Before joining the startup world, I was very much in the corporate sphere – and initially, in a finance role. After a particularly bad experience at an old job centering around my sexuality and identity, I decided something needed to change, and a role in HR was the first step towards this. As someone that is passionate about equality and inclusivity; the world of people and culture was my natural calling, and now I’m the number one advocate of an inclusive workplace.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE
Being somewhere like Huckletree; immersed in a community of individuals from such a range of backgrounds with different outlooks allows you to consider ‘identity’ in a very abstract way. Huckletree has enabled me to understand the importance of collaboration and Diversity of Thought. Whether we’re introducing VCs in our network to renegade founders, or offering in-house Marketing support to our early-stage startup members, we’re continually looking to ensure we’re inclusive whilst forging meaningful connections in our community.
Unlike my previous organization where departmental roles were set in stone, at Huckletree, I’m able to work closely with different teams to create an environment that is right for everyone.
Our culture promotes open communication without the worry of saying or doing the ‘wrong’ thing, and whether I’m suggesting a new policy, process, or way of working, I’m always confident that my voice will be heard.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Data from the NHS information survey showed that 1 in 4 people in the UK experience mental health problems each year, and 1 in 7 LGBTQ+ people avoid seeking mental healthcare for fear of discrimination from work colleagues. It’s incredibly important to me that we create a safe environment where our team’s mental health needs are recognised and supported.
We champion this with our initiative, “Me Days”. If you get in touch with your line manager and let them know that you need some headspace in the form of a “Me Day”, it’s yours – no explanation is required. You’re able to take some time off to focus on your psychological wellbeing without fear of stigma.
Another way that we support our team members is our Buddy System. We pair each new recruit with a ‘Buddy’ to ensure they feel personally supported from the moment they step into Huckletree. Your Buddy is drawn from an entirely different department, to build cross-business connections and help you settle in. We’ve seen our Buddies become much-needed advisors, confidants and coffee/cocktail partners during the induction process – and friends beyond that.
Parental support: one of the most important aspects of creating an inclusive workplace. This quarter, we’re proud to have reinvigorated our HR parental leave policy. We understand how important it is for our team members and their young families to bond during the early months and years. Our Founder Gaby and I decided to take an individual approach to our parental leave policy, which our team members love.
We offer the primary caregiver for biological and adopted children the option to take 12 weeks on full pay, plus the right to work a four-day week on full pay until your child’s first birthday (subject to the government qualifying weeks). Gaby says it best:
“As a soon to be mother of two, I understand the importance of offering an inclusive parental care policy that empowers our team members through the wonderful years which are the early stages of parenthood.
Our parental care policy is valued by our team members and has allowed us to do as much as we can for them during this important phase in their lives, whilst also enabling us to attract outstanding talent”.
It’s no secret that we place a strong focus on a holistic approach to professional life. We’re not just about yoga classes and mindfulness workshops. It’s crucial to us that our team exist in an environment that stimulates and caters to their personal needs as well as their professional goals. With Occupational Burnout named as an official medical diagnosis, wellbeing is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.
There are numerous ways in which we’ve championed physical wellbeing for our team. In Huckletree D2, our GM Ais has introduced the fortnightly Startup Sea Swim as a way to encourage our D2 crew (members, too!) to truly live in the moment. A passionate wild swimming advocate, she says:
“The benefits of sea swimming for mental health are well documented; it is a blissful break from the constant stimuli of everyday life and you are forced to be 100% present.”
We also host a range of regular fitness sessions throughout our spaces that our teams can drop in on during the day. We know that our community teams can’t create the incredible Huckletree experience if they’re not on top form too. At Huckletree Shoreditch, we’ve partnered with BoxMind to offer a drop-in mind-body workout that combines HIIT boxing and mindfulness.
“It’s the best start to the day. [After a 45-minute session] I feel invigorated with a mental clarity that sets me up for a busy week ahead. I’m also running around the space a lot so it helps to limber up!”
Want to bring your whole self to work? Believe in the importance of working together to build an inclusive workplace? I’m constantly on the lookout for passionate people to join our awesome team. If you’re an enthusiastic individual with a penchant for wellbeing, tech, and innovation – Huckletree could be the place for you. Check out our current vacancies here.