I’ll admit, when I was first approached about the concept of taking on a “returner”, I can remember harbouring doubts.
I was concerned about the practicalities of taking on experienced hires (albeit often experienced in different fields) into an intense, technical and hectic environment on a temporary basis.
Would they be able to contribute? What if they weren’t able to work the same hours as everyone else? Would they learn quickly enough?
For me there was a specific challenge – the ability of the “returners” to participate evenly in team workload and initiatives given that I was looking at two part-time propositions. We had two returners join the Manager Research Team.
Both had quite different profiles.
Marjorie Lyons had extensive experience in asset management, specifically in fixed income, but no practical experience of researching asset managers “from the other side”. How would she deal with the “poacher turned gamekeeper” mentality?
Bridget Fuller on the other hand, had significant asset management and manager research experience earned at JPMorgan and Mercer respectively.
Her challenge was different – having been out of the market since 2003, it would surely take time for her comfort levels to return, and for her to find her place in a financial services industry which has seen dramatic wholesale change.
Over the past 8 weeks, it’s been interesting to see how these challenges have been faced, and, I’m happy to say, generally conquered.
So what happened?
Take the time schedule challenge first.
We worked with the returners to create customised work schedules that accommodated two things;
1. their own personal and family commitments, and
2. allowing them to participate in the majority of the most important team meetings
In Marjorie’s case, we spread out 3 days of work across 4 days. This allowed her to come in after taking her kids to school, and still be able to collect them from school. This also meant that, as a manager, I got to see her every day of the week except Friday.
We quickly found it was feasible to fit the vast majority of manager meetings into this schedule without significant compromise.
In fact, interestingly, I think it served as a catalyst to not force too many meetings into a given day, and to leave some room for headspace and writing up meetings at the end of the day.
Despite Bridget’s extensive time away from the market, I think she probably surprised herself at how quickly she found herself back in command of the space. She’s given us huge amounts of valuable insight into our own process, providing challenge and experienced insight.
She has also acted as a mentor type of presence for some of our more junior researchers.
On Marjorie’s side, her detailed experience in structured finance, obtained working at a large credit hedge fund in the boom years and through the credit crunch, brought instant insight into a highly topical and notoriously complex area. This has helped the broader team gain comfort in their research in an area which is throwing up increasing numbers of opportunities for our clients.
I have enjoyed working with Marjorie and Bridget, and am grateful for their challenge, insights and experience. I certainly feel they’ve had positive experiences and a positive impact on Redington’s Manager Research Team.