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Never underestimate the power of strong workplace connection. 

Mary Harcourt, the founder and CEO of CosmoGlo, started as a salon owner specializing in eyelash extensions. After growing her business into a fully staffed leading salon, Mary imagined what the perfect light would be for lash professionals. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, she was finally able to channel her energy into launching the CosmoGlo light and three years later, CosmoGlo has grown and is now patented in 30 countries.

Mary discusses how CosmoGlo’s hybrid work model enables her team to be productive while still connecting to each other and to the workplace. 

CosmoGlo’s hybrid work model

A hybrid work model lets CosmoGlo have the best of both worlds. Mary offers hybrid as a way to balance both encouraging team building among a small but close team while also enabling productivity.

“Hybrid brings us all together. Being in the office lets us attack everything as a team, so that when we work at home, we are able to do what we need for the week,” Mary says. “It really helps to feed both sides of it, that our employees can have both community time together and alone focus time at home. They also can take care of family needs that they can’t do while they’re in the office.”

The hybrid model is also enabling CosmoGlo’s growth. After moving into their headquarters last year, Mary first thought, “How will we ever outgrow it?”  Now, as they are indeed outgrowing it, the hybrid model is allowing them to bring more people onto the team and not worry about the office being over capacity. In addition, it makes more sense economically.

“If you can scale down your office and have less square footage but still have meeting rooms and a great place for people to come and connect, employees are going to enjoy coming to the office. The company can scale down and save money, and employees can still connect and see each other face to face. We can make the office time more valuable and the at-home time to be a flexibility perk for the employee.”

Her connection as an employer to her employees is important too. It’s part of why she believes so strongly in a hybrid model – because it creates trust and builds overall workplace connection. 

“I want everyone who works here to love their job. And part of that is me being flexible, saying ‘I know that you can come in here every single day, but I also know you don’t need to. Go ahead and take that time at home.’”

Cultivating workplace connection

When it comes to operating a successful hybrid work model while helping employees feel connected to the workplace and each other, Mary has a strategy in place – starting with a 9 a.m. standup call. 

“Everyone has a to-do list that they’re working so hard on, but we forget to connect. By doing a 9:00 AM standup call, everyone – whether you’re in the office or not that day – meets and gets on the same page,” Mary says. 

“And sometimes you’ll see the same issue going on for three, four or five days. And another staff member can say, ‘Hey, I don’t have a lot going on today. I’ve heard you try to get to this a couple days in a row. Why don’t I take that off your plate?’ And then, after the call, everyone has their agenda for the day.” 

For team members in the office, they can share updates and ask questions instantaneously, such as  questions about how to move forward and what it means for any project. While not being in the office full-time makes instant data transfer harder to achieve, the stand ups and in-person time that does happen facilitates strong communication and eliminates any roadblocks. 

Strengthening connection to improve retention

While the workplace connection that CosmoGlo’s tight knit team has is paramount to the company’s success, the connection they have to the company is also important. As a founder and entrepreneur, Mary wants each team member to feel like they have a stake in the company and the direction in which it’s going – so they can see that their work matters. 

“For our biweekly meetings, I make everyone talk. If you don’t have a voice, then you don’t have a part in my company,” Mary says. “We are exploding in growth and it’s very exciting. When our employees get to voice their opinion, we collect and then act on it. In turn, they feel fulfilled and like their voice matters – that they are at a job where they count.”

Mary does this to not only improve workplace retention, but also to help CosmoGlo grow and get better.

She explains: 

“If you cut away an employee where their job doesn’t count anymore, and they’re just doing a job that anybody can do, that’s where they start to get that dissatisfaction, where employees ask, ‘what else should I be doing with my life?’ But if you can make it so their job is so important and what they’re putting in every day has growth and the outcomes they can see, they feel a part of the team and connected.”

Engaging all generations of the team 

Mary also works to improve CosmoGlo by specifically engaging her newest and oldest employees

“The oldest member on the team is going to understand the complexity of your company from start to finish. On the other hand, a newer person is going to look at it and go, none of these systems make sense. Why is it so complicated to do this when we can just do that? 

“It might be a light bulb because everyone on that team has been doing it that way for so long that you never thought about a new way to do it. It’s so valuable to hear from everyone on your team, no matter how long they’ve been with the company.”

Mary knows when her employees are connected to each other and the company, they are more invested in its growth and will give their best, all the time. It’s Mary’s way to get her team members to be as invested in where CosmoGlo is growing as she is. 

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