If you are a man and regarded as a ‘key stakeholder’ of your company then this note is for you. I hope it causes you to reflect and, if appropriate, go to work this week and elect to work on stretching your ‘comfort’ zone because if you do, you will inspire others to follow. Last Friday I was wrapping up for the weekend and one of my last calls was to my contact in the marketing team of the recruitment arm for a global bank. I wanted to find out the outcome of their recent Board meeting and whether they had elected to work with 2to3days. One of their strategic imperatives is to address their female talent pipeline - especially at a senior level - which they can do easily and cost-effectively by engaging with the thousands of mothers in our 2to3days community. So I was really hopeful of getting the green light. The update I got was that they do want to work with 2to3days (which is great) BUT…. don’t we hate getting to the but! The ‘but’ was that first they needed to “work on” the predominantly “male key stakeholders” on the value of flexible working before they could take their project to market. This, they say, will take at least until the end of the year giving this particular bank only a few months before they yet again have to report on their Gender Pay gap. Previous experience tells me it will be a lot longer than that! But I remain hopeful. It is comments like this that make my heart sink. ‘Here we go again, the same old scratched record’ is where my thoughts go, whilst the image that springs to my mind a bunch of in their suits huddled in their Boardroom caves, with various members of the HR team sent on a mission to convert them to the flexible working ‘dark side’, all looking, dare I say it, pale, male and stale. We love you guys whatever your ethnicity, but it’s the stale bit that we want to shake off. Anything stale in my life gets chucked in the bin. As a key you need to be an inspiration to your company and challenge every aspect of the business, not be conformists to out of date thinking and action! So, I challenge each and every one of you to stop and answer honestly this one simple question: "What have I done to help progress the performance of my company through the lens of flexible working?" If you can hand on heart list what you have done then you are a beacon of light and we would love to hear from you. If the answer is nothing then I challenge you to throw away your comfort blanket and instead go to your recruitment teams and say that you want to genuinely champion flexible working. If you do you will be able to hire some of the best out there to help you and your company excel. We recently surveyed our mothers and 86% of our mothers can be highly flexible as to the hours and days they work, 77% able to attend to urgent matters out of hours. These women gave up on you once before and I bet you still miss them. Now they want to give you a second chance so don’t blow it! Be the boss that your teams admire not secretly despair of. Be a role model to your children as they certainly won’t want to be working full time but will still want to drive success in their career. The irony is that you don’t even have to be that radical. Just meet our mothers and let them tell you how they will do an outstanding job for you so the concerns you have disappear – the productivity won’t drop, the clients will still be happy, your team will be motivated and happy and if you have external investors you will make them smile too! Stale or hale and hearty? It’s your call.
“She won’t want to do that sort of work” – HR Director and Business Owner “Have you tested the market?” – Juliet Turnbull “No!” “I suggest you try…” “You’re right, we should…” The work we were talking about is critical in every company. It’s commonly known as back office support but I like to think of it as the ‘backbone’ – if it isn’t doing its job properly, supporting all the other functions of the company, then your business, like your body, can get into an almighty mess very quickly! This week I had a similar conversation with both the Head of Recruitment for a global insurance company and a fast recruitment agency in SW London. They were both lamenting the cost and disruption of hiring young people to do this work, only to see them resign six months later. I presented a solution. Hire the mothers from the 2to3days community. They are reliable, dependable and have a more mature attitude to their work. Most importantly, and here’s the irony – they want to do the work you need doing! Why? Because they are motivated by a different set of values. They aren’t necessarily aspiring to be the next CEO. They want to use their brains and their skills, they want to contribute, they want to escape for a few hours from the drudge of domesticity. After all, when they do get home they often then become the CEO and probably the COO too and do their own battles with the younger generation! I am not saying don’t hire the younger generation as they have a huge amount of value to add. Progressive companies need to have a workforce that reflects society, not just men at the top and the young guns bringing up the rear. We all know the saying – ‘if you want a job done well, ask a busy person.’ There is no better person to ask than one of the thousands of highly capable mothers who form part of the dynamic 2to3days community. They want to do a great job on flexible terms that work for the company and for them as mothers. To me, it’s a no-brainer – but then, hey, I am one of those busy mothers and I get it all done!
Varied, interesting work with global clients. The chance to manage a team. One-to-one coaching and development. That’s what’s on offer right now from EY. The professional services organisation is currently recruiting for Reconnect, a 12-week paid programme to help people get back into work after a career break of two to 10 years. There are opportunities available in tax, accounting and financial advisory starting in September 2018. Aimed at returners with managerial experience in professional services or a similar environment, the Reconnect programme is the perfect opportunity to revitalise your career and professional skills whilst building a network of like-minded people. “It’s really boosted my professional confidence” – Minaxi’s story Minaxi Arnold had taken a career break to raise a family. After a period of freelance and volunteer work she decided she wanted a role that would increase her knowledge and experience, as well as developing relationships with colleagues and clients. Now, after completing the EY Reconnect programme, she’s a manager in EY’s People Advisory Services business. She says, “I was impressed with how EY embraces flexibility. Here having a family is not career limiting – rather the opposite! EY is aware and appreciative of my achievements, which has really boosted my confidence. These programmes ignore the gap in a person’s career history and look at an individual’s experience and skills to match them to appropriate roles.” Initially Minaxi did have some reservations.“I didn’t think I’d get back into the work mindset having had a career break,” she says. “But actually I picked up right where I left off.” Throughout the programme she enjoyed “working, learning something new, delivering client work and winning new business.” It wasn’t a difficult decision for Minaxi to stay on at EY after finishing the Reconnect programme.“I had enjoyed my ‘internship’ and valued being part of a growing and successful team,” she says. “I could see how my contribution counted towards our growth.” Continuing to develop as a professional is really important to Minaxi and she’s taken up many opportunities to keep learning. “I was invited to the New Manager training course to prepare for being a manager at EY,” she explains. “I was also picked to represent my business area on a pilot EMEIA Immersion training course in Prague which was really invaluable. More recently, I was invited to attend my team’sBusiness Bootcamp in Berlin. There is so much valuable learning and development, it is really up to the individual to get involved and take ownership of their own learning.” On her return to work, it didn’t take long for Minaxi to start making a real impact.“There have been a few achievements I’m proud of since returning. I recently helped UKI Recruitment to select a new Application Tracking System vendor which will be rolled out later this year. I also drafted a People Strategy for an $8 billion telecommunications company!” And if Minaxi could go back to give a piece of advice to herself before starting the Reconnect programme?“I would tell myself to be confident in my abilities,” she says.“I was worried my skillset wouldn’t transfer into my new role but I’ve managed to continually surprise myself and would encourage anyone thinking about returning to work to do the same!” How to apply? If you’re thinking about re-joining the world of work and are looking for a support network to help you succeed, visit EY's page to find out more.
The world of work is changing and companies not willing to consider atypical working patterns can miss out on securing the best talent to increase business performance. Companies that offer flexibility both retain talent longer and have the potential to get more than their ‘9 to 5’ with 77% of employees being happy to attend to urgent matters out of hours and 58% willing to work evenings*. The Evening Standard recently explored why the flexible working model championed by 2to3days has achieved so much success in an interview with our founder and CEO, Juliet Turnbull. "If you just have a workforce full of men, that isn't a true reflection of society," Turnbull explained. "We need the mothers of this country to be productive. And businesses need these women.” “Corporate companies have not been supportive of motherhood and work. The pressure [on women] has come from non-supportive environments at work - why can’t a meeting be earlier in the day? Can she work from home?" She added: “There is a cynicism and lack of trust [among women] about going back into the corporate world. The big companies need to change to show that they are listening to and respecting women.” This is why 2to3days.com is such a key platform for employers who recognise flexibility is crucial to attracting, nurturing and retaining dedicated, talented employees throughout their career. It connects the right talent to the right companies. The Evening Standard article highlights employers such as HSBC, Grant Thornton, Santander and London Stock Exchange who are attracting talent through 2to3days and we continue to work with many more. Discover what 2to3days can do for your business here Look for your next flexible role here Read the full version of the article here *survey of 1500 women by 2to3days looking for flexible skilled and senior roles
We are delighted to be partnering with Shell to promote their new and exciting Return to Work programme and we were thrilled to see such a fantastic response when we asked if you had any questions about it. Shell were really keen to provide answers to your questions as this helps them enormously too. So whether you asked a question and want to see the answer, or you just want to find out more, please read on. And you can find all the details about this great opportunity for anyone who has been on a career break of 12 months or more here including information about the roles available in the following disciplines: IT Project Management or IT Advisory Corporate Accounting & Treasury Management Geology & Geophysics Reservoir Engineering 1. Is there a requirement to work full time after finishing if one of these 6 month 3-day placements is secured, or will later jobs be similarly flexible? Shell supports flexible working and we seek to offer flexibility in all roles, where business requirements allow. If after completing the Return to Work Programme, an individual is successful in securing a permanent position within Shell, working patterns and arrangements can be discussed and agreed with the line manager of the role. 2. Are detailed job descriptions available for the roles? More detailed job descriptions will be provided to candidates who successfully progress through to the next stage following telephone interviews with Inclusivity Partners. 3. What is the day rate for the programme? Contractors will receive a day rate in line with UK market practice. If you are selected for a telephone interview the day rates for each project will be discussed at that time. 4. Is the scheme open to those who have done some work on a part-time/freelance/self-employed basis as part of their career break? In order to be eligible for the programme, you must have taken a career break of 12 months or more immediately preceding the date you commence the programme. Shell defines a career break as a period during which you have been unemployed and not otherwise engaged to provide paid work/services (excluding any periods of less than three months during which you have undertaken contract work). 5. I am hoping to make an application to the Shell Return to Work programme but am unsure which area would be most suitable for me. Is there a matching process or will you help find the best possible match for my experience and skills? It is recommended that you apply to the role that best matches your skill set. If the recruiter feels you may be most suitable for another role, they will discuss this with you. 6. Who will be involved in the interviews? Inclusivity will hold the telephone interviews with applicants. If you are successful, Shell will hold the face to face assessment in the office (or virtual if you are unable to come into the office). 7. What support and training is on offer? We are offering projects in disciplines that require specific skill sets and experience and so candidates will need to come with a background to deliver in role. You will receive coaching and mentoring within Shell to get back up to speed with industry knowledge. In addition, you will receive: Ability to request flexible work patterns either on a formal or informal basis during the programme Career coaching from our external coaching experts A buddy to help navigate your way in Shell Support from a dedicated programme manager Access to Shell discounts with Bright Horizons Online learning resources Participants in the programme will also be able join events run by our UK networks including our Asian, African, Disability, Experience Hire, Gender Balance, Ibero-America, Parenting and our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender networks. 8. If I get accepted on the Shell Return to Work programme, would it be possible for me to defer my start date? Unfortunately it is not possible to defer a place on the programme. We encourage you to express interest in joining Shell through shell.co.uk/careers. 9. Are you looking for mentors for the programme? At the start of the programme, all participants will be partnered with a mentor from the line of business that they are working. The mentor will meet regularly with the returner to share career advice, discuss market practice and offer guidance.
A mix of freelancers and part-time workers have been instrumental in making independent research firm Edison a success, Neil Shah tells 2to3days. Investment research firm Edison Group believes in doing things differently. Its model of providing business-commissioned research is thriving under MiFID II regulation on financial markets, while its employment model offers a flexible approach rare in City firms. Since its inception in 2003, Edison has offered its analysts flexibility in how and when they work. “It’s a core part of Edison’s value proposition,” says Director of Research Neil Shah. “When we started we needed to be innovative. We took on freelancers who were typically mums who had stepped away from city careers and didn’t want to go back to 7am-9pm full-time roles and not see their families.” The approach has been hugely successful. “We have been struck by the positivity exuded by people who have this as part of what they do but not the entirety. It rubs off on the whole firm.” Shah adds that flexible workers tend to be highly efficient and having people with a portfolio of different things brings a ‘creative spark’ to the office floor. “Flexibility is not a small part of the firm’s strategy, it’s a core part of our success.” Of 120 staff members, around 40 people work part-time – ranging from freelancers to those working two, three or four days a week. Edison’s analysts cover a wide range of industries and companies – currently the firm is looking for analysts in technology, financials, real estate, investment trusts, mining, healthcare, oil & gas and fintech, as well as supervisory roles. The company set out to be independent of traditional conflicts of interest in banking. Its business-funded model has gained further traction since the financial crisis and growing European regulation in this area. In the first quarter of 2018 business expanded by 10% and the second quarter is on track for similar growth. While a team of senior analysts manages each sector on a day to day basis, all analysts report to Shah. “Everyone is different,” he says. “In our initial meeting I try and get an understanding of what they are looking for – some people are hungry to get on and are willing to offer three days, others may be at the point where their child has just started nursery, they aren’t sure how it will go and want to start gently.” Eventually the business aims to have all analysts covering at least five stocks, but this happens over time and is tailored to an individual’s capacity. Those working flexibly are not left to their own devices. Initially, Shah suggests they come into the office regularly while they bed down in the role. “We offer flexibility around that,” he says. “We try and get new joiners to develop a routine where they come in at least once a week to spend time with the team and build their network. As that develops it’s much more flexible. Most of my contact with some team members is by email or phone but I’ve got to know them well enough to do that.” There is a strong team ethos. “If you can’t attend a meeting because of other commitments someone will try and step in and attend on your behalf. If you need someone to review a note before it goes to the editorial team someone will help.” Shah adds that it is gratifying to see mums returning with low confidence and making a success of their careers. He cites one analyst who went on to a full-time role in asset management at UBS, while others have moved from freelancing at Edison to working part-time for the firm. “Other people like the flexibility and prefer to stay freelance.” The flexibility offered by Edison is a source of real pride, says Shah. “It’s a key strength of our business. We care about the people working for us and they care about the work they do, which is the best thing for our clients.” See all of Edison's latest opportunities here.
True flexibility can be hard to find in the professional services sector. Many companies make promises but these can be a far cry from the reality. Niche tax firm Frank Hirth explains how it strives to support its employees in work and life. Head of human resources Victoria Patricks has worked at Frank Hirth since September 2017. She has experienced the company’s flexible approach first hand, having applied for a position advertised as full-time. When she applied she asked to work a four-day week and to leave the office at 4.30pm. “They were completely open to the suggestion – and I had applied to other places that weren’t,” she says. “Some working patterns may not be suitable, but we will always have a conversation about it.” Flexi-time as standard Founded in 1975, Frank Hirth is a niche firm that specialises in UK and US tax advice and compliance including personal tax, corporation tax, owner-managed businesses, trust and estate taxation. Although it has grown to around 200 people, with offices in London, New York and Wellington, it retains a family firm culture. The firm offers flexi-time as standard – based around the core hours of 10am to 4.30pm. Employees are then free to decide how to make up their hours between 8am and 6.30pm. A two-hour lunch break is also possible. This allows individuals to manage their workload in a way that fits their other commitments. Retention is strong, with 44% of staff having been at the company for more than five years and another large proportion of workers who have joined from school or university in the last five years. At busy times the whole team work together to meet deadlines and good communication is encouraged to make flexibility work for all. “We don’t have a divide between fee earners and support staff,” says Victoria. "Everyone sits together and the only people in offices are directors, who have an open-door policy." As well as the flexi-time option, some team members work part-time or from home. The MD of Frank Hirth, Robyn Limmer, is a mother of three grown up children who has experienced life as a working mother and understands the challenges. A positive experience Victoria’s own experience has been extremely positive, and she is keen to ensure mothers have access to flexible roles in the business. Not all roles are suitable for people who would like to work from home, for example reception staff - but in these cases other flexible options are considered. “Having had a child and experienced redundancy at the same time I know you can lose confidence when you have a break from work. It’s silly really, but it’s a reality,” she says. “We know how productive someone can be when they have other things outside work. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter to us if you are a mum or want to do charitable work and pursue other goals, we know that people have a life and we want them to enjoy it.” Families are invited to the firm’s annual summer party, this year taking place in Brighton, and the office is closed between Christmas and New Year in addition to normal holiday allowances. There is an energetic board driving progress and an employee committee implementing initiatives focusing on employee engagement and making Frank Hirth a great place to work. Flexibility works for the clients too “The flexible approach is not an issue for clients,” says Victoria. “In fact, there is strong feedback from them on service and response time.” A genuinely flexible approach is rare in professional services – with employees often finding that the reality does not match the promises made. It doesn’t have to be this way. “Flexibility is harder to implement in professional services but only because of the attitude,” says Victoria. “It tends to be that a number of senior roles are held by men. Women still tend to have the main childcare responsibilities and this, coupled with inflexible working hours, means they may never progress as far as they should. This is gradually changing in the industry but Frank Hirth is ahead of the game.” The fact that Frank Hirth is not a partnership helps maintain a flexible balance. “We are a privately-owned company, with more than 50% owned by an Employee Benefit Trust. Not being a partnership helps as that can drive certain behaviours and our directors aren’t assessed on their own P&L.” Candidates should be upfront about their childcare needs Using 2to3days is part of the company’s open approach around flexibility. The firm feels candidates should not have to hide their childcare needs and family lives. Instead they should be upfront about their requirements and what they can offer. Associate Director Laura Knight says this has made all the difference to her career advancement and she has returned to the business after taking maternity leave twice. “I am fully supported as a respected employee and have continued on in my career, having been promoted since having two children and only working part-time,” she says. “There are no boundaries apart from those we set upon ourselves and being a parent has not stopped me from achieving my goals. The firm offers flexi-time which helps fit around childcare and the support given helps make the juggling act so much easier.”
Global design and consultancy firm Arcadis recognises and celebrates diversity, encouraging its people to be themselves at work. As the company releases a series of career opportunities with 2to3days, Head of Talent Acquisition Emma Heerah explains that diversity improves the quality of life for its people and drives design innovation. Juggling life and career development can be challenging. Whether that's working parents struggling to make it to school events; carers wrestling with conflicting responsibilities, or people feeling they need to hide aspects of their identity to fit in and get ahead. At Arcadis we don't think it should be this way. We believe diverse teams are better teams. We embrace an open and unique outlook on life from every one of our employees. We know that the best creative and innovative thinking for our clients comes from individual diversity and a supportive dynamic work environment. With the right conditions, it is possible to have a fulfilling career, successfully manage other commitments in life AND enjoy it. Removing the barriers to our people fulfilling their career potential is something we work hard to achieve. Our work spans many disciplines - from consultancy to engineering and architecture to cost management - but its united under a common vision to improve quality of life. We see people where others see projects, and we recognise that when we design environments we impact lives. That philosophy is embedded in the way we work. Part-time and flexible working empower our people to own their time and performance. We have created an environment where output and achievement are the measures used, not the amount of time you sit at your desk. Arcadis has successfully moved away from work as a physical place, instead embracing the notion of work as an activity. We work to improve cities, housing and infrastructure across the UK, using our skills to ensure places are well-designed and improve the lives of those who live and work in them. Working from home, the train, and occasionally on the move means our team members can come to work confident that they can manage their other commitments and collaborate in office-based and face-to-face meetings. Our multiple office locations mean team members can change their work locations when they need to, driving team engagement and stronger working relationships. Flexibility for all Ten years ago, flexible working was exclusive to a few forward-thinking industries (and roles) but that has changed. We see it as a basic requirement, not a benefit reserved for a few. All our people want to feel they can be themselves and that fulfilling work doesn't cost them in other areas of their lives from family and caring, to studying and sports. Elisabeth Selk, Strategic Research Consultant, has experienced this first-hand after taking a career break. I was keen to re-launch my career but equally keen to keep a degree of flexibility, she says. After taking part in a Women Returner initiative she realised that there was a market for experienced professionals seeking flexibility and applied for a position with Arcadis, advertised on 2to3days. "It turned out that this position was not quite the right level for me. However, I must have made the right impression with the team, and when a new position became available in the team a month or two later, I was offered a role in the Strategic Research team in Client Development." She adds: "I have now been working as a strategic research consultant developing and communicating thought leadership and strategic research for buildings and infrastructure. I really enjoy the challenge, working with the team, while enjoying a good work-life balance through my flexible working arrangement." We believe in working in a team where you are trusted and empowered to work to a schedule that fits you and your life. You should feel confident that you can fulfil your life ambitions and commitments as well as pursuing a fulfilling career one is never at the cost of the other. Arcadis is an aspirational place to work which recognises we are never the finished article and strives to stay ahead of the challenge inequality in the workplace presents. We are working with all parts of our business to create more part time and flexible working opportunities which we hope will attract greater diversity. This includes roles at all levels of Arcadis, including management and leadership level where we can create positive role models. Our latest part-time career opportunities demonstrate that Arcadis is a place where diversity is valued, enabling our people to thrive and raising the quality of the spaces and places we design. See all their current opportunities here.