The best thing to do is to highlight in negotiations what you do, the experience you...read more
Emma Stewart got her job as HR/Office Manager at healthcare communications agency Cuttsy and Cuttsy through Workingmums.co.uk.
She was working in a part-time business development role before, doing three days in the office and one day from home, but wanted to move on. “I had reached a crossroads,” she says.
She decided to Google for freelance PA jobs with a view to setting up on her own as she felt this would be the only way to continue with such flexibility and came across the Cuttsy and Cuttsy job on Workingmums.co.uk. “I read the job description which was just what I was looking for and it said the role could be part time, plus it was closer to home. It felt like fate,” she says. As well as two more formal interviews, she went out to dinner with Mathew Cutts and Caroline Benson, the directors of the company, to get to know them and proposed that she do the role on five days a week but within school hours. She felt that, although she would be giving up her day off, because her role involved the day to day running of the business she needed to be in every day.
Mathew and Caroline agreed to her proposal. “It’s all about give and take. I am very grateful to be able to work 30 hours a week and it works for them,” says Emma. “They said from day one that they do not expect long London hours.”
She does check emails outside her normal hours, but says this is not expected.
Although she misses not having a weekday off, she says this is more than compensated for by the fact that she gets to do the school drop-offs and pick-ups every day.
Emma’s children are aged 14 and 11. Moreover, in the holidays she can drop down to four days which makes life easier.
Emma [pictured fourth from left] has benefited too from Cuttsy and Cuttsy’s emphasis on staff development. “I’ve done compliance training and it has given me a more in-depth understanding of what we do and the regulations involved. It also means that, with my existing skillset, I can be involved in client jobs,” she says. That ability to keep learning and stretching herself and the variety of the work she is able to do makes the job more appealing.
She adds that there is a good team spirit at Cuttsy and Cuttsy. When she heard that the company had won the Workingmums.co.uk Top Employer Award for smaller SMEs she says she was very proud and “almost did a leap of joy”. Pride in work achievements is a big element of the Cuttsy and Cuttsy culture and Emma is very impressed by its ‘Be proud’ meetings nominations’: every three months employees focus on something they have done that they are proud of and what they plan to do next month that they might be proud of.
“It helps people to set goals so that if we have a quiet moment they can work towards them. It’s really good from my perspective in HR because it gets people to think about positive achievements and take ownership of their development. We are constantly looking for something else to learn,” says Emma.
That focus helps her with recruitment across age groups. “Graduates are no longer just looking at salary,” she says. “I am often asked about the career development that is available to them within the Company.”