Balancing the Grind with Alison dela Cruz, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Butternut Box

Alison dela Cruz is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Butternut Box, a company that believes dogs deserve to eat the healthiest, most natural food with none of the nasties.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

When I realised that shift work wasn’t for me, it turned out to be a turning point. After talking with friends who had already transitioned into HR and hearing all the great things they were doing in their jobs; this is what led me down my current path as well!

After working in Australia, New Zealand and Germany I am now living the London lifestyle. As our Talent Lead at Butternut Box it is my responsibility to grow and scale recruiting functions as we expand internationally. I have had ample opportunity for work experience all over Europe which has given me a unique perspective on how things are done differently across cultures

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

A typical day for me involves meeting with a number of stakeholders across our different departments plus 1:1 catch ups related to specific projects/goals. As we are still growing the team, I am very much hands on in recruiting with my own open positions, so there are also interviews and keeping in touch with candidates on a daily basis.

The recruiting team helps to bring new ideas, perspectives and innovation into the business by encouraging collaboration between all areas of our organisation. Our goal as recruiters is not only hire great people but also create an environment that fosters creativity in order achieve success with each individual throughout their career here at Butternut Box.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

The people team works in a hybrid approach, with two days per week spent at the office on Mondays and Wednesdays. For new starters this means they have access to guidance from their peers while also being supported during onboarding processes which is why it’s important that we are present and welcoming to our new squad members.

Wednesday usually has more activity than other days with free lunch served in the office – making them great opportunities to make connections outside your department or even just meet some interesting personalities within different departments all over company grounds.

Balancing the two environments has been a blessing, it allows me to have the focus time I need at home but also allows me to be more balanced in my home life too. My home office days are when I can go to the gym or supermarket, but also means I can be at home with my dog too.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Everyone has a different idea of what work life balance means. For me, it’s about maintaining my mental wellbeing and enjoying my work. I know that I can’t be productive 100% of the time, so I balance my focus time with breaks.

I also make sure to have a separate work space so I can leave my work at the office when I go home. By taking these steps, I’m able to achieve a balance that works for me and helps me to enjoy my work.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I have definitely changed some of my routines in the past 12 months in an attempt to improve my life. One thing I started doing was making sure I finish work on time so I can enjoy my evenings and not feel like I’m constantly working.

I also joined a gym and started working out regularly, which has made me feel much healthier and more energetic. Finally, I started putting my phone into bedtime mode in the evening so I can wind down and relax before going to sleep. This has helped me to sleep better and wake up feeling rested. Overall, I’m definitely happier with my new routines and habits.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Recruiting Brainfood by Hung Lee is one of my favourite newsletters. It’s a great resource for Recruiters who want to keep up with the latest industry trends.

The weekly newsletter covers everything from social media recruiting to AI and data-driven recruiting. If you’re looking for an industry newsletter that will give you an overview of the latest trends, Recruiting Brainfood is a great choice.

The Culture Map by Erin Meyer has been a recent favourite read of time. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the impact of culture on global business. The book explains how different cultures approach communication, decision making, and collaboration.

It’s helped me to better understand the cultural differences between my colleagues and candidates, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their cross-cultural communication skills.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Google Maps and Citymapper. I don’t know how I ever lived without them both and being new to living in London they are my go-to’s. It’s saved me from getting lost more times than I can count. Whether I’m finding that new restaurant I want to try or trying to find the quickest route to work, Citymapper is always my go-to. These are just a few of the products, gadgets and apps that I can’t live without. 

Another indispensable product in my life is naturally my own subscription to Butternut Box. We are a subscription service that delivers fresh, healthy dog food to my door. My dog, Jet, absolutely loves it, and I love not having to worry about if what I have feeding her is giving her the nutrition she needs.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

If I could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, it would be someone in senior politics. They have to context switch so much every day, between their career and their family life, that I feel like they would have some really valuable insights on how to manage it all.

Plus, they probably have to deal with a lot of stress and criticism, so they’ve probably had to develop some pretty thick skin. I think it would be really interesting to see how they’ve managed to juggle everything and still maintain a sense of calm and balance in their lives.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Balance is important. You need to have time for work and time for life. Doing your best work means taking the time to live a full life outside of work. That includes friends, family, relaxation and interests. It’s important to have balance in your life so you can be your best self at work and in all other areas of your life.

Balance is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing burnout. It’s also key to avoiding making mistakes at work, as an exhausted or overworked mind is more likely to make errors. So, take the time to enjoy your life outside of work and you’ll likely find that you’re happier and more productive when you are at work.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.