I’m delighted to have recently joined FlexCareers as Chair of the Board of Advisors.
It was an easy decision for me! What FlexCareers is going to attempt to do – to change the way careers work – is SOO very overdue that I am pleased to be able to roll up my sleeves and help get it done!
As you might be aware, I’ve been a corporate girl most of my working life. I’ve worked in senior HR and business roles in BHP, Sara Lee, (Italian Eyewear giant) Luxottica and most recently CBA. I’ve lived and worked all over the world – from Australia to Europe to the USA to Asia and back to Australia.
During all that time I’ve been a most passionate and outspoken advocate for making businesses (and work) more human. I view “work” as a fundamental human right. The right to contribute to the community you live into the very best of your ability.
Of course, that’s a nice idea, but structurally there are always things that make that easier for some groups in society and harder for others.
When I walked away from Corporate in the middle of this year, I deliberately wanted to have a greater influence on the things I’d been agitating and arguing for many years from ‘inside corporate’. There’s a list of things I want to help change. One of the first things on that list is gender equity. We, women, make up 51% of the Australian population, but we certainly don’t get the same opportunities as the other 49%. This is particularly true when you talk about the big jobs.
There’s more written about “why” that is than I could ever summarise here, but I think a big part of it is the time and focus 73% of us put into families and children, and even more of us, put into caring for our parents and other family members. And I think whilst we’re doing that, we’re picking up a bunch of skills and ideas that would be great for businesses – collaboration, compassion, generosity, caring, and time management to name just a few. That is, of course, if businesses could accommodate our years of balancing parenting and caring, with ‘work’.
Most of the proposed ‘solutions’ to gender inequality focus on recruitment and evening up the playing field. That’s nice but I think there are even more solutions to be found in career management and talent management – Really making jobs (and work) look totally different. How do we flex businesses to welcome working mums (and increasingly working dads), and women (and increasingly men) with caring responsibilities, so that careers don’t stall and breakdown at that point where work is important, but not everything in our lives.
So, along came two guys – Joel McInnes and Marko Njavro – with a good idea. They had built and invested in an awesome piece of technology to create a community of people who want to work more flexibly and match them to progressive corporations who understand that flexible work is absolutely the way of the future. It may start with making work more feasible for working mums who want to retain their careers and development, but pretty soon, it will be the way of work for everyone. This crazy way we’re currently working – 24/7 – is simply not sustainable for anyone. We need to rethink work. Rethink flexibility. Rethink careers.
This technology that Joel and Marko had personally funded is very unique. I’ve seen lots of recruitment technology but this is something special. When you deal with people who want flexibility, there are a thousand possible models. That’s why they’re so hard to find when you’re an employer. Well, Marko and Joel’s technology has been purpose built and ‘matches’ all sorts of attributes from a person to a job. It matches skills and experiences, of course, and then it matches attributes, and then it matches the structure of the ‘flexibility’ you’re looking for. No one else in the market can do that.
Then, we started building on what else was needed. Specific programs for returning mums, or anyone who has time out from their careers. Specialised programs to help leaders lead flexible teams. Unique events to build the community into a tight-knit supportive group of like-minded people.
So, I joined FlexCareers. The company and, as a working mum of three, the community.
Why did I join FlexCareers – Because careers need to change!
We have a lot of work to make that happen, but let’s start with working mums. The single biggest, most highly capable and skilled group of potential contributors, who have for too long been left out in the cold, hoping to find a modicum of flexible work, let alone the opportunity to continue their careers.
If we can connect working mums to each other, for support and belief, and to the very best of employers – the ones who genuinely want to make work flexible and accessible to great people, particularly women – then maybe, just maybe, we can start changing the world.
And that’s why I joined FlexCareers – Because I seriously believe the world needs changing, and FlexCareers has an absolutely unique ability to play a role in making that happen.
Join our community today and be a part of the change for good.
Rhonda has spent her career on the people stuff, working with some of the biggest and best companies all around the world, but she has always thought – “we could do this better. We could make work (and leadership) better for all of us – more inclusive, more real, and more ‘human’.
She fundamentally believes that inclusion, good leadership and treating each other as equals, is not only foundational for good people practices in organisations but equally of more equitable and prosperous economies and communities. In short, if we include as many people as possible in work, then we start to build the sort of community and society we all want to live in.
Rhonda is also co-founder of mwah, a Community, a Toolkit, a Think Tank, and a Boutique Consultancy, all aimed at Making Work Absolutely Human. A knowledge base and a community of all the real stuff you need to lead and work with people, today and in the future.
FlexCareers has engineered game-changing technology to connect talented individuals with progressive employers offering flexible work. FlexCareers also offers a fully integrated suite of coaching, training and re-accreditation courses for skills enhancement, including our proprietary return to work Relaunchship Program.
FlexCareers host regular employer roundtable events to help move the needle on flexibility and gender diversity in the workplace, and are regular contributors to a variety of businesses and publications, supporting learning and best practice thinking in flexible working practices. If you need support to develop, embed or review your flexible working policies and programs, you can contact us here .
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