Haywards Heath People Consultancy, Cullen Scholefield, will celebrate 33 years in business this October. Accredited with the Gold Investors in People Award three times in 2010, 2013 and 2016, Cullen Scholefield is known for playing the long game; relationships with clients and suppliers last for decades and this extends to relationships with employees too. As a people-centred consultancy, commitment to employees and what’s best for them is critical to both the success of the company as well as the individual. Flexible working and the benefits it affords is a big part of the picture and a cornerstone of the culture for this forward-thinking employer. Cullen Scholefield is a firm believer that it’s something every employer should explore.
In the ‘CIPD Megatrends: Flexible Working’ report published earlier this year (https://bit.ly/2sI2F6b) which looked at recent trends in flexible working, the findings showed that while many people were already benefitting from flexible options, significant proportions were still not being given the opportunity. It seems that Cullen Scholefield is ahead of the game in this respect.
Cullen Scholefield comprises a tightly-knit team of 14 professionals – all of whom benefit from flexible working conditions. Perhaps Hayley Dilworth, Social Media Co-ordinator and Vivens Kalinganire, Consultant, are the most unusual.
Hayley’s main role is to create and promote content for the company’s social media sites. She also writes and distributes the monthly newsletter and with others works to ensure the database, the central hub of the company, is up to date and relevant.
Hayley first met Cullen Scholefield five years ago through the Haywards Heath and District Business Association with her husband, who was a member; she later joined when she started her Virtual Assistance business in 2015. At the time Cullen Scholefield Managing Director, Maureen Scholefield was Chair. Hayley attended various events and got to know Maureen well. Proof that networking works!
When Neil Tomlinson, Founder of Aquapax, a multi-awarding winning local company, mentioned to Maureen that he needed admin assistance from a home-worker she started to think about who she knew. Maureen talked to Hayley and found out that whilst she really wanted to return to work she did not wish to work from home. After a discussion Hayley now shares her time with Cullen Scholefield and Aquapax by working three days a week based in the offices of Cullen Scholefield and one day a week from home while she looks after her two year old child. Such is the degree of flexibility; Hayley also undertakes some of her Aquapax tasks at the offices of Cullen Scholefield and Neil can pop in to see her.
Of the arrangement, Hayley explains, “Flexible working means that I can get my work done outside of the normal 9 to 5 if I need to. Now that I have a child this is even more important to me. I’ve found however, that working alone can be lonely and it’s nice to have colleagues to bounce ideas off. Cullen Scholefield offered me the office space to scratch this itch, so I get the best of both worlds!” She goes on to say, “It offers me a flexible location and hours, most importantly variety! Both roles provide plenty of challenges and are often polar opposites. There is never a dull moment.”
As a Consultant for Cullen Scholefield, Vivens helps to strengthen its competitive edge by researching and providing the most relevant, topical and up to date learning materials for candidates.
Rwandan born Vivens first became aware of Cullen Scholefield while he was still living in Rwanda in 2013 and looking for a CIPD programme provider. He kept in touch with Maureen Scholefield, and eventually started his studies for his CIPD Level 7 Advanced qualification in 2015. His relationship with Maureen and the company developed throughout this period until he completed the programme. When Vivens came to the UK for his Master’s degree in 2018, Maureen was the only person he knew in the UK. When they met, it was with a sigh of relief for Vivens, as he had been stranded in London for two months knowing nobody, and a surprise for Maureen as she didn’t know he was even in the UK! As a condition of his Master’s degree, Vivens was allowed to work two days per week, and so a flexible position with Cullen Scholefield came to fruition.
For Vivens, this flexible approach offers a balance between his studies and work; it’s a perfect fit, which enables him to maintain his professional life while studying. “I experience a much better work/life balance with the added advantage that I’m never bored, which can happen with a full time job. I always feel energised on the days I work too, as I’ve been away from the office for the rest of the week.”
He goes on to say, “My sense of belonging to the team at Cullen Scholefield doesn’t depend on the number of hours I work but on the shared values, which connect us as members of the same family. At Cullen Scholefield, our family bond outlives the physical presence of the members. The way I experience the flexibility at Cullen Scholefield is not just an arrangement, but instead a virtue on which any lasting relationship is to be based, in that context; the future relationship with Cullen Scholefield can only be strong!”
Maureen Scholefield agrees, “I believe it is essential for a People Consultancy to practice what it preaches. Flexible approaches to work keep your people engaged and committed to the organisation. Flexible working makes good business sense too if you are good at communicating with your people.”