Tuesday 26th March 2019
Greenacre are a specialist social housing recruiting consultancy with a passion for progressive leadership, equality and diversity.
At Greenacre, we’re avid promotors of the agile workforce, as many women often have to juggle a busy family life around their work roles. We’ve researched the benefits of agile working and found those who have more control over their working hours and space, are on the whole more productive, motivated, and most importantly, happier in their jobs.
Staff retainment and employee satisfaction are our top priorities as leading recruiters in our field, and it’s crucial to us to ensure our own team members have the right work-life balance. Our Support Service are the cogs behind the wheel of our business, so if they are happy, motivated and able to work around their own commitments, it not only benefits us as individuals, but the entire team benefits from increased efficiency. In fact, since we’ve brought in agile working Greenacre has grown faster than ever!
Introducing Our Support Service
We’ve five support service staff, each with an individual function:
Sarah Crone, Finance Director; Lisa Barrett, Office Manager; Rebecca Green, Compliance Manager, Laura Riley, PA to Directors, and myself, Alma Sheren heading up our Marketing and Communications.
How long have you worked with Greenacre?
Sarah: 5 years
Lisa: 4 years
Rebecca: 3 years
Laura: Just 5 months!
Alma: A year and a half!
How did you arrive at your current position?
Sarah: I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave and struggled to find part time work in finance so took an admin job at a local business centre. Greenacre had their first office there, back then it was just the two directors (Dan and Joe). As Greenacre grew, I supported them with payroll and later joined permanently. At the start of 2019 I was promoted to FD.
Lisa: After working in a completely different industry all my working life, the unsociable hours and being on call 7 days a week took its toll. My son turned 2 and I felt guilty I wasn’t able to give him the attention he deserved. A family member worked in Recruitment and I discovered Greenacre were looking for somebody to join their support team – the rest is history!
Rebecca: I spent 11 years within the legal profession and went back briefly after having my first child, but having two small children, a work life balance was not possible for me in litigation. The opportunity presented through a senior colleague and I began in Compliance, assisting with IR35 and expanding into HR. I became a member of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals, and with the flexibility and support from Greenacre I am now an Associate Member of the CIPD.
Laura: I really wanted to get back into PA work after working in HR for 5 years. I asked Dan if he knew of anyone who maybe looking for a PA and after a few coffee meetings, I was offered a job at Greenacre!
Alma: I was a Project Coordinator, overseeing business & national healthcare awards, which heightened my passion for public service recognition, and developed my writing skills. I needed more flexibility due to my son’s additional needs, and after completing a business, marketing & HR degree whilst working, I changed direction as PA to the Director in recruitment, working my way up to Head of Comms within a year. A friend who worked for Greenacre felt my values fitted well with Greenacre’s and introduced me. I never looked back!
What do you find most beneficial about flexible working?
Sarah: It enables me to do the school run for my daughter, never miss a school assembly or play, and allows me to have a career but still be mummy.
Lisa: I can spend quality time with my family whilst still be able be part of a team in the working environment I enjoy.
Rebecca: Without it I simply couldn’t work. The flexibility allows me to drop off/collect my children from school and be there for events or during the school holidays. By providing a laptop I’m able to fit work around family life which has given me the balance of utilising my knowledge while been there for my family.
Laura: As I have 2 young children and a husband that works long hours, the flexibility allows me to work around family. I love being able to work from home and get to work in the office too. It’s a great balance!
Alma: All of the above, apart from the husband! I also find I am more productive when I am able to work at times I feel most creative and focused.
Any advice you could give to other women looking to work in social housing?
Sarah: Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Show them what you are passionate about and why. Focus on your positive points and believe in yourself.
Lisa: Don’t be afraid to showcase your softer skills as well as technical and professional…be confident in your abilities and what you bring to the table.
Rebecca: If you want to diversify, don’t wait for someone to give you a hand, take the initiative and seek opportunities to take you further, don’t be afraid to find a mentor or coach to help gain a wider perspective. Don’t be afraid to change direction.
Laura: If you don’t have the experience for the role you’re going for, showcase the skills you have already and then show how determined you are to learn the rest and develop yourself within the role. If you show you’re keen this can be a great selling point!
Alma: Definitely join local networking groups, such as WISH regional groups. I’ve found this invaluable in gaining support and friends who understand the profession and have dealt with similar workplace and family related issues. It’s a really exciting time to join the industry and make a difference to the sector and to the workplace dynamics!