The Inside Scoop at Unleashed

with Unleashed's People & Culture Partner, Michaela Bartlam

20th Jul 2021


We're proud to introduce our latest segment! Inside Scoop is a closer look at our Flexified partners and what it's truly like to work for them.

This week, our Co-founder, Molly Johnson-Jones caught up with Michaela Bartlam, People & Culture Partner at Unleashed.

In this interview, Molly finds out what Michaela enjoys the most about Unleashed, her favourite perks at the company, their approach to flexible working and much more! You can read the written interview below or scroll to the bottom of the page to watch the full recorded session.

Tell us what Unleashed does in one sentence...

We support high growth, high potential startups and scale-ups to achieve an amazing culture through exceptional people, culture and leadership. We help them to build world-class cultures that enable their employees to be as high performing, happy and as engaged as possible.

How would you summarise your working environment at Unleashed?

Fantastic! We’re super flexible - I live in Amsterdam, so I'm not in London with everyone else. Our culture is brilliant because our focus is on impact, so as long as we're being impactful for our clients and we're happy while we're doing that, we're each able to work in whatever way we see fit.

How would you describe Unleashed's culture?

Very, very collaborative. I thought I knew what collaboration was, but then I joined Unleashed and soon realised I actually had very little idea! We're incredibly collaborative, because everybody here is so smart - it's a great example of how two pairs of eyes and two brains are always better than one. So, we really do work together on pretty much everything we produce for clients.

Have Unleashed always been remote first, or did the pandemic influence your level of flexibility?

No, I have always worked remotely. I'm 2 years in with Unleashed now and I've always lived in the Netherlands during that time. So, even pre-Covid, I was remote and zooming with my colleagues. I used to visit the UK office a lot more regularly, but that of course is a lot harder now, but  yes, I've been remote the entire time here.

Could you ever return to an office-only 9-5 environment?

Nope! Nope, nope, no! Absolutely not!

What would you do if your employer told you that you had to?

Yeah, I'd probably leave to be honest! I think we've really been able to see the benefits and the rewards of designing a life that you love, and work being a massive part of that, it’s really important to be able to design a work life that you love. I cannot imagine going back to a nine to five office job at all. I don't think it's for me anymore - I'm too far gone in the other direction!

What is your favourite benefit at Unleashed?

By far, our Learning and Development budget, which is pretty chunky - I don't think I've ever seen a Learning and Development budget that big. For us, being advisors and partners, it's so important to us all that we keep up our education, continue to learn and keep on top of new trends, and what's going on in the People and Culture space. It means we can provide the best service possible for our clients. Without that Learning and Development budget, it would be a lot more difficult, so that emphasis on learning is just so important to the way that we operate as a business.

What is your favourite thing about working at Unleashed?

For sure, the people. The team are just exceptional; incredibly smart, incredibly passionate, very like-minded but also very diverse in our own way. Just learning and being supported by these incredible individuals is a complete joy every day. I don't know what I would do without them.

If you could give prospective employees one piece of advice, what piece of advice would you give them?

It would be to embrace your imposter syndrome and realise, in many ways, that it's an incredibly good thing. I still get it all the time because in my eyes, all of my colleagues are just so highly intelligent and so incredible, so despite me now probably being one of the longest standing team members at Unleashed, I still feel that imposter syndrome all the time. Every single person we hire brings this incredible knowledge, skill and perspective to the team and I think everyone feels that imposter syndrome to a degree, so just try to remember  that you add something incredible to the team as well. Even if you're worried that you're not contributing as much or you're still learning, absorb those feelings, embrace the imposter syndrome and continue to be yourself and share what you have to offer with your team.

If you could dream up an ideal way of working for 5-years time, how would you be working?

Honestly, very similarly to how I work right now. Whilst working remotely works incredibly well for me, I also miss my team a lot and I think we work with a lot of amazing companies who have nailed hybrid working so, so well. If we've learnt anything in the past year, it's that the individualisation of experience is so important. Everyone is motivated, supported and engaged by different things and different environments, so creating those bespoke experiences for individuals instead of taking a blanket approach to everything is a really valuable lesson that I hope lots of other employers have also learnt over the past year. So, certainly, keeping this ability to have a hybrid approach where maybe there's an office or workspace for employees to go to but also the possibility to work remotely for those that find they prefer working that way.


Here is the full recorded session if you'd like to watch!

Don't forget to check out Unleashed on our website to find out more about their approach to flexible working!

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