In the second year of its Return to Work programme Shell is offering 11 people the chance to get back into the workplace on a flexible basis. In September the Shell Group of Companies in the UK (Shell) will be opening its doors to Returners in a six-month programme designed to help those who have taken career breaks back into work – and boost the company’s access to talent. It’s the second time Shell has run its Return to Work programme, following a successful 2018 pilot for eight candidates, seven of whom were women. The programme is ideal for those looking to step back into work in a structured way, with an employer who understands the need for flexibility and balance. The initiative is supported by senior management as a key part of Shell’s diversity efforts. “To be a truly competitive and resilient company through energy transition, we must attract and retain the very best talent, from all walks of life and all backgrounds. This programme is about accessing untapped talent; ensuring we leverage their experience, capability and help them unlock their potential,” says UK Country Chair Sinead Lynch. Applications are now open, with 11 places available across a variety of departments. The six-month programme starts in September and runs until March 2020. Successful candidates can expect engaging work, as well as flexibility, making their career fit with their other commitments. “The programme is for people who are looking to get back into work but want a supportive transition with flexibility – for example working three days a week,” says Gemma Lynchehaun, ER/IR Advisor for UK Diversity & Inclusion at Shell. “We want to tap into areas that we haven’t actively pursued and our aim is to ensure our workforce reflects society.” The programme is open to those who have had career breaks of 12 months or longer, whether that’s because of childcare, other caring responsibilities or personal circumstances. Shell works hand in hand with recruitment consultancy Inclusivity, which conducts initial interviews and provides support throughout, including 1:1 coaching for Returners. “The group of Returners in our pilot were concerned about how the workplace had changed and how they could readjust and still manage their other commitments,” says Gemma. “As well as coaching and line manager support, each Returner has a mentor and a buddy in their team.” Some roles are in London and some Aberdeen, with opportunities in: IT - Project Management; Exploration – Geoscientist; Upstream – Competence Management, Engineering; Contracting & Procurement; and Shipping & Maritime. The positions are hands on, with real tasks and responsibilities and a focus on delivery during the six-month period. Several of the roles are in parts of the business where there had historically been a gender imbalance. At the start of the year Shell renewed its commitment to flexible working in the UK, sharing real examples of employees working part-time, non-standard hours or taking a sabbatical. The Returners can discuss flexible work options with their managers – whether this is part-time work or non-standard hours, to ensure each Returner can manage commitments outside of work. Access to employee networks, in areas such as Parenting, LGBT and Gender, is also offered, as well as ‘Lunch to Learn’ sessions with senior figures at Shell, and other networking opportunities. Importantly, being on the programme means that going back into the workplace isn’t something Returners have to do alone: they can lean on their fellow Returners as a source of understanding and support. There is also the opportunity to access Shell’s Open University online learning programme of courses – putting candidates in an excellent position to further their careers at the end of the six months. Treasury Manager Jutta Swaeb took part in the pilot programme and says the experience has been “absolutely life-changing”. “I took a five-year career break to care for my children and frankly thought I would never be able to re-enter my profession at a decent level despite having studied during this time to improve my professional qualifications,” she says. “The Return to Work programme allowed me to restart my career in a very supportive manner, which allowed me to gradually build up my confidence (with the help of some amazing coaching) whilst at the same time working on an interesting project and earning a proper salary. I have now completed my six-month Returnship and I am fortunate enough that doors have opened, and I am still here and thriving. “Apart from the nice working environment, supportive colleagues, collaborative ethos etc. what really helped me was Shell’s flexible approach to working. This has allowed me to do school drop offs/pickups when needed and has ensured I can deliver what is required from me at work and home and quite frankly remain sane!” Returners are engaged as contractors and while there is no guarantee of a permanent role at the end, those on the programme can discuss information on suitable Shell vacancies through their business sponsor or supervisor. “The pilot programme was very successful,” says Gemma. “Shell is open to different individual circumstances and needs, whether that’s childcare, caring or other personal circumstances that require you to work flexibly. We want to access a wider pool of talent and support individuals wanting to return to the professional workplace.” APPLY NOW for this great programme.
2to3days is thrilled to be partnering with returnship specialists Inclusivity Partners who have grown a brilliant reputation for managing returnship programmes for a wide variety of clients. Juliet Turnbull was keen to catch up with founder Stephanie Dillon and find out what common mistakes companies are making that prevent their programmes from achieving their aims. Here are Stephanie’s top 11 mistakes to avoid so you can create a returners programme that's set up for success. Returner programmes are becoming increasingly popular. Rightly so when one considers the enormous amount of talent estimated to be ready to reignite their career yet lacking in ways to access employment. PWC’s 2016 report on Women Returners highlighted that a suspected 427,000 highly qualified women are currently on career breaks and ready to return. This statistic is backed up by our own research which showed that 65% of mothers on 2to3days are on a career break. More and more companies are putting in place returner programmes which is heartening to see but feedback from participants is that not all are set up for success. Is your organisation guilty of the following? 1. Advertising only for people to return on a full-time basis. Whilst some returners will happily return full-time, many need access to less than full-time hours. Programmes that consider people on a 4-day a week basis, as well as a 5-day a week basis attract considerably higher application rates and higher quality overall. In a recent survey of returning mothers, conducted by 2to3days and Inclusivity, 62.5% would only consider 4 days or less to return. This is a huge talent pool that gets missed if programmes are only considering 5 days a week. 2. You didn’t mention flexible or agile working in your advert. Organisations that have a culture of trust and a focus on productivity are coveted by returners. Not mentioning anything to do with this, combined with only advertising for full-time returners, will sound alarm bells for many over the culture of your organisation. 28% of returners polled in our survey would happily return full-time but with genuine flexibility such as home working, flexible core hours etc. Less than 9% would return to a full-time role in an organisation offering no flexible or agile working. 3. You relied on keyword searches to filter through the applications. Many returners are coming back to the market after a considerable career break. It's likely that keyword searches didn’t exist when they were last job hunting, so they won't be focussing on preparing a CV to match technology keyword searches. Using keyword searches means you could be missing out on swathes of talent. 4. You put a limit to the number of years they have been on a career break. For example, 'your career break must have been between 2-8 years'. Why? What happened at 8 years? Did they have a lobotomy? We have placed many returners who have been out for 12 years - and more - who are flying. Don’t make assumptions just because someone has had a lengthy career break. 5. The person filtering through applications didn’t receive training. Yes, believe it or not, there is a technique to reading a CV. Without the relevant knowledge of career trajectories, it’s very easy to make false assumptions about a candidate’s potential. 6. Your line managers weren’t trained and didn’t buy in to the programme. So many assumptions are made when it comes to recruiting – key to running a returners programme is training line managers on how to measure a returners potential. 7. There was no clear timescale. The returners market is becoming a lot more competitive and you can’t be complacent that great returners will be on the market for months. Once candidates have been shortlisted, line manager interviews need to be booked in asap. Waiting weeks (in some cases months!) in between will only result in a dwindling talent pool as other companies pick up your coveted returners. 8. There was no structure in place when your returners started working. Have your line managers been given an induction plan to follow? Are they accountable? Do your Returners have clearly defined parameters on how success will be measured? And who will be responsible for ensuring that Line Managers commit to the process? 9. You didn’t provide one to one coaching. The best programmes incorporate one to one bespoke coaching, focussed on each individual’s needs. Group coaching can be terrific and has its place, but it is no substitute for one-to-one coaching that focusses on the individual as a person. Over half of the mothers we asked in our survey said they would expect one to one coaching to be part of the support package. 10. The process for staying on at the end of the programme was ambiguous. Caught up in the excitement of meeting so many amazing candidates at the start, the end of the programme can often be forgotten about. What process will the returners go through at the end if line managers would like to make them a permanent offer? What process will occur if the returner is a must hire elsewhere in the group? Who owns this process? 11. Last, but not least, you only focussed on women. Yes, we know that statistically speaking more women take breaks than men and more women take on caring responsibilities than men. However, there are pioneering men out there taking lead roles in caring for elderly parents, or caring for children, and if we’re seeking to build a world of equality then these pioneers should be included in returner programmes. If you want to find out more about running a great returners programme with 2to3days click here.
2to3days founder Juliet Turnbull tells the story of how our company mug came to be so much more than a good place to dunk a biscuit. The 2to3days mug is no ordinary mug. It has a will and a life force of its own; it has meaning and purpose. Most of all, it tells a story. The story begins at Christmas 2014 when the seeds of the idea of 2to3days were slowly beginning to germinate in my head. To help bring the idea to life, I’d asked a graphic designer to produce the first version of the company’s logo - and my husband thoughtfully had it printed on a mug, which I discovered in my stocking on Christmas morning. Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of that first logo, so the poor mug was quickly relegated to the back of the cupboard. But even though this mug wasn’t a looker, back then it still carried great significance. It was my husband’s way of saying, “I believe in you, I believe in 2to3days and its role in society and the economy.” The business finally launched in the summer of 2015. At which point I discovered something many a budding entrepreneur can attest to - take off isn’t always as smooth as you dream it will be. I quickly developed insomnia as I dealt practically single handedly with what felt like an insurmountable number of issues and opportunities. The full story is available over a large glass of wine - be warned, you will be reduced to both laughter and tears! Steadying the ship Thankfully my conviction that the world needed 2to3days was strong enough to keep me going - and to get the attention of Russell Marsh at Publicis, who patiently gave his time and expertise to help me steady the ship. One day over a meeting he drew me this picture, with the following words written underneath: Anyone who has ever built a business from scratch will understand how poignant those words were to me. What followed was a period during which we burned an awful lot of midnight oil, with Russell dedicating his precious weekends to help me realise my vision. By the time Christmas 2015 rolled around it was time for me to gift him with a mug. I took his sketch and put it on the outside of two mugs - one for me, one for him. It was a symbol that tied us together as we worked side by side, connected by a higher purpose and our favourite brew. Growing the team By May 2018, 2to3days had grown into a close-knit virtual team and I wanted a way to remind them that, even when they were working from home on their own, they were part of something bigger. Not just a team of colleagues but a movement - the 2to3days hood. So we created the 2to3days team mug, which embodies what we’re all about: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This quote from Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule, inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The movement that 2to3days is leading is closing the void between the business world and motherhood by championing mothers’ careers on a flexible basis. By focusing on mothers - who have a very tangible need for flexibility - we hope to make flexible working a reality for everyone. Our vision is to create parity at work and at home, for businesses to have balanced and diverse teams, for flexible working to be the status quo for everyone. We believe we can accelerate the pace of change by giving mothers a voice, allowing them to pursue their careers on a flexible basis and ultimately closing the void between the business world and family life. Working with innocent drinks In October 2018, international smoothie and juice brand innocent hosted our first roadshow - the first of what we hope will be many - at their head office, Fruit Towers, in London. The event sold out within a week, with over 100 fantastic mothers coming to learn more about the job opportunities at innocent, to get CV tips from our partners City CV, and to hear more about the 2to3days vision and mission. Each of them got to take home one of our mugs to use at home while working on CVs and applying for jobs. For them, the mug is a reminder that they are not alone in their quest to find a fulfilling career opportunity that allows them to balance work with their family lives. Thank you and congratulations! For a while now, I’ve been wondering what we can give to our business clients as a thank you gift and as an acknowledgement of the difference they make when they hire one of their mothers. I also wanted to be able to send a congratulatory gift to the mothers who find roles through 2to3days and are therefore able to fulfil their career potential on terms that work for them. I wanted the gift to be something that had significance, something that was useful and not a marketing gimmick that would be thrown away in a trice. That’s when I had my ‘aha moment.’ What connects the seemingly disconnected parallel universes of boardroom and kitchen table? The humble mug - ever present in our lives, wherever we are. What better gift to give to our progressive leaders and highly capable mothers. So here’s to you, whatever your role in championing the movement to close the void between the business world and motherhood so that in the fullness of time ‘flexible working’ and ‘gender diversity in the workplace’ become the norm rather than buzz words. Do you have a 2to3days mug? We want to see it! Take a photo of your mug wherever you are in the world and share it with us on social media. We’re changing the world - let’s have some fun along the way!
With over 500 million users - nearly half of whom have hiring ability - LinkedIn is an important place to be seen if you’re looking to take the next step in your career. But just being present isn’t enough to land yourself that perfect role. With so many profiles to compete with, you need to make sure yours stands out from the crowd. And that means avoiding common mistakes like these. 1. Using the wrong photo. Or worse, no photo at all, which is the quickest way to ensure that people scroll past your profile without stopping. LinkedIn may be a professional platform but it’s still all about people. Which means we need to be able to see your face. And not your face with sunglasses on / your dog on your lap / the Spanish coastline in the background. Think about how you present yourself in a job interview and make sure your profile picture reflects that. 2. Making your job title your headline. Your profile headline is your equivalent of a strapline. It should sum up not only what you do but the skills you offer and what makes you unique. This is especially important if you’re job hunting and want to reflect your future rather than current employment status. Rather than saying ‘Marketing manager’ try ‘Marketing expert specialising in the charity sector’ or ‘Running creative digital marketing campaigns for growing start ups’. 3. Not using the summary section. Writing about yourself isn’t easy but the summary section of your profile is an important opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers. Remember, no one will see beyond the first two or three lines without clicking ‘show more’ so make sure to start with something punchy. Don’t be afraid to bring your personality and your story into it, but always remember who you want to read it and the impression you want to give. 4. Talking in the third person. You wouldn’t talk about yourself in the third person at an interview so don’t do it on LinkedIn. Your profile should reflect you, it should be written in your voice and should allow people to get a sense of who you are before they even meet you. Using the third person voice creates a sense of distance that won’t help the relationship building process. 5. Not being specific enough. When it comes to your experience, don’t be vague. Talk about the specifics of key projects you worked on, for example, such as the size of the team you led or the budget you were responsible for. Also keep your industry up to date so people who are searching within specific parameters can find you. 6. Using off-putting buzzwords. If you’re a “passionate, motivated” person then unfortunately you’re likely to put people off. Not because these qualities aren’t valued but because the words have been overused. Instead of relying on buzzwords, share specific examples that show you are passionate and motivated rather than having to actually say it. 7. Not including contact details. You can’t message someone outside your direct network unless you have a premium LinkedIn account. Even if a potential employer is able to do so - or if they’re already connected to you - they may be concerned about how frequently you check your account. Make sure your contact details are up to date and available on your profile and consider including them in your summary too, so that they’re available to anyone who might want to get in touch with a job opportunity. 8. Forgetting that people are watching. When you update your LinkedIn profile, your connections can see the changes you’ve made. This might not be a problem if you’re coming back after a career break but if you’re looking to change jobs then you probably don’t want your current boss to catch on too soon. Update your privacy settings by clicking on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner of the screen to ensure that you don’t share more than you want to. 9. Skipping the personalised message. If you’re actively using LinkedIn to make connections with people - and you should be - then don’t just click the ‘connect’ button. When the pop up box gives you the option to ‘Add a note’, do it! This allows you to personalise your connection request and gives you more of a chance of the person on the receiving end accepting it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just started using LinkedIn or you’ve had a profile set up for ages, the key is to ensure that it is working for you. Eliminate these mistakes, start investing some time in building connections and you will be on your way to your next career move.