Working Families award winners: iCrossing

iCrossing scooped two accolades at the 2015 Working Families' Top Employers for Working Families Special Awards – Best for Motherhood and Best for Line Managers. Read more about its winning entries below.

It’s something of a myth that digital tech is still a young industry, populated by people who can work all hours of the day or change plans at the drop of a hat, says Rosie Shimell, HR manager at digital marketing agency iCrossing.

This is why the organisation realised the importance of flexible working around three years ago. “The biggest problem we have is finding experienced hires; so not people just out of university but those who have 10 years-plus experience,” says Shimell, adding: “We realised we needed something that would appeal to people across the age demographics.”

iCrossing was also conscious of the “skewed gender” demographic of digital tech, and so wanted to ensure strong support for working mums.

The company launched a number of flexible working initiatives. Together Time, for example, allows staff to take two hours out of their day for caring duties. All mums are offered a meeting with HR where their individual needs can be discussed. And technologies such as Agile and HipChat are employed so that employees who need to work from home for better concentration can still collaborate with others.

It’s crucial flexible working is supported by strong line manager training, says Shimell. “Working Families delivers two workshops on that. It demonstrates the business benefit to line managers. It shows them it will allow their teams to perform better,” she adds, explaining that this helps create a culture where working from home isn’t seen as lazy. iCrossing is also launching ebooks on flexible working.

“My ideal is to be in a situation where we have no formal requests for flexible working because it’s become so culturally embedded that people don’t feel they have to get it signed off,” says Shimell, adding: “Our stance is all about trust and the reciprocal arrangement.

Further supporting new mums is iCrossing’s iFamily mentoring scheme, which matches its new mothers with seasoned parents. This scheme is also offered to dads, and at least half of the mentors are fathers.

It’s important dads are given equal support, explains Shimell: “We believe that if you want to make the female issue more positive then it’s also a male issue, because we can only help mums in the workplace if we help dads too.”

She adds: “Our chief technology officer is our poster boy for working dads because he spends two or three days a week at home. He says that helps him cook his kids dinner; those kinds of things are really important to people.”

Further reading

Best for Innovation award