Hot on the heels of being named, for the third time, as one of UK’s best small businesses to work for, we’re honoured to be ranked as one of the UK’s ten Best Small Workplaces for Women.
When my co-Directors and I (three female, one male) founded Futureheads we strove to create a business that would provide the best opportunities for people, regardless of their gender. Perhaps this makes us a bit ‘gender-blind’– we’ve hired the best people for our organisation, rather than fulfilling specific quotas, and that fairness has naturally led to a well-balanced workforce with both male and female representation at all levels.
Building a workplace that empowers and supports women – and men – successfully is a complex but hugely rewarding task. We’ve achieved this by taking the time and care to ensure that business culture, along with pay, policies and practices, have gender equality at their heart.
A culture that cares
As female leaders we listen, nurture, care and empower. This has created a collaborative and supportive approach – perhaps key to enabling women to thrive as much as men, especially within a sales environment which can all too often be the domain of the ‘alpha-male’. It’s relatively easy to state your aim in this regard, but achieving the right outcome in practice, and ensuring that the desired practice flows through the company at all levels, is harder. Here are a few ways we achieve this:
- We only hire people who fit our values, so we are sure that every member of the Futureheads team is fully brought in our approach to fairness and diversity.
- Our senior management team is equally balanced, with 5 men and 5 women who are all committed to maintaining a level playing field for all.
- Our Founders established a management pledge, all managers in the business are required to: “Offer equality and fairness”; “play to your strengths” and “listen without judgement”.
- We have several career progression options for our staff which means they can work to their individual strengths; it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Weekly and monthly 121 meetings give staff a dedicated time and place to talk, be listened to, and to seek input or advice.
- Management practices, progression opportunities and measurement criteria, as well as pay bandings, are transparent, documented and consistent across the business – there are no opportunities for different practices for different genders!
Practice what you preach
Each of our three female Founders are working Mums with young children, so we know the importance of supporting members of our team who have young families or caring responsibilities and develop our policies and practices from an empathetic standpoint. We offer an enhanced maternity benefit (and, importantly, an enhanced paternity benefit too!), are great advocates of Shared Parental Leave, and are flexible around working time for family duties as well as other life events. Our other benefits offer general health support for all staff, including stress management training, re-set days, a health plan and childcare vouchers. These benefits reflect the DNA of our business – to nurture and support – as a res,ult we hope all staff, especially women, can feel confident that we ‘have their back’ and that they can thrive in our business.
Be a champion
We are passionate about championing the role of women in leadership in, as well as women in male-dominated industries such as technology.
- We aim for parity of male and female speakers and attendees for our programme of events (including Leaders in Change and UCD conference).
- We support organisations including GeekGirl and Ogunte.
- We have signed up to the Tech Talent Charter
- The Founders are often invited to speak at events about women in leadership, such as Webvision’s London event.
- We engage with clients on the topic of diversity, working to ensure their diversity recruitment practices are meaningful and not just a quota-fulfilling exercise.
Ben Gautrey, Great Place to Work® COO commented:
“We are delighted to recognise so many great organisations in this our first ranking of the best workplaces for women. The issues around women in the workplace, particularly parity of pay, continue to be hot topics and we are proud that, with this ranking and the insights from our successful organisations, we are able to add to the agenda and continue to raise awareness of the importance of fairness around pay, recognition, training and development opportunities and work/life balance. What our Best Workplaces™ for Women clearly show is that this is the right way to do business. The result is they are better able to attract and retain female talent who are encouraged to develop professionally and personally.”
If you’re interested in being a part of an organisation that has been named one of the UK’s and Europe’s Great Places to Work, has been listed for the last four years running as one of the London Stock’s Exchange’s 1000 companies to Inspire Britain – and has employee happiness high on the agenda, we’d love to speak to you. Head on over to our careers page to find out more about joining the Futureheads family.
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