Jo Whiting came back from her first maternity leave last May and was promoted soon after, despite going down to a four-day week.
She mentions this in passing, but it is evidence of the kind of culture that pervades at Homeserve UK. Jo has held her current post as Head of Digital Acquisition Strategy at Homeserve UK for the last three months. She has worked there for five and a half years, starting out as a marketing manager and moving around the acquisition team.
Jo, who will take her second maternity leave at the end of the year, says Homeserve UK is a very supportive employer. Indeed it has just been named in the top three of Glassdoor’s 20 Highest Rated UK Companies for Work-Life Balance.
Greg Reed, Chief Marketing Officer at HomeServe, said of the award: “We believe if you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers and the rest will take care of itself. This means creating a culture where people genuinely enjoy coming to work every day because they feel engaged and feel what they do really makes a difference in our customers’ lives.
“Work is such a big part of our lives so how we feel when we are at work and what we feel about work when we are at home really matters. Our daily working life should have a real purpose and be enjoyable, which means fun should be a seamless part of it. All of this drives our ambition to be one of the best places to work in the UK.”
Over the summer, Homeserve UK’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Bennett was named the UK’s most “People-Focused CEO” at the HR Excellence Awards. Under his direction, people engagement has risen from 56% to 84%, customer retention is at 83% and profits are increasing.
Jo says the people-focused approach extends from senior leadership down and that managers’ doors are always open, that communication is excellent and that everyone knows what the company’s aims are. “There is a culture of support and of trust,” she says. That means many members of staff work flexibly. In addition to her four-day week, she is also able to work from home and to do flexi hours when necessary.
Many in Jo’s team work flexibly and several are parents. She lists senior marketing managers who do a job share and other senior managers who work a four-day week. “It’s not the minority who work flexibly,” she says.
This summer is the third the company has allowed staff to work extra hours during the week in order to be able to finish early on Fridays.
Jo says working four days a week works perfectly for her, allowing her to be involved in bigger strategic projects and to go above and beyond her everyday role. She takes Wednesday off which she says helps to break the week and allows her to spend quality time with her son. Her son spends two days in nursery and then the last three days of the week with her or with family. It is very rare that she is called on her day off, but she is happy to be contacted if there is a major issue. “There has to be give and take,” she says, adding that she sometimes logs on in the evenings from home during work peaks.
While she is on maternity leave, she will use her Keeping in Touch days to keep up to date with what is going on and she says there are lots of social events which families can attend, such as a summer festival on Friday.
Jo adds that awards like the Glassdoor one help to motivate staff more. “Getting recognised shows we are doing the right thing. It gives us a sense of pride and spreads the word about what you are doing. We are very proud of our products and our customer service.”