Kirsty Baggs-Morgan is a HR leader who has spent 20+ years in international HR leadership and consultancy. She is also an accredited (AoEC) executive coach and works with other women in HR to help them build their confidence and achieve their career goals.
In fact, Kirsty’s coaching business grew so much during the past year that she left her full-time role and wanted to explore part-time HR opportunities so she could juggle both.
Kirsty is the definition of a flexpert – a breadth of experience, hits the ground running and has the ability to work autonomously to deliver maximum value for her employer. She recently took an exciting opportunity at Alpima to work 3 days a week, which will work perfectly alongside her coaching.
We caught up with Kirsty to hear her thoughts on working flexibly and the recruitment process – from both an employer and candidate perspective.
What does the term “flexible working” or flexibility mean to you?
Being able to fit your professional work life around your personal life, as opposed to the other way around.
Flexibility to me means treating employees like adults and allowing them to work to outcomes-based deliverables without necessarily clocking in at 9 and out at 5. It’s the output, not the input that’s important and which should be measured.
Why did you make the decision to leave a full-time role?
I worked most of my career in HR in financial services and then took a job at a tech start-up in 2020.
My coaching grew rapidly during lockdown and I wanted to capitalise on that exciting opportunity because it’s something I’m so passionate about. However, with my previous employer there wasn’t the option to work flexibly or part-time because there was so much going on.
People now want more options for work-life balance than ever before and even if they want to work 5 days a week, they want to do that because it’s the right arrangement for them and not just because that’s how things have always been.
If you were to wave a magic wand right now, what would you fix about the recruitment process?
As a candidate – the market has become challenging – everyone is using ATS platforms and this means you don’t necessarily need to give insightful feedback, because it’s so easy to just click ‘reject’.
Employers are overwhelmed with applications in the current market and this means they often resort to generic templated responses or no response at all, which can be very disappointing to candidates.
As a recruiter – I advertised for a role last year in my HR team and got 300 applications in 24 hours which was so overwhelming! It took me an entire weekend to review them all and I had only planned to select 10 to interview, but I went back to every single one with a response.
The sheer volume of applications means it was incredibly challenging to manage the process in a way that isn’t entirely impersonal.
Another observation is the fact that I was seeing the quantity but not the right level of candidate. That role was fairly junior and yet I was seeing Heads of HR apply, who had potentially been made redundant and applied anyway even if they were over-qualified. There were also a lot of applications from candidates who were decidedly not the right fit. CV-sifting is so time-consuming generally and with these volumes it’s pretty much impossible!
How does flexible working benefit both you and your employer?
It’s about the value exchange and paying for experience and productivity, not necessarily about ‘input’. Ultimately, it’s all about the output.
The younger generation now have grown up with more expectations around flexibility. When I first started working it was very hierarchical and I can remember being told not to leave the office for the day before the Head of HR, because it wouldn’t send the right message – it never made sense to me
Thankfully we have evolved and matured in our approach to working and this has actually been accelerated by the pandemic.
For me, being able to work flexibly means I can continue to coach women which I really enjoy and find incredibly rewarding. Having this variation means I’m overall more motivated and energised day to day.
Tell me about your experience at Juggle…
Brilliant. Very easy to use and I’ve used it as a customer and a candidate.
It hand-holds you as a candidate or a client in my experience and the regular comms and notifications are really valuable.
What I like the most is the ability to select interview times as an employer and as a professional so easily because that scheduling element is usually the most time consuming aspect of recruitment.
Tell me about your experience at Juggle…
- Be responsive. Show people you want them. Do not wait 2 weeks to get back to people – it’s soul destroying. Keep the process moving.
- Make sure you communicate clearly what the role will entail in the future vs right now. Often companies hire for ‘right now’ without thinking longer-term. You need to have foresight, especially in an organisation that is growing fast.
- Always be mindful of the candidate experience. You want people to go away with a positive view of your company, even if they aren’t successful in securing a role – building that employer brand is essential
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