While the PR industry overall is predominantly female, women are “persistently under represented at senior management levels” (PRCA ‘Diversity and Inclusion Guidelines’). It goes without saying then that I am staunchly proud to sit on a senior leadership team at AXON that is made up of 75% women.
I am even more delighted to share that today AXON has once again been named as one of the UK’s ‘Best Workplaces for Women in 2019’ (Medium Category). This is the second consecutive year that AXON has been included in the Great Places to Work rankings, which is based on employees’ responses to an anonymous survey, as well as a culture audit. According to Great Places to Work, it was AXON’s warmth and focus on flexible working, in particular in supporting mothers, that was a standout factor in our recognition. Although a large amount of our employees are women, we aim to create a structure and culture that helps all employees bring their best self to work.
Under current UK law, those with at least 26 weeks’ service have the right to request flexible working. However, not all workplaces embrace flexible working and consequently the opportunity is not always seized upon (or approved) by senior management!
At AXON, we have well-established flexible working practices that are open to all levels and roles. Flexible working can include variance to working hours (we have a flexible start/end time around our core working hours) as well as location (for example giving the ability to work from home as a regular working pattern, or on an ad-hoc basis when needed). This gives our employees the opportunity to plan and prioritize their days based on their individual needs; whether that be to balance commitments around childcare or caring for others, or prioritizing exercise before or after work for better physical and mental health.
For me, flexibility means that I can work my day around my energy levels (I’m definitely more of a morning person), my wellbeing (squeezing in a workout before work means I’m ready to attack the day with gusto and my resilience is higher) and my commute (living outside of London, I appreciate being able to take advantage of the earlier trains to avoid sweaty packed trains!). In her own blog post earlier in the year, Liz Mozel-Jury, a Director in the AXON London office, shared very openly about her personal experiences and her passion for investing in employee wellbeing. While AXON has always had a focus on employee wellbeing, last year we pulled this into a more formal and structured Wellbeing Program, trained up Mental Health First Aid champions and committed towards the Time to Change Pledge. Within the coming year, we plan to continue this focus, through diversity initiatives such as a peer-to-peer ‘Carer’s Forum’ network. We hope that this will go towards supporting all employees, but given a large amount of our employees are women (who tend to be the primary carers of children and elderly parents), we hope to continue building a workplace in which women in particular can thrive.
I’ve been the HR Director at AXON (and our sister agency Madano) for just over a year and a half now, and it was the genuine focus on people as individuals that really jumped out to me when I first joined (and continues to impress me on a daily basis). While a lot of agencies say they have a ‘family feel’, that doesn’t always resonate in the day-to-day running of the business, or at all levels in the organization. I couldn’t feel more proud to call this home and to sit on a senior leadership team alongside some of the industry’s most passionate, caring and inspiring leaders.
By Antonia Katsambis