Dora Lakatos: Our HR Associate reveals what characteristics potential recruits need to thrive at Hyphen and discusses career development
Dora Lakatos works as our HR Associate, which means she is perfectly placed to explain how things work at Hyphen.
Since joining us in July 2022, she has also filled the positions of Business Analyst and Client Partnerships Associate, giving her a unique range of perspectives on life in our A-team. This means she has worked on key strategic projects for some of our most important clients, contributed to new initiatives, and optimised processes behind the scenes.
Now, though, she works to create the best possible workplace experience for our A-team and those interested in joining us. Given her involvement in all things people-related, who better to explain what skills we most look for, how we look at career development, why we go on quarterly retreats and what makes Hyphen a unique employer?
What are your favourite things about working for Hyphen? What do you think makes Hyphen stand out as an employer?
It’s definitely the people and the team. I think it’s very rare to find such a group of people who get along this well, even though they are different in so many ways when you think of the range of backgrounds, personalities and nationalities in the team. There is such a strong sense of trust with each other, we just have a good time when we are together. We are still growing as a company and our team is getting bigger as a result, but that sense of camaraderie is one thing we are particularly keen to preserve.
The other thing that makes Hyphen stand out for me is that it’s never boring – I always feel like there is something that I can learn on the job. For example, I can always learn how to run an executive search, how to organise a retreat or the best way to interview someone, so I like the fact there is a very wide array of things I can do here.
I also appreciate the flexibility and I think that applies for other people here, too. That goes beyond just being able to move the hours that suit me best, it’s the fact that there is flexibility in how I can shape my career. People can shape their roles here based on what suits their personalities, which I think is quite rare and is particularly important for those early in their careers.
There is also quite a flat hierarchy here so you can get a lot of help from very senior people. For example, I can ask Avi, one of the Co-Founders, something and he is always very supportive. Another example is when I moved into the Client Partnerships team, Chiara was always hands-on and helping me to learn so much. This goes back to my first point about the character of the people here, as there is a willingness from everyone to chip in and that creates such a positive working environment.
You mention that there is the flexibility to change roles within Hyphen – how did work in your case?
I have had three different roles during my time with Hyphen now, so I am living proof of that flexibility. I started in the role of Business Analyst role but the chance to move into the Client Partnerships team arose soon after, and that offered a really interesting insight into another part of the company.
My chance to become our HR Associate came out of the blue. One day, Michael, one of the Co-Founders, called me and asked if I would be interested in the role and mentioned the opportunities for progression, so I was keen to try it. While I enjoyed both of my previous roles, I am glad that I made this change and feel that HR suits me.
Fit is very important at Hyphen – it impacts which professionals we partner with a given client, but it also applies to our team. A lot of this focus on flexibility and fit comes down from the leadership, who are always very mindful of what suits the individual as well as the company. Even if your current position is a good fit, there might be a better role for you at Hyphen and you can decide what is right for you, with their support. It’s really cool and quite reassuring to have that level of trust from those at the top of the company, you wouldn’t get that in most places.
Having worked in a few different roles and across departments, are there any particular skills or traits that you think are important for would-be recruits to possess?
Being an empathetic person is crucial here, regardless of whichever role one takes on. The spirit we have here is very special and if something away from work is affecting you, the team is so supportive, from the Co-Founders on down. When we talk about having a people-first mentality as a company, we really mean it and we want to keep that mentality as the company continues to grow.
Something that goes hand in hand with that is being flexible, which comes in a couple of different ways. First off, everyone here is able to adapt to changing demands and requests from clients or professionals, just like any other business. Flexibility at Hyphen also means being willing to chip in and take on a little bit extra at times to help others in the team if they need some support – that comes from the top right down and is a really important part of what we do.
We are also very open to change so if you are creative and come up with a good idea, Hyphen offers an environment that will value and encourage that side of someone’s personality. The leadership team considers any suggestions that can make the company better and will implement them if they are the right fit for us as a business, so individuals at all levels can make a real impact here.
Another thing about Hyphen is that you will not be micro-managed – you need to be proactive and have an entrepreneurial mindset. While senior figures are happy to offer advice and support, you set your own agenda and will be entrusted to do things on your own. Asking for guidance is something I have had to learn but there is nothing to be afraid of because the whole team will gladly help out.
Thinking about flexibility, one of the perks of working at Hyphen is flexible hours. How much flexibility is there in that respect?
There is such trust in our team that we all know we can take care of ourselves and non-work responsibilities without having to jump through administrative hoops. For example, if I have an appointment, I don’t need to ask permission from anyone; I just block my calendar, go and then make up the time elsewhere. It also means I get to work at times when I’m really motivated so it’s definitely preferable to a strict 9-to-5 job. There are some departments that require staff to be more agile and responsive so as to meet requests from stakeholders but it all depends on what one’s role is.
Another perk of working is the company-wide co-working retreat each quarter. As a remote-first company, how does Hyphen bring the team together?
The co-working retreats are extremely important for a variety of reasons, and they help us build a community.
Our team gets together for virtual meetings on a regular basis to discuss what respective departments are working on, as well as Slack messages, but there is something more enjoyable about being with the whole group in person. It breeds more creativity and generates more discussion as you can bounce ideas around more easily.
On a personal level, you can build deeper connections and learn about everyone as individuals, which is so nice when we typically work in separate cities all over the world. Those informal, spontaneous chats on the retreats have helped me learn about the rest of the team and that creates little in-jokes that filter back into our normal conversations. It might not sound like much but it definitely helps you relate to people better and see everyone as more than just a colleague.
Eliza really helps make these co-working weeks special, too, and does a lot of organising. We bounce ideas off each other and Michael contributes a lot as well so it’s a team effort and I think everyone really enjoys the opportunity to see each other in person. Obviously, these trips are not holidays but we strike a balance so that we do have fun as well. As previously mentioned, these trips have a big impact from a work perspective as the conversations we have can help us see things in a different way and just be more productive the rest of the year, too.
If you were to describe life at Hyphen to your friends, what would you say?
It’s a really positive experience. Whenever I talk about my job, I am excited about what I do and what the company does, and I like explaining all the good things we have here. I always talk about the fact it’s very flexible, that we have such a great team, and everyone I know is very jealous of the retreats! It’s a great company to work for and if anyone interested in joining our team ever has any questions, I am always happy to answer any emails about specific issues.