2to3days are thrilled to announce that Nationwide, the world’s largest building society, has become our first 2to3days Featured Employer. They have pledged to advertise over 60 jobs to our members over the coming year.
Katrina Hutchinson-O’Neill is in charge of all recruitment for Nationwide from entry level to senior professional opportunities. She is a mover and shaker in the world of FTSE 100 recruitment directors, so what she does at Nationwide has an impact on the wider corporate landscape. She gives her personal and professional motivations for partnering with 2to3days and offers some insightful tips to mothers applying for part-time roles:
Smart businesses need to keep pace with people’s lives to attract talent
To attract and retain the best talent and meet our business objectives Nationwide would be missing a trick to overlook working mums. We’re going one step further and are actively seeking out applications from mothers that want to work 2 to3 days per week, or another flexible arrangement.
Flexible working is our benefit; not the employee’s problem
Too many employers have regarded the provision of flexible working as a major concession that requires their staff to bend over backwards or incur penalties if arrangements don’t work out. This is particularly true for job shares where some employers place the onus on employees to find or replace job share partners. This is a cop out as it makes flexible working the problem of the person doing the job.
I have a 3 day a week worker on my own team. who pursues both professional and personal interests on their days off which, on the face of it, may bear little resemblance to their ‘day job’. However, I am routinely amazed at the freshness and passion they bring to the team in their three days and the number of times they have been able to add amazing additional value to my team and to our company as a result of the additional skills this arrangement helps them bring to the table.
Every mother should help another
That flexible working is still not part of the working norm is bewildering. According to research that Nationwide commissioned of over 2,000 UK working adults in September 2017, nearly two thirds (64%) said they never even get an opportunity to work from home. We all need to call time on this restriction on talent, and female employers could be at the vanguard of hiring more staff with parenting responsibilities.
The needs of other groups including men who are primary child carers, are equally important but as mums are undoubtedly the largest group excluded from the job market by lack of flexible opportunities, working with 2to3daysto hire more mums is an ideal place for Nationwide to start.
Whilst all employers are duty bound to consider flexible working requests from existing employees, my personal mission is to make this standard practice for businesses hiring new staff.
My tips for 2to3days members applying for jobs at Nationwide and elsewhere
- Be open and honest about what your requirements are and where you are able to offer some flexibility in return. But this doesn’t mean you need to overcompensate - a fine line to tread.
- Show a genuine interest in the role not the hours - we can sniff out an applicant who is more interested in the working pattern than the role they have applied for.
- Look out for results-driven culture – if you get to interview, ask how your performance will be measured. If your team measures inputs, this indicates a clock-watching culture or ‘presenteesim’ which won’t suit a flexible worker. Of particular relevance to mid to senior level roles, try to seek out outcome-based management styles.
- Establish whether your boss has previous experience of employing flexible workers. If you’re the test bed you may be in for a rockier ride, although a good employer should be able to provide reassurance.
Every mother is different
On a personal level, I have felt discriminated against in the past by bosses who have made assumptions about what I’d be prepared to do after having children. I’m the first to recognise that every individual has different needs, in and out of work. Every parent returning to work has a different set up, they may be a single mother or in a relationship with someone who is the primary childcarer.
I have three small children, and a very supportive husband who also works full time and who takes charge of the kids during the week because my home is 415 miles away from my main office location! Whilst my current work-life arrangements are far from typical, Nationwide has enabled me to be successful in both home and work lives.
But even with an incredibly supportive employer, holding down a senior level role and juggling kids, travel, two cats, three rabbits and a goldfish is always going to need a bit of organisation and planning!
As the person responsible for attracting top talent into the Society, working with 2to3days is helping me to help working mothers and a growing number of firms are following suit.
Katrina Hutchinson- O’Neill is Director of Resourcing at the Nationwide Building Society, a 2to3days Featured Employer.