You only need to look around tech companies to see very few females who are not one of the founders promoted into leadership roles.
Sharing Experience: Naomi Worden, SimpleClick
Happily, things are changing, and I am fortunate to work for a technical development agency with the vision to support women who happen to be mothers. I started at SimpleClick because my previous employer could not offer a flexible working arrangement after I had my first child. Richard and Claire, the directors at the time, were happy to take me on and show me total support, especially when I had my second child. And then, with two children, I was promoted to the board when Claire decided to move on to pastures new.
Changing the business mindset
Some women feel like they no longer have a career once they become a mother. It’s completely unfair of course, but business leaders need to be the ones to instigate change.
Women need to know that if they can find the right business to support them, it is possible to still have a family, a work-life balance and progress in their career. I’m not just talking about those who aspire to become a leader. Everyone should feel they have the chance for career progression, regardless of gender or whether they are parents.
Directors need a two-pronged approach. It’s about how they treat the people they already have, and it’s also about the recruitment process. Before joining SimpleClick, when I was looking around for possible new positions, there were no part-time roles for somebody with my skill set. Speaking to recruiters, it is clear directors assume they need a full-time worker. But no, you can get someone who is part-time and super-efficient with their hours. They will give you 100% and complete all their work in that time.
You will also gain their loyalty, and loyal, happy employees make for an engaged and driven team.
It’s something that I’m proud to say SimpleClick continues to champion. We’re quite unusual for a tech business because our workforce has an exact gender balance. Furthermore, as a working mum of Jake, 11 and Oscar, nine, I benefit from hybrid working over a four-day week, three in the office and one at home. In fact, the company is looking to trial a nine-day fortnight for all staff, to address a work-life balance for everyone.
Richard, the Managing Director, has got the approach spot on. I am now Project Director leading many accounts, including our work with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. SimpleClick has never made me feel guilty for having commitments outside of work. But at the same time, I have always given 100% because it works both ways.
I have no doubt that once more business leaders realise how much women, particularly working mothers, have to offer and that they can give 100% during a shorter working week, the business’s performance levels will increase.