Mike Hill Work Life Balance Interview

Mike Hill Work Life Balance Interview

Mike Hill Work Life Balance Interview

Australian job-pairing startup, Puffling, is set to tackle some of the recruitment industry's biggest issues – improving diversity and work-life balance – in a new way, following the launch of its custom platform and a strategic partnership with Randstad, leading recruitment and HR specialists.

Designed to allow Puffling to scale with increasing demand, the match-making platform will partner candidates based on complementary skill sets, set them up to 'date" and help create a joint CV to support the pair interviewing for shared, full-time roles.

Mike Hill, CEO of Puffling, said that while job-pairing is still a relatively new concept in Australia, the interest and demand from both local businesses and candidates has been high.

'Job-pairing gives businesses double the experience for their hiring dollar, and offers candidates the flexible working opportunities they desire. There's a long way to go before it becomes commonplace, but our new platform and partnership with Randstad will allow us to accelerate growth and help deliver on our mission to make flexible working a norm across industries and promote greater diversity at senior levels."

Since its launch in January, Puffling's growth has been driven by the increasing demand for flexible working arrangements in Australia, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealing 120,000 more people are working part-time than last year, and around 35,000 fewer people working full-time. This is supported by Randstad's Employer Brand Research which showed work-life balance was the top priority for workers, though employers ranked it number eight.

'We've seen strong initial interest from the advertising and marketing sector, with some of Australia's biggest ad agencies initially signing on to trial Puffling and recruit shared roles including WPP, R/GA, The Monkeys, BWM Dentsu and DDB, however it is clear we still need to work with this sector – and others – to demonstrate the value of having two minds in one job," said Hill.

Puffling's approach has also attracted the interest of recruitment specialists, Randstad. The two companies have formed a strategic alliance, underpinned by the shared goal of using innovative technologies to create a more inclusive workforce for Australian businesses.

Frank Ribuot, CEO of Randstad Australia, said the partnership reflects Randstad's commitment to leveraging the best of technology and a human-centric approach to better service both sides of the employment market.

'There is no denying that flexibility is a key priority for candidates and the world of work is changing as a result. Businesses need to embrace change to truly recognise the exciting benefits of job-pairing. We believe the potential here goes beyond a solution for mums to anyone looking for a flexible role, and are proud to partner with Puffling to drive innovation and fresh thinking in the industry."

Michele Havas and Sanchia Stafford-Gaffney, marketers with close to 30 years' industry experience across leading FMCG brands, recently matched on Puffling and are now looking for their ideal role.

'We were as surprised as anyone to find ourselves in a perfect match situation. We had similar skillsets on paper but it wasn't until we met for a coffee that we realised just how well we connected, with common working styles, and a desire to balance making a significant contribution to a business with the flexibility to manage family life with young children," said Havas.

'Puffling offers a unique and appealing solution which is desperately needed in Australia. Senior part-time roles are almost impossible to come by, and Puffling's team-based model enables us to pursue full time roles knowing we can provide an exceptional solution for employers, often over-and-above what a solo candidate can offer.

'Michele and I are both very passionate about our industry and have so much value to add, so we're excited about the prospect of taking the next step in our careers as a team," added Stafford-Gaffney.

With interest from categories beyond marketing, media and advertising now building, Puffling is set to continue building its offer in the coming months.

For more information, or to get paired on Puffling, visit www.puffling.com.au and for more on Randstad, head to www.randstad.com.au.

Puffling is a job-pairing platform helping candidates find the perfect job share partner, and interview for roles together. Founded in December 2016 by Mike Hill, Lija Wilson and Sarah Parker, the Australian startup is connecting mums – and anyone – looking for flexible part-time careers.

Randstad is one of the world's leading recruitment and HR services specialists, passionate about matching people with organisations that will develop their potential, and organisations with candidates that will take their business to the next level. The Randstad Group employs over 560,000 people every day with the aim of 'shaping the world of work'.

Interview with Mike Hill, CEO and co-founder at Puffling

Question: What is Puffling?

Mike Hill: Puffling is a recruitment start-up designed to help women find flexible roles after having children. It also helps employers meet their diversity targets and foster a working environment that encourages flexibility and retention of high-calibre talent.

Question: What inspired the creation of Puffling?

Mike Hill: Puffling was inspired by our own experiences in advertising after having children and finding that we had to compromise on our seniority and salary if we wanted part-time work.

Question: Can you tell us about the new Puffling platform?

Mike Hill: The new platform allows women to sign up, create a profile and see other women looking for flexible work. The algorithm in the backend shows women their potential matches and prompts them to send them a message and arrange a 'date' to discuss teaming up to job-share a full time role. The Puffling platform also allows candidates to see current job opportunities and show that they are interested in applying as a team.

Question: You've joined with a recruitment company; why did you choose Randstad?

Mike Hill: Randstad struck up a partnership with Puffling as they are big believers in innovation and have a strong focus on solutions which support diversity and inclusion. They are very committed to championing change in these areas globally. Through a strategic partnership, our success will ultimately mean both our organisations are making a contribution to changing workplace cultures, reimagining flexible work practices as well as impacting the gender pay gap and the number of senior women in leadership positions.

Question: Why is it important for you to create flexible careers particularly for women?

Mike Hill: Creating flexible work options for women is one way for us to increase diversity within advertising. Flexibility should not mean you are paid less or given less responsibility, women or men who work flexibly can make equal if not greater contributions to the workplace. At the moment only 3% of creatives are female.

Question: How does job-share work?

Mike Hill: There are 3 ways job-share typically works:

A -pure' job share arrangement where one job happens to be done by two or more people with the same level of capability and expertise and a single set of performance measures.
A -job split' where the role is divided by e.g. seniority, capability, client, project or geography, with different but related performance measures.
A -hybrid' job share where there is a single set of accountabilities but there is some shared and some divided responsibility.

Question: Why is job sharing ideal for employers and employees?

Mike Hill: Job-sharing or job-pairing as we like to call it provides employers a way to provide part-time roles without compromising on the delivery of work 5 days a week.

Employees are able to have the flexibility of part-time without compromising on salary or seniority as well as having a partner to work with and bounce ideas off.

Question: What other flexible options does Puffling provide?

Mike Hill: We have had a number of candidates interested in single, part-time, contract and school hour roles which we've been able to accommodate in addition to our job-share options. We're all about providing flexibility at the end of the day.

Question: Are you able to provide a successful Puffling case study?

Mike Hill: One of Puffling's -Pairs', Michele Havas and Sanchia Stafford-Gaffney, really embody what that platform is aiming to do – they are a perfect match of complementary skill sets and ambition.

'We feel like we're pioneers, because the future of the workplace is changing so much, you just have to try new things and see what happens," said Michele Havas, a marketer with more than 15 years' experience at companies including Diageo and Qantas.

'It's kind of a two brains for the price of one scenario. We're about the same level of seniority but have a fairly complementary skill set. We have fundamental skills in common, but we each brought subject matter experience to the table." Sanchia Stafford-Gaffney said.

Question: What is work-life balance to you?

Mike Hill: I think work-life balance is when you're happy. It's not always possible to have everything working all at once but if you're managing to work and have time with family and friends and celebrate the small wins, then you're winning.

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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