Prior to Kelly joining Redington, I had some misgivings about a “Returner” joining the Investment Consulting team, despite being very supportive of the “return to work” program and having been involved in the Returner recruitment process.
The Investment Consulting team is client-facing, requires specific technical knowledge across a wide range of finance topics, and has a very lumpy workload in line with the quarterly meeting cycle.
To me, this presented a challenge.
Namely finding enough interesting and useful things for our Returner to do, given that Kelly had outstanding experience in a senior finance role, but not a traditional consulting background.
Whilst we take on groups of people new to investment consulting through our annual internship intake, they are largely inexperienced and therefore start in junior roles.
The challenge I initially feared for Kelly was finding work that properly utilised her experience whilst also helping to gain the knowledge needed to function as a senior Investment Consultant.
That being said, many of Redington’s most senior employees came from non-consulting backgrounds, so there is a lot of experience in getting talented senior people “up the curve”, and also awareness of the advantages that people with other work backgrounds can bring.
In practice, I think we found a good balance of work; a mixture of a team-specific project, preparation of pitch documents, and attending client meetings.
Kelly undertook a project with the aim of producing recommendations to improve work/life balance in the Investment Consulting team; an issue we are actively seeking to address. Kelly brought a fresh pair of eyes and a lack of preconceptions to the process. The team felt able to be candid with Kelly, as someone who is not a line manager but still brought experience to the discussion.
Kelly also worked on pitch documents – we know from experience that trying to communicate what Redington can offer to a potential client is a good, albeit intense, way for a new joiner to learn what the firm is about.
We are also lucky as a firm that our clients were very supportive of the “return to work” program. A number of them welcomed Kelly to their Investment Committee meetings so she could get a feel for who our clients are, how we work with them, and how decisions are really made.
I hoped the return to work program would bring us further cognitive diversity; senior professionals that bring a different perspective to a firm (and industry) that has historically been light on senior women, and to help challenge the innate assumptions that this brings. Another hope was for the program to act as a two-way extended 10-week job interview; did the Returners want to work with us and/or our industry, and did we want to work with them?
This was Redington’s first experience of employing Returners, so to some extent, we were all “feeling our way”. However, from my perspective, this has been a successful exercise which has introduced the firm to a group of incredibly committed and talented individuals who have brought a great deal of value to our firm in the short time they have been here.