APAC, a journey which allowed me to be part of the worlds fastest growing business and work with some of the smartest people I've ever met.

Now, I head up the Mid-Market and DACH sales teams at Ultimate, where we help businesses realise the power of AI and automation in their customer support and experience teams. We're a remote first business, with teams across EMEA and the US, and I'm proud of how flexible we are. 

Outside of my day-job, I spend as much time as possible giving back and helping others build their own personal brands. I've been fortunate enough over my career to meet, work with and be mentored by some incredible people, so try and pass some of this knowledge on to whomever I can. 

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

It's impacted so much it's hard to pick just one!

But if I had to, it would be seeing more of my kids as they grow up. Remote and flexible working has meant I've missed almost nothing of my children's early years. I've been able to see my daughter take her first steps, read my son a bedtime story every night, never miss a school play or parents evening, and do small things like chat about their day when they get in from school. 

I've read that >90% of the time we ever spend with our kids is before the time they turn 18. Flexible working has allowed me to make the most of this.

When did you first become interested in flexible working?

The moment I realised I'd have to leave my role at LinkedIn. 

I never wanted to leave, but at the time, remote work or even doing a day a week in the office wasn't an option, so I had no choice. At the same time, my wife was forced to give up her career in fashion buying after we'd had our first child.

These two sacrifices combined made me realise that flexible working and the future of work was something I had to be involved in in whatever means possible, and to hopefully effect so that others didn't have to give up what we did.

I believe every company has the potential to offer flexible working, and to build a truly great employer brand. This is what I try to encourage with every post I write on LinkedIn or every interaction I have around the topic.

If every business can embrace flexible working, the effects can be huge. Not just on profitability, but on diversity, inclusion, mental health, families, economies and so much more.

What is the most impactful cultural change that you’ve implemented?

A few years ago, we were given a talk by Kim Scott. This talk and her book Radical Candor changed how I think about feedback.

Implementing this feedback framework across an entire team was a big process, but so worthwhile. It helped remove barriers in teams, create a culture of trust and transparency, and also put everyone on the same level. 

Feedback is a gift, but only if it's given and received in a certain way. I've read lots on the best ways to handle and deliver feedback and there is none better than the Radical Candor framework.

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

The tech market in general is becoming so busy. It doesn't matter what solution you're selling, ultimately we're all trying to sell to the same businesses. With budgets being tight, that means it's harder than ever to cut through.

People are inundated with sales messages everyday, and so it's a challenge to stand out. You're not just competing with your direct competitors, you're also competing with businesses outside of your industry.

Something that will help people overcome this challenge, and something I talk to my team and others about, is building your personal and employer brand. People want to work with people they trust, and resonate with. The same goes for sales. I really believe that the most successful founders, leaders and sellers over the next 2-5 years will be those that are able to build a brand, and 'own' their audience.

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

I think there'll be two. 

Firstly, AI is going nowhere, so I expect there to be a big cultural shift in terms of how we work with and accept AI as part of our roles. I believe it'll change how many of us work and we'll need to find ways of adapting how we work to make the most of the opportunity it presents.

The second is choice. We're already starting to see it but people will demand they have more choice over how their roles are shaped. This could be enabling them to do fractional work alongside another role, it could be choice over location, or it could be choice over what benefits someone gets.

We need to understand that everyone is unique, and everyone is different, and so work should not be a one size fits all approach. In order to get the best out of people, businesses must get onboard with this and start to give people more say and more choice over how they work.

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