When Georgina Orde talks about what her role involves, you can’t help but be amazed by what she achieves by only working four days a week during school hours. She is an Associate in the Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) business, at Mercer. Her role consists of, amongst many other things, rolling out employee engagement programmes across MMB UK, as well as training and talent management initiatives. It is an extremely busy role.
The Role Model
8 years ago, when Georgina returned from maternity leave, she started working with Christina Dove. Christina has blazed a trail at Mercer by becoming a role model and encouraging men and women at Mercer to achieve their career goals whilst working part time or flexible hours.
After she returned, Georgina said she ‘felt part time’ and had decided that her career was on hold. ‘I had chosen part time and should accept it’, she says. However, it soon became very clear that it was her own perception and not that of her boss and colleagues. Georgina believes that Christina, was very ‘forward thinking’ and pushed her to think about what she wanted to achieve in her role.
A mindset shift
As is a common trait with people who work part time, Georgina found herself feeling obliged to say yes to all work that came her way and achieve it in the hours she worked. Unsurprisingly, this was a struggle and, with the help of her role model, Christina, she learnt to be empowered to communicate her remit more clearly so she could manage her hours and workload accordingly.
Georgina has gone from strength to strength in her career. She has had two promotions and continues to work on her career progression. However, Georgina does make it clear that it is not plain sailing; “It is hard. I’m not going to lie” she says, and there are times when she has to log on in the evenings; ‘but not often’ she adds.
With the help of a role model, Georgina has changed her mind-set from believing part time means no career, to looking at what is possible within the hours she works.
Mercer, as an employer, has also been supportive. Last year, she ‘had a wobble’ where she felt she was struggling with her workload. She thought she would have to increase her hours. Instead, Mercer looked at what support she needed for her continue to work during those hours.
Georgina is not alone at Mercer, she works with team members of all levels who are part time or work what they call ‘unusual hours’. One dad works from 9am – 3pm and then 5pm – 7pm, so he can work around the School run and childcare. In fact, most of the employees in Georgina’s team were brought in by Christina Dove who felt very strongly about diversity and inclusion. “She’s been inspirational” states Georgina.
Through working at Mercer and by having a role model, Georgina has learnt that hours are not a barrier. It is all about “how I perform in a role” that counts.