In recent months, high profile issues such as the Gender Pay Gap, #timesup and #metoo, movements have highlighted the importance of women as pioneers in business.
Employers are recognising the valuable contribution women input into their businesses and in doing so, are starting to adapt to their needs. Haines Watts South East Midlands are one such forward thinking employer and by no means have been behind the curve.
They’ve been strong backers of ‘girl power’ for years, welcoming Alexandra Garner to the board in 2016. We spoke with three such inspirational women, from different service lines and at different stages of their career in the firm.
Jennie Brown, Head of Private Client, “Good people are key to a successful business and on my journey so far, which includes over 4 years to date at Haines Watts, having strong role models to keep me motivated has always been something I’ve looked for in a place of work.
I consider myself to be very observant of people within a business, how they choose to lead, how the team react to them, do they win the ‘hearts and minds’ of colleagues and create a culture of collaboration and innovation, or do they simply instil fear as a means of achieving their goal.
The latter, as you’d expect, creates a very different culture. I’m pleased to say however, that with a strong female such as Alex as both our Head of HR and a key board member, we’re well placed as a business to maximise the full potential of our majority female team members.”
Moving onto 19 year old Karina Viscusi, who’s a key member of the Business Support team. “For the past 2 and a half years, I’ve been working at Haines Watts as a Business Support Assistant through an apprenticeship, during which time, I’ve gained a couple of Business Administration qualifications.
The firm’s collectively committed to all employees and this is demonstrated in part through the opportunity to work within flexible working hours and the support we receive to develop our careers further through Personal Development Plans. It’s comforting to know that being female won’t hinder my progression in the more male dominated sectors here, as we all have an equal chance on a level playing field.
A highlight of working at Haines Watts for me is the camaraderie of the business, whether that’s through a team-oriented project or social get together with the other offices in the region.”
Last but by no means least, we spoke with Doncia Athill, Haines Watts Payroll Senior, with 18 years’ experience in her field. “Finding the right work/life balance as a mother’s a huge challenge both myself and other women face in business. I've learnt you can't have and do everything all at the same time. (A saying Oprah Winfrey herself lives by).
Although attitudes are changing, it can still feel as though the expectations are that the burden of balancing childcare and work falls to women more so than men - Sacrificing career progression for home life, can feel like the only option for some mums. However, with the introduction of Government and employer initiatives such as, ‘flexible working’ and ‘free childcare’ there’s an overwhelming feeling that things are changing for the better.
Progressive employers such as Haines Watts are also adopting the latest technology to increase employee’s flexibility. Telecommuting, working from home utilising remote access, all allows for greater flexibility in when and where work’s undertaken. In the 2 years I’ve worked in the business, I’m pleased to say I’ve benefited hugely from these practices.”