A little under a week ago, my brilliant ‘second-in-command’ colleague set off on the next big bold adventure of her life. It prompted me to make some bold decisions too that would mean our paths would meet again.
Kate, who has been by my side now for around four years (and very highly thought of within our business), has gone off on maternity leave until 2018…when I write that in actual numeric facts – it makes me shudder. I am assured by most parents who have had maternity or paternity leave that the time they are out of their business role and learning to handle their new life is fast. I wish Kate a wonderful time meeting her new little one, but I look forward to welcoming her back too…
So, faced with the prospect of future-proofing my team, our future and indeed her future, I promoted Kate to Compliance Manager two days before she embarked upon her maternity leave. I wanted to assure her that she was valued, respected and needed back here when she was ready to return.
I read a lot of blogs – it’s hard not to in this forever easy-to-access digital work of ours. I also keep as up-to-date as I can with legislation relating to employment law, and I am stunned to still read about parents (let’s be honest mostly mothers) still facing a hard time in the workplace upon return from maternity.
New Directions has been on quite the journey in accommodating flexible working, phased returns, return-to-work days and even an IVF policy. We have stumbled at times, but we were awarded IiP Gold Status last year and I think that is linked to how well we look after our staff.
So…back to Kate. I took the decision to invest in talent, to be bold and to give a promotion to someone who was about to take time out of the business. For the next nine months or so she will be a mother first (and forever), but she is also our new Compliance Manager. I figure there probably is no harder gig than parenting…so the new role will be a welcome change in structure for her come 2018. As Head of Compliance and Quality for our business I have a responsibility to deliver a service second-to-none. Kate is the person to assist me in this.
For the foreseeable I have a great team around me…no less an award-winning team and we will work to plug the gaps left by Kate. However, I look forward to a return from an ambitious Compliance Manager and Mother. Until our professional paths meet again, our entire team wish her the best of luck on her journey.