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An HR Journey with #FlexibleWorking in mind!

I have multiple jobs in my life, (1) mummy to two crazy, beautiful, boisterous boys (2) wife and general domestic goddess 😉 (3) career HR professional looking to change the world! Life is busy, my mind is busy, I get frustrated by my lack of time, yet am determined to make it all work. Determined to make a difference.

This is all made possible with trust and empowerment, complete workplace autonomy from thought to working arrangements and amazing childcare. Me and the hubby manage nursery pick up and drop off, we don’t have family who can look after the kids, having understanding childcare provision is so important to me.

Rewind back to 2003, studying for a degree in HR & Business, I didn’t want to be one of those people who ‘just had a degree’ I wanted to be the one who had real life experience. Understood how things worked on a practical level. So having worked in River Island and New Look evenings and at the weekend and of course, loving a bit of retail therapy, I connected with retailers to ask them to take me on for FREE in their HR team. I was so desperate to have that leading edge that I was happy to work a day a week for nothing. Sooo grateful to the HR Director, and the team at Faith Footwear Limited, who fully integrated me and gave me fabulous insights, projects and learning opportunities. You’ll be pleased to know that they did pay me too ;-).

From there I went to TUI for a short stint, until they closed their Greater London House office, then to Sodexho. I worked under a superb manager who gave me huge learning opportunities to really find my feet.

Then, starting to get more settled at home, with a fur baby too, I made the move to Pitney Bowes which was closer to home. Fast forward 11 years and I’m still here. I work with a collaborative, exciting and dynamic leadership team. I’m proud to work with them. They embrace my crazy, quirky ideas and I’m part of their team. None of this exciting stuff would be possible without their engagement, and the support of others in the HR team. I partner closely with my Talent Acquisition partners who have joined me on this journey.

“At Pitney Bowes we recognise the importance of building a diverse and inclusive pipeline of talent. We’re a growing business, almost 100 years old, and we’re currently in the middle of an exciting transformation. Our people play a crucial part in this journey.”

I’m hugely excited and proud that in 2018 we launched a collection of Family Friendly roles. From a contingent workforce model, school hours, term time to job pairs. With every sales role that we have, we always consider each time – can we make this work differently? Every step of the way we are assessing the effectiveness of these roles, determining ways to engage the talent pool and tell them about our unique value proposition.

Along with our Family Friendly roles, we created our Charter, to help explain our commitment to this space:

“Family life is important. We get it. At Pitney Bowes we recognise the importance of balancing work and personal life. We offer fantastic career opportunities, flexibility, but most importantly, understanding.”

We welcome applications from those who want to be able to care of loved ones, older and younger, and those of the furry kind. Those who want flexibility, those who want to quit the 9-5 or those who just occasionally are able to connect with their work selves.

At the end of Q3 we will complete a formal review of these roles and the impact that they have had on our organisation, our teams and on the lives of those who we have been able to welcome in to the workplace. I’m passionate and I care. I cannot wait to see how this intervention transforms our employee experience.

If you’d like to learn more about who we are, our offering or simply network to understand how we can create the platform for more flexibility in the workplace get in touch! Drop me a line at: Angela.holland@pb.com

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ShootForTheMoon With Mums Enterprise

Mums Enterprise Events London

Getting Mums Back Into Work

#ShootForTheMoon With Mums Enterprise

In June two members of the MummyJobs, DaddyJobs and FlexIsBest team attended The Mums Enterprise event in Manchester. We were so overwhelmed with the numbers that we plan to have the whole team there at the two day event in London in September. We spoke to so many mums from start to finish. It was so busy there was little time in between chats to even have a nibble of lunch! But what was clear is the large volume of mums who post maternity find themselves in a situation where they feel lost when it comes to the subject of careers.

It is fair to say the day was a huge success, not just for us but for Lindsey, Lucy and the Mums Enterprise team too.

We asked Lindsey how she thought the day went….

Well done Lindsey, Lucy and the rest of the team for an amazing Mums Enterprise event in Manchester. How are you feeling now it’s over?

Thanks so much, we feel relief. These events have grown so much and that has been a conscious decision but it also comes with added personal, professional and financial risk to do so.  With events – the outcome is unpredictable. We do all we can to ensure the day is as awesome as possible and obviously we market and promote the event and get pre registrations. The danger is you could still very well end up with a different outcome than expected. We feel so proud when we see our event busy and bustling, giving us a sense of relief that hard work was worth it.

It must have taken lots of organisation, blood, sweat and tears to get such an event together but the outcome was brilliant and inspired so many women. How many women attended and what’s the feedback you’ve received so far?

Yes it really does, we are in the exact same shoes as the visitors who attend.  We have babies, families, work from home with a remote team and have worked for three years bringing these events to the world.  They exist because I couldn’t go back to my city job after my first baby in 2013. I started an events business first before the idea struck for this in 2015 with the first events in 2016.

Feedback has been amazing. We get inundated with messages of thanks and appreciation that the events are here and that they are just so so needed. We know the talent is out there, which is why we are so confident in taking such huge risks to do what we do.

The events are inspirational. They offer practical advice, useful workshops, a great opportunity to meet like-minded and mums and discover real work or business opportunities. Opportunities many may not have known existed had they not attended.

BUT events are never perfect, we manage our business by conducting live tests.  For instance this event was the first event we kept open until 6pm. We wanted to see if mums would come after work or after school pick up.  Some did, but it wouldn’t warrant us staying open that late again. So in future we will most likely close the event around 4.30pm.

The next London event is another test, it will be the first time we have done a two day event and are trying one day to be a Saturday to see if that helps mums who are employed or can’t get the time off work, or can get help with the kids.

One thing is for certain we must get more employers who are recruiting involved. Being a small team and are limited to the time we can spend actively selling and reaching out to new businesses. We will do more, but I am very pleased to have had over 3,000 satisfied visitors at Manchester. I mean that’s just incredible.

The Mums Enterprise event was all set up to cater for children, with nannies and play areas set up in various locations. How important do you feel this was to encouraging mums to attend?

Ideally we want a full creche but these events cost a heck of a lot of money. It isn’t cheap getting 3000 mums in once place so we do the best we can. This was the first time we had nannies in the workshop rooms as a mid-way option to trying our best to help those with children. We also keep workshops to only 30 minutes with 15 minute intervals – we feel this also helps.

Next up is London on the 1st and 2nd of February 2019, what should we expect from this 2 day event?

Well it’s going to be quite similar to the Manchester event. The same features, content and 5 exhibitors zones across Boost, Business, Flexible Work, Opportunity and Retrain & UpSkill. This time I am considering adding some longer mastermind sessions. Those who already run a business need more in-depth information which can’t always be delved into within just 30 minutes.  But I need to work on the agenda and then decide.

But the London show is again totally free and as mentioned is our first two day event and we are trying out a Saturday for show #7.

 

I spent most of the day talking to mums from the MummyJobs.co.uk stand. So many mums feel at a crossroads in their careers or jobs now they have a family. So many feel they can’t return to work due to lack of flexibility or refusal to even discuss flexible working. Skills are waiting to be snapped up by employers. Employers must understand that by embracing flexible working they open up their doors to a wider talent pool.

What would you say to the employers who still make the assumption that flexible workers lack ambition?

 

Mummyjobs.co.uk is doing a fantastic job getting more employers onboard to highlight opportunities and careers. There is a huge movement happening. I wouldn’t say that employers don’t find flexible workers lack ambition. I think it is more about a shift and cultural change within a business that is the challenge.  For large organisations especially, such a drastic implementation of change is a huge deal. There must be a diverse array of execs on boards to the traditional man and his pipe in order for that to happen.

There is a huge movement and organisations are recognising that there really is a 4th revolution happening. Not just for mums but for the world the 9-5 will be extinct. It will happen and it’s the likes of Mums Enterprise, Mummyjobs.co.uk and many others who can help make change happen. It’s just going to take working together, supporting one another and not giving up. This is a long game.

#Shootforthemoon

Thank you

Mums Enterprise Events

For details and registration for the next Mums Enterprise event check this out

Will you be joining us?

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Is a return to Marketing in your future?

Always liked the idea of marketing?

Can you communicate clearly, both in writing and speech? Are you a problem solver? Can you crunch numbers? Are you an ideas person?

If yes, then marketing could be the new career pathway you’ve been looking for.

But, what actually is marketing?

Many people throw the word around not really knowing what it means and often using it in the wrong context. According to CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) it’s all about; identifying, developing and working.
Identifying something that customers or businesses want to buy or a problem that they need solved.
Developing a solution for that need or problem. It could be a product or a service.
Working out how you charge the right price for the product or service. You need to price it so that people will buy, but you also need to make a profit.

It sounds simple?

The theory is but the realities are more complex – it’s a challenging career where no two days are the same. Within it, you’ve got what’s known as the 7 Ps of marketing. We’ve already covered product and price, but there’s also:

Promotion – how you tell your customers about your products or services and how you market and sell to them. This includes advertising, PR and digital.
Place – where your product is sold. So, building and retaining good relationships with your retailers is a key part of the role.
Packaging – this is about how your product is presented to your customer and first impressions really count. Small tweaks such as a slight colour change can completely change a customer’s perception and affect their decision to buy.
Positioning – this is all about where your brand sits in the hearts and minds of your existing and prospective customers. It’s how people think about your company and how they talk about it.
People – the right people, inside and outside of the business, are a hugely important part of the marketing mix.

It’s a rewarding career and opportunities are vast too. No business or industry can survive without it, so the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing your sector. Or you might be looking for a career switch within your chosen career field. Pre-kids, if you worked in sales and want to switch to marketing to avoid all those hours on the road then you’re in a great position. You already have an existing knowledge of the industry and sales and marketing work hand-in-hand, so it won’t be like starting from scratch.

So, how do you get into marketing?

The good news is, that you can get into marketing without a degree. You can train flexibly online around work and family life. Try the professionally accredited Combined Sales & Marketing Diploma or if you want to be an established member of the digital age, try the Digital Marketing Diploma or the Digital Retox from Digital Mums.

The CIM also offers a series of diplomas, depending on experience. The Foundation Certificate gives you the basics, but there are a host of other short courses.

If your financial situation allows it, it’s worth considering an entry-level position to get a foot in the door. If you’ve already got commercial experience and are keen to develop, chances are you’ll rise up the ladder quite quickly. Some employers may also support financially with formal qualifications whilst you’re working. You benefit, they benefit – it’s a win-win.

Check out our latest marketing roles HERE
For more information about marketing visit www.cim.co.uk

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Hospitality: A world of opportunity

Hospitality is the third largest employer in the UK, employing 2.9 million people and contributing a phenomenal £130bn to the UK economy. Surprised? Sadly, many of us associate hospitality jobs as stop-gaps with unsocial hours and no career opportunities. Think again. It’s a thriving industry, with a skills shortage, that’s crying out for good people.

And, don’t just think restaurants or hotels, the industry covers everything from pubs, bars, events, fine dining, visitor attractions, schools, universities and corporate dining. There’s a huge range of roles available within the sector too; bar manager, barista, supervisor, front of house manager, chef, events manager right through to roles in business development, HR and accountancy.

Amy-Lou Osborn, recruitment manager at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, will happily admit that she fell into hospitality, whilst studying for a Stage Management degree at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. The flexibility of her role at HA!HA! Bar & Grill enabled her to work around her studies and take time out for filming contracts when she later graduated. Always returning to hospitality between film jobs, she later realised hospitality was where she wanted to be. She worked her way up the ladder, working for high street restaurant brands such as Browns, Frankie and Benny’s and Bill’s, where she also headed-up recruitment for new restaurant openings. Today, at GBK, she is responsible for recruiting and onboarding up to 1000 team members across 93 restaurants in the UK and Ireland.

She told us what it’s like working in the industry, what it has to offer and how you get a foot in the door.

What’s it like working in the hospitality?

It’s so diverse – every day is different. It might sound obvious, but it’s most definitely people-focused. I’m not just talking about the customers, but the team – I’ve actually made life-long friends through work. Everyone works together, pitches in and enjoys what they do, with a common goal of keeping the customer happy.
Unfortunately, the industry is often under-represented and most people aren’t aware of the vast range of opportunities and career progression that’s available. I think a lot of people assume they know what it’s like and discount it.

So, what are the opportunities?

The reality is, is that there’s a huge amount of opportunities and experiences available. And, for the right people, hospitality can enable fast career progression. At GBK, for example, you can go from a starting salary of £7.85 an hour to £30K a year as a restaurant manager, within two years. I don’t think there’s many other industries that can offer that? In most other sectors, you’d be in an entry level job for two years, before there was any hint of development opportunities.

What do you think the hospitality industry offers that other industries don’t?

I think our industry is much more creative in the way we recruit. We know there’s not enough talent out there, so the traditional head-hunting approach doesn’t work – we’d just be competing for and swapping the same people. Here at GBK, we create and invest in talent. For us, it’s about finding the right people with the right attitude and core values and giving them the training and opportunities to grow with us.

Is hospitality a good option for working parents?

By its very nature, working in hospitality is based around flexible working, so is ideally suited to people looking to work in a flexible way. Unlike a 9-5 office job, you can switch shifts to get to sports day or the school play and evening and weekend shifts enable parents who might have a partner with a 9-5 job, the opportunity to work without incurring huge childcare costs. Ten or 15 years ago, I think hospitality would have been a big no-no for parents, but it fits with today’s lifestyles where everyone is looking for flexibility.

What qualities and skills are employers looking for?

It really depends on the employer. Because the industry is so diverse, there really is no one size fits all. At GBK, we employ people who hospitality comes as second nature, people who genuinely want to make someone happy. I can’t speak for the industry at large; every employer is different. But, given the current shortage of skilled workers, now is a good time to enter the industry as more and more employers are training from within with some offering apprenticeships, so you don’t necessarily need to have lots, or any previous experience.

So, how do you get a foot in the door?

It’s worth doing some homework, if it’s a path you’re considering. There are so many roles available across many brands and companies and not every company is right for every person. You might not enjoy working in a fine dining restaurant, but you might be a fantastic Barista in a coffee shop. Contact the big brands to see what the opportunities are but keep an eye on your doorstep too. There may be somewhere local to you that is happy to offer some on the job training. Just get stuck in and if it’s right for you, you’ll fly.

To find out more about working in Hospitality, see a full list of our latest roles HERE

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Time to shine

Interview Tips and support with flexible working

Thanks to your hard work – and the tips in our previous blog – you’ve made it to your interview. You’ve got the right time and place, are dressed appropriately and have thoroughly researched the company and the role.
Now the real work begins – but don’t panic, we’re here to guide you though the interview process, including some inspired ideas for that question everyone hates…

Mind your (body) language
First impressions count, so make sure you smile and appear confident. Yes, you’re nervous, but take a few deep breaths, sit up straight and enjoy selling yourself.
As well as smiling, eye contact is important, as it shows confidence – but not so much that you make the interviewer sweat. Nodding along to key points is a good trick too, as it makes you look engaged and interested.

Feel the fear – and do it anyway!
Unless you’re a robot, you’re bound to feel nervous before and during an interview, but, believe it or not, this can work in your favour – yes, really.
Think about it – if you’re nervous, it means you care, and that’s what your prospective employer is looking for. Being arrogant or, worse, complacent can put interviewers off – didn’t your parents always tell you that nobody likes a show-off?
But if your nerves are threatening to take over, there are plenty of calming exercises you can do to take the edge off – but, whatever you do, don’t be tempted by a drink (or eight) to give you some Dutch courage.

Question time
Most interviews follow the same structure and use similar questions. With this in mind, you can prepare some answers for the questions you can guarantee will come up. If anything does throw you, take your time to consider your answer, and don’t be afraid to (politely) say if you don’t understand the question.
Obviously, your answers will depend on all sorts of variables, but there are certain things all employers want to hear. Hint: It’s not about your childhood hobbies or that you’re looking for a new job after running over your last boss’s prize poodle.
After you’ve clearly demonstrated your skills and your sparkling personality, you might think you’re home and dry – but then they hit you with the big one…

Do you have any questions for us?
No matter that we all know we’ll reach this point, it can still throw even the most confident interviewee – worryingly, no is still the most common answer.
If you don’t have any questions, you risk coming across as passive or incurious – and neither of these are a good look! Equally, it’s not a good idea to ask about pay or benefits, as this can make you seem more interested in what the organisation can do for you, rather than what you can do for them
Ideally your answer will touch upon something you’ve found out in the interview, or discovered during your research, for example asking about the issues the company currently faces. You want to look engaged and enthusiastic, and also make it clear you’ve done your research.

Final moments
You’ve done your best and hopefully wowed your interviewer, so leave on a high – a big smile, thanks to your interviewer for their time and handshakes all round mean you’ll leave a positive impression.
For extra Brownie points, it’s good practice to email your interviewer within 24 hours, to express your thanks for the opportunity. This shows both basic good manners and also reiterates how important the job is to you – both of which will stand you in good stead.

Hopefully, armed with these tips, you’ve impressed with your ability and charm, and so all you can do now is wait for the phone to ring – fingers crossed!

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Taking office…

Do you fancy a career in admin? Or maybe you’re looking to restart your career after time out to raise your kids. Whatever your motivation, we have hundreds of admin vacancies across the country here on MummyJobs, and we’d like to help you bag one of them.

Let’s face it – as a mummy, you’ve plenty of experience organising everyone’s calendars and thinking on your feet, so make sure you think outside the box and sell these skills.

You run a tight ship
Nothing goes on in your family without you knowing. You have everyone’s daily routines mapped out like a military exercise, and you’re the one they all count on to make sure everything runs smoothly.
You know where everybody is at any given time, how they’re getting there and what they’ll need. Parents’ evening, doctor’s appointment, football training – no matter the occasion, you’ve got it covered.
What’s more, you’re an expert at multi-tasking – organising everyone else’s lives while trying to live your own is no mean feat, and rare is the time when you’re focusing on one job and one job only.
And as for paperwork – surely no office can generate more letters that need immediate attention that one household with a couple of kids? Bills, bank statement, letters from school… you’ve seen it all and have the colour-coded filing system to prove it.

Communication is key
Any parent knows that dealing with children is all about communication – whether it’s homework, chores or persuading a reluctant toddler to put their shoes on, you are a mistress of talking people round.
You’re an excellent listener too and have become adept at filtering out the relevant pieces of information from the daily deluge of general wittering any parent is familiar with.
On top of this, all those mornings at toddler group and afternoons at the school gate mean you’re well equipped with the art of small talk – vital skills if you’re in a customer-facing admin role.

Timing is everything
Every second counts when you’re a mummy, and you can manage your workload like a pro. After all, there’s no better training than knowing you need to fit two lots of washing and a shower in before the baby wakes up, and there’s no procrastinating when the shopping needs to be done before the school run.
And if the unexpected happens? Well, you just work round it – ask any parent who’s received a text telling them school is shut five minutes before they leave the house.

All the mod cons
You might not describe yourself as such, but you’re probably pretty technologically-savvy. After all, it’s you who’s set up the parental controls on the iPad and knows how to disable the Wifi.
You can change the batteries in any given toy in under three minutes (less if you’re using a screwdriver as opposed to whichever piece of cutlery you have to hand) and you’ve become a prolific Facebook user – even if it is largely to stalk your kids.
What’s more, you’re a quick learner – when your toddler wants to play with that toy five minutes ago, there’s no time to fish out the instructions, you just have to wing it.

These are all amazing transferable skills that should impress any boss, so don’t sell yourself short – you may not feel you have the relevant experience, but it’s all about making the most of what you have. Make sure you check out our latest courses if you do need a refresh!

And once you’ve bagged that interview, check out our tips on giving it your best.

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Aviva : A return to work special…

Hi, my name is Gemma and I recently returned back to work from maternity leave.

My partner and I decided to take advantage of the shared maternity/ paternity scheme that Aviva offered last year. I took the first 6 months off, whilst then my husband took the following 4 months off on paternity leave to be with our daughter.

It was a great opportunity as we both got the chance to spend quality time with her as we knew we would never get this time back!

When I came back to work I mentioned that I wanted some flexibility with the hours I worked, as I wanted to spend at least one day every fortnight being actively present in the development of my daughter.

Aviva were very supportive of this request and with the support of my team and manager we made this happen.

I consider that having my husband off whilst I came back to work, took a considerable amount of worry and stress away from me, as I was able to fully focus on my job and get used to work life again.

Since the announcement last November from Aviva on the increase of time for the shared maternity/ paternity policy agreement, it has made me think how else could Aviva support staff in the transition back to work, as we should be able to offer so much more than just an amended policy.

I have since started a working group with the coaching and people function to try and set up a maternity/ paternity transition coaching service for staff going off and coming back to the workplace. Offering support and guidance back into the world of work.

This not allows us to support our people from a policy perspective but from a human/ family perspective too. The aim of the coaching program is to help employees handle the practical and emotional aspects of a parent transition, regardless if this is your first, second or third child in a way it also enables the parent to develop in their careers post maternity or paternity.

You can find out more about our roles and benefits by clicking HERE