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#HerHaysStory

We know that our greatest asset is our people and that’s why the careers of our employees are our number one priority. Every one of their personal successes is a success for our whole business and we want to celebrate these. Whilst we are seeing improvements in gender diversity across all industries and professions, everyone has a part to play to continue this journey and at Hays we are firm believers that an equal balance produces better results. In support of International Women’s Day 2019 #HerHaysStory looks at the unique journey of one of our inspiring female employees and how they have both progressed their career into a leadership role and learned to #BalanceForBetter.International Women's Day Logo

Rebecca Dance

Rebecca Dance

Director


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3 tips for working mothers who are working towards leadership roles

On graduating from university in 2004, I was drawn to working for Hays by the reputability of the brand, the size and reach of the organisation and the friendliness and approachability of the people. As the years have gone on and the importance of diversity and inclusion has been tabled higher and higher on the agenda, we have reached the point where the office dynamic and workplace culture here has never been more supportive of women with ambition.


I was helped in an immeasurable way on my career journey by some very supportive female line managers, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today. As a new mum returning to work after having a baby, I was anxious about the effect that the break might have on my career, but Hays was enormously supportive and in fact I was promoted whilst on maternity leave, which has to rank amongst one of my greatest career achievements.


As both a director and a working mother, I am very conscious of the importance of empowering women in Hays, and more specifically into leadership roles. I firmly believe that a 50/50 gender split around the table shouldn’t just be a numbers game or about ticking boxes – an equal balance produces better team results.


Here are a number of tips for women, and more specifically, working mothers who aspire to leadership roles:

1. Ask for flexibility

Coming back to work after maternity leave can be a scary thing, and I have to say that I only truly understood the guilt and stress that working mums must feel once I was in that position myself. I always make a conscious effort to make women going through a similar experience aware that they are an integral part of the team and offer them as much flexibility as possible. In fact, I have often found that being a working parent tends to diversify your skills portfolio – it helps you to be more organised, efficient and better at working to deadlines, simply because there is no alternative to getting it done.

2. ‘Buddy up’

I think it’s very important that as colleagues we try to support each other, and so when members of my team come back from maternity leave I try to put them in touch with others who have been in a similar position. It means they have someone to talk to if they are feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope, which can be invaluable in those first few weeks. I was very lucky when I first returned to work, as another Director had come back only 10 months before, so I was able to ask her for advice on how to balance the responsibility with the added pressures of my new position. She was incredibly supportive and it really boosted my confidence.

3. Get career development on the agenda from day one

It should never be too early to put a career plan in place, and talking to your manager about what you want to achieve early on helps to have your goals recognised and puts everyone on the same page. At Hays we’re very lucky that there are so many women in senior leadership positions working to inspire others, and they are testament to the fact that choosing to have a family shouldn’t lessen your ambition. There’s no need to lose sight of what you really want to do – you might just need to find a slightly different way of doing it.


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