Today, we give credit to another ‘Flexible Working Champion’, an organisation that is embracing flexibility by making a work-life balance more than just a pipe dream for its staff, we are banging the drum on behalf of NHS community health provider and social enterprise, Bromley Healthcare.
This client of ours employs approximately 1099 staff (including permanent, fixed term, volunteers & bank)staff in the London Borough of Bromley and beyond, and represents a thoroughly modern and progressive corner of the NHS. Not only is it owned by it’s employees – each employee owns one share if they opt to – but as a social enterprise all the profits are reinvested back into the high quality NHS services it provides. These services include district nursing, health visitors, physiotherapists, contraception clinics, and more.
We wanted to increase the diversity of experience within the team and the opportunity to work part-time and flexibly has bought people like this to us on a budget we could afford.
In the quest to modernise, and bring new innovative ways of working to the organisation the organisation’s CEO, Jonathan Lewis, was keen to attract high quality individuals from diverse sectors into key roles. Offering flexible working options has proved to be the key to achieving this.
Talent on an affordable budget
“As a growing organisation we need talented people with experience outside of the NHS who can help us to think differently, modernise and keep our competitive edge,” Jonathan says. “We wanted to increase the diversity of experience within the team and the opportunity to work part-time and flexibly has bought people like this to us on a budget we could afford. We are getting far more out of these experienced individuals than we would if we had employed more junior people full-time.”
Over the last year Talent Gateway has placed four senior non-clinical members of staff on Bromley Healthcare’s management team – all of whom came from non-healthcare sectors and are working part-time or flexibly in various ways.
“Truth be told, I work far harder and smarter now than I did when I worked full-time,” says Emma Smith, who works three days a week as Bromley’s head of communications. “I have to be very focussed to get everything done, I don’t waste time or put things off because when the work day ends on a Thursday I know I’m not back at work until the following Tuesday.”
As single mum with a three-year-old daughter it was important to Emma, who previously managed communications in the charity sector, to be able to work part-time, but like others in her position she found that senior positions offered on a part-time basis was few and far between.
“I didn’t see why I should have to accept a more junior role or be forced to work full-time,” continues Emma. “Then I met Nici and this job offered exactly what I wanted – a challenging role in line with my level of experience, that would advance my career while also giving me the flexibility to be there for my daughter when I need to be.”
Helen Mullinger, Bromley’s head of compliance also works part-time but with another flexible twist.
“I work 30 hours a week during term time and 24 hours a week during the school holidays,” says Helen who used to work for the National Audit Office. “This enables me to be with my children and to be more effective in my role because if I hadn’t had this flexibility I would have chosen to work less hours overall. This way the organisation gets the best of me, and so do my children.”
Recognising how to get the best from staff
This gets to the heart of why flexibility matters. Bromley Healthcare has recognised that to get the best out of its staff it needs to be supportive of and sensitive to what will help them be most effective.
“We get great value for money from our staff like Helen and Emma who work on a part-time, flexible basis – they brought us new ideas from different sectors, are motivated, focussed and they deliver,” says Jonathan. “Our staff are our biggest asset, and by making sure they feel valued and supported by enabling them to have a work-life balance we all stand to win.”
Is your organisation interested in following this example and getting flexible? Talent Gateway works with businesses to provide flexible recruitment and business support services. Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help your business grow, or if you know an organisation you think deserves to be a ‘Flexible Working Champion’.