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PageGroup, Commended 2014, The Citymothers Best for All Stages of Motherhood Award

PageGroup says that its culture is based on three pillars: hiring the right people, developing them to their full potential and conducting its business in line with its values: take pride, be passionate, never give up, work as a team, make it fun. In practice, what this means is getting the policies and practices in place that allow mothers (and everyone else) to fulfil their potential at work. PageGroup’s work with mothers sits within its wider focus on women and equality.

PageGroup launched a new scheme, Women@Page, in 2012, to create a more inclusive working environment and improve gender balance at all levels. Women@Page develops and supports the female talent pipeline, raises women’s aspirations and dispels negative preconceptions of women’s capabilities. It enjoys the support of CEO Steve Ingram and non-executive director Ruby McGregor-Smith (Chair of the Women’s Business Council), and is supported by the Executive Board. The objectives are: to share best practice; develop, promote and execute global gender diversity initiatives; and be accountable for measuring and monitoring progress.

The Women@Page programme covers a range of activities and policies, to work towards these objectives. There is a global mentoring programme, supporting and bringing through talented women at management level. By the end of 2013, the number of female managers in the UK increased by 4% to 31% – currently 80 women in the UK are being mentored, many of whom are working mothers. There is a pre- and post-maternity coaching programme in the UK to improve retention of mothers returning from maternity leave. This aims to give all mothers-to-be the best possible maternity support, letting them know what resources are available; sharing best practice for managing their preparation for maternity leave and returning to work; and providing career development support. It also gives mothers access to a supportive network.

The Women@Page internal website showcases and profiles careers of successful women in PageGroup, sharing and celebrating visible role models at all levels; featuring pledges of support from senior leaders and giving tips and advice to help women achieve their aspirations, publishing quarterly updates with reviews of initiatives from around the world; and providing Q&As with the leadership team – and feedback about tools and actions. Page Group also regularly communicates by blog, and tweet to highlight what’s changing and what works. In addition, PageGroup has Maternity@Page to inform mothers-to-be about everything to do with policies and procedures, including comprehensive FAQs. This is reinforced through line manager maternity guidelines, a detailed operational checklist to help managers support the women in their businesses through the maternity journey.

In 2013 PageGroup undertook its first worldwide employee engagement and diversity survey, with a key focus on understanding more about actual and perceived barriers women and mothers face within the organisation. The global views of employees on engagement, diversity and inclusion across PageGroup are shaping policy making and practice. It has engaged in benchmarking and external assessment and taken membership of external bodies to boost the number of women getting senior roles. Internally, it has refined and improved annual statistics tracking maternity return and retention rates, the percentage of women in management roles, and the gender proportions of new staff. Maternity, paternity and adoption policies are also under continuous review.

PageGroup offers a wide range of flexible working practices to mothers, including term-time-only working. The aim is to help mothers get a good work–life fit, without having to step off the career ladder. It is creating a new training programme to ensure diversity, inclusion end equality awareness is incorporated in every level of training, so that these values are reinforced throughout each employee’s working life.