International Women’s Day can mean different things to different people, and here at Savista, we are proud to raise awareness and celebrate not just women but everyone!
Veera Marshall, People & Performance Business Partner, shares her experience at Savista to date and what International Women’s Day means to her, both professionally and personally.
What is your role at Savista and how long have you worked here?
I joined the People & Performance team at Savista in November 2020.
What has led you to work in the people & performance industry?
The fact that my role has an impact on both people AND the business. It comes with a certain responsibility, but what I love most about my job is that it always puts people at the centre of everything I do.
What’s been your highlight so far?
There have been several high points in my HR career over the past fourteen years, but the one I’m most proud of is how we much we achieved in the Savista People & Performance space over the past two years, given Covid and its associated restrictions. A year of many firsts, we’ve rolled out several people-focused initiatives, the People strategy, team surveys and a set of group-wide company values.
I’m especially pleased with the resources and support we have in place now for our team around Mental Health and Wellbeing, and very shortly we’ll be rolling out the Mental Health First Aiders programme and thereafter turn our focus to other important topics such as menopause.
What aspirations do you have for your role?
Savista being only three years old has achieved so much, but still has such scope to grow which is fantastic. It allows us to embrace new ideas and new ways of doing things. We’re a construction company with a difference, and we have a passion for creating luxurious and innovative environments for Hallmark.
My aspirations are to continue to grow the team, promote L&D, and champion our corporate values.
What is a typical day like for you?
My role allows me to work on a variety of activities so there’s never a dull moment. No two days are ever the same. On any given day, I could go from writing an HR policy to working on creative content for the intranet.
As a mum, how do you balance raising children and your career?
I would love to say “successfully” and on most days I do think I find the right balance, but there are times when I need to focus on one aspect more than the other. It helps to work for an organisation that understands why family is important, and this is where I think working for the family-owned Hallmark Group has really helped.
Covid has shown us that flexible working and supporting team members with responsibilities is indeed the way forward so it would be prudent to examine what the future of work is going to look like in your organisation.
How important is the culture in an organisation?
I could write pages on just this question because culture affects all aspects of the business. An organisation’s culture sets the context for everything they do, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all culture template that meets the organisation’s needs. There are steps that need to be taken to understand it, develop it and improve it, depending on what’s needed.
I’m an extrovert so going from virtual pubs during lockdown to coming back into the office, collaborating and talking to the team members face to face has just been amazing.
What other businesses inspire you?
For me, organisations that recruit based on talent, irrespective of gender are the ones that inspire me like AVIVA, PwC, Fujitsu to name a few. Statistically, gender equality boosts productivity, enhances employee engagement, meets the diverse needs of customers and improves brand reputation so why wouldn’t you include it in your business strategy? As you can tell, I’m quite passionate about equality, and diversity at work.
Any advice for aspiring young women in business?
Pursue what you’re passionate about, and focus on what makes YOU happy.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
For one, it reminds us to celebrate women’s achievements. It’s about awareness, it’s about marvelling at how far we have come and how far we have to go. But it’s not just about women- it’s about equality and everyone is welcome.
It’s important to continue these conversations, not just today, but all year. At Savista we recognise it is our responsibility to raise awareness, break the bias and come together.
You can read more about International Women’s Day here.