What I didn't know about flexible working

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Anyone that has worked with me during my recruitment years will know the passion, energy and pride I take in talking about iMultiply – I genuinely believed working here as a Director was the best job in the world but I now know that is a lie. 

Becoming a father has truly been the most incredible experience of my life and is hands down the best job I will ever hold. However, what’s amazing is how becoming a dad has positively impacted my leadership style and has challenged many of my views on working habits within the recruitment industry.

When I joined the recruitment world almost a decade ago it was a very traditional industry that appeared set in its ways.  The word “flexibility” was rarely used within the office and it was considered a dirty term by many. It was drilled into us that becoming successful within the industry would only be achieved by working long and excessive hours.

Before I realised it not only was I a follower of this system, but I quickly became an advocate and adopted this way of thinking into my managerial style. This continued for many years until a bombshell got dropped on my wife Louise and I in 2017, when we received the news that we couldn’t start a family naturally and our only option was IVF.

Approaching our CEO Kirsty to request flexible working was an extremely uncomfortable situation for me. Not because I was concerned it wouldn’t be granted, I knew it would and I knew Kirsty would provide the utmost personal & professional support. I was uncomfortable because I was embarrassed and felt like a hypocrite. 

At first, I didn’t want the rest of the business to know but as the regularity of the appointments and flexibility increased, I was concerned the iMultiply family would feel I was no longer committed to the business so decided to share my news with the team. The reaction and support from my peers put me to shame. Flexibility was something they had rarely been given because for many years I had been against it, but instead of envy they offered empathy. 

The unintentional by-product of this flexibility was even more astounding. I have always held myself and my teams to exceptionally high standards and as a result I think it would be safe to say my managerial style was often one of control. But with requiring flexibility and not always being present, I was forced to relinquish large aspects of that control. This definitely took some time to adjust too but the results were incredible.

As a result of people not feeling smothered and having more freedom & autonomy, everyone started to step up. Ideas were more free flowing, everyone was taking more accountability and it became apparent individuals were capable & ready to take on more responsibility within their careers. Not only were individuals thriving but the results through-out the business were improving, and we are now growing at a much faster pace as a result.

Returning to work after the birth of my daughter Georgie, I also discovered a newfound freedom. I was no longer required to be as involved in the day to day operations or the basic decision-making processes which meant I could focus more on my leadership and board responsibilities. 

It also meant I could regularly work from home or I could leave the office at a time where I could get home to bath and feed Georgie before she went to bed – something that is extremely important to me. If I wasn’t able to do this, it would mean I would only see my daughter at weekends.

I am proud to say that iMultiply now have a formal written flexible working policy in place that all our employees can benefit from. Furthermore, I would also encourage all employers and leaders to think about what benefits flexible working could do for your business. 

There’s no doubt I am a little ashamed to say that without becoming a parent I might never have recognised or appreciated these flaws within my leadership style. However, remember: There are no failures, just lessons. 


iMultiply are looking for people to join us in our Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast offices. If you are interested in learning more, please visit our careers page or speak to Managing Director, Kris Flanagan on 0141 648 9150 or krisflanagan@imultiplyresouricng.com