Balancing the Grind with Ashleigh Gribben, Head of Talent at Onside

Ashleigh Gribben is the Head of Talent at Onside, a smart work app for anyone doing business in a rural environment.

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Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I started my career in a not-for-profit, supporting people who have experienced mental illness to find and maintain meaningful careers. Fast forwarding through agency-recruitment, in-house talent and OD roles, I am now Head of Talent for Onside, an AgriTech Saas and Deep Tech scale-up. My other important role is mother to a bubbly 7 year old son, an active one year old daughter, and I am pregnant with my third. 

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

My role encompasses the whole talent lifecycle at Onside including talent attraction, immersion, engagement, management, development, and mobility.

Today started with a coaching session with a leader regarding performance improvement, before moving into sourcing talent, designing a company-wide employee engagement survey approach, writing an employer branding piece for a Top 100 NZ Tech Companies & Start-ups List, and preparing metrics for our Leadership team meeting that will be held tomorrow. I was also able to complete a load of washing, set the robot vacuum cleaner, and I didn’t miss rubbish removal day!

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

Work-life balance is ever-changing and always a work in progress, and for my family it has never been a case of set and forget. For me, work-life balance isn’t multitasking – taking a work call while at a playground with my children doesn’t cut it.

Our family runs a Google Sheet to manage the household, and our leadership team has synchronised our diaries to allow for focus time, collaboration time, and recharge time. Organisation is key!

As a company, we have recently introduced an approach to work-life balance that we call Me, We, Go. By committing to hybrid and flexible working, our team members are able to bring their best-selves to work (me), in order to better collaborate (we) and solve problems for our customers (go).

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Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

My partner and I have both stepped into executive leadership roles within the past year, however our working lives look quite different. Whilst my partner is in the office 8 ‘til 6, 5 days per week, I have designed a more flexible schedule for myself that includes set and flexible working-from-home days and set and flexible working hours.

To lessen the mental and physical toll raising a young family, as a couple, we’ve agreed to outsource the bits we can. This included investing in a robot vacuum cleaner and receiving a weekly recipe food delivery box, striking two things off our to-do list each day! We have also accepted that this is not the time to get ahead financially, and instead, we have brought a part time Nanny into our lives to support morning and afternoon school runs. 

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

I’m a huge fan of Hugh van Cuylenburg’s The Resilience Project, which introduces gratitude, empathy and mindfulness to improve resilience and mental wellbeing.  We’ve introduced the Family Journal to our home which helps us to connect, plan for the week, check in with each other and reflect on our days with gratitude.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Our CEO encouraged me to throw out the HR rule book and not to talk in 0.8FTEs, to instead design a solution that works for my family, my role, and me. Give it a try and see what you can come up with – by putting yourself first you’ll be surprised at how much better you show up for your team.

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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.