Thanks to the support and flexibility offered at SThree, employees don’t need to choose between their career and having a family. We spoke with Kimberley Roe, a Principal Consultant in London who’s worked at Huxley, part of the SThree Group, for 10 years to find out more about her experience of maternity leave and returning to work.
“Everyone at SThree was incredibly supportive”
Even before going on maternity leave, Kimberley felt supported by her team – something that helped make the whole process easier. When going on maternity leave, she handed over her market to two members of the team who already worked closely with her. And because they were such a close-knit team (several of them would bring her tea and blankets whilst she was pregnant!), she knew the market would be well looked after.
Kimberley returned to the same role, but focusing on a new market - and with this came nerves. As Kimberley explains, “I was nervous about coming back generally and nervous about coming back to work on a market that I hadn’t worked before. I was also coming back on three days a week so I was worried about trying to get the job done in that amount of time.”
Working together for a smooth return
Although these nerves were natural, something that Kimberley is keen to point out to anybody due to take maternity leave, they proved to be completely unnecessary.
“Sachin, my boss, did tonnes of prep work on the market that I was going to be doing. I’d use my Keeping in Touch (KIT) days to pop in every now and then whilst on maternity leave to keep updated, and I remember that one day he handed me what I thought was War and Peace. It turned out to be all the prep work on the market – he’d printed off all this stuff so I could do some reading and come back with a better understanding of the market.”
And it wasn’t just the prep work that made Kimberley feel comfortable. As she explains, “Sachin and Sanj (the Managing Director) were very honest and open. They said it was up to me when I wanted to come back, how I came back, what working pattern I wanted to do. At no point did they make me feel like I wasn’t coming back as a proper consultant.”
Achieving that work/life balance
When Kimberley returned, she was working three days a week which, when she felt comfortable to do so, increased to four. This meant having to be really disciplined about how she managed her time.In short, Kimberley’s priorities changed.
Since becoming a mum, she knows she has to leave at a certain time because of childcare. So how does she achieve a work/life balance? Well, she says, “I’m a lists person. Every morning, I come in and start the day with a to-do list. It was definitely a learning curve. You have to be so much more aware of distractions. I thought I was good at time management before; it turns out I wasn’t. But now it’s probably my best skill.”
What drives Kimberley to do so well is the fact she’s essentially running her own mini-business. If she doesn’t put the work in, her profits will suffer. Because of this, she’s become a lot more efficient which means she can provide clients with a better, more consultative service.
Kimberley also believes that being part of our Female Leadership Programme, IdentiFy, will really help her career moving forward. “I was so honoured to be selected to be part of it, because I know the calibre of people that work for this business. I was thrilled to be selected as one of the top 30. I think it will give me opportunities that I’d never normally get day-to-day, helping me develop into a leader and grow my career.”
Advice for returning parents
One of the key things Kimberley wanted to share was that it’s natural to be nervous and apprehensive, but there’s no need to be as long as you’re honest about what you want. She says, “If you don’t feel full-time’s immediately right for you, that’s fine – as long as you’re honest. Enjoy your maternity, enjoy your time with your child. And then, closer to when you’re looking to return, be in touch with your maternity buddy and your manager and tell them what you want. They’ll try to make it work.”
“If I could sum up my maternity leave in one word, it would be flexible. It was much more positive than I thought it would be. If you can, use the maternity buddy system. And just enjoy the whole experience.”
If you’d like to join a company that supports you and understands the importance of flexibility, view our most recent opportunities in the United Kingdom.