Fiona Chilcott is the Chief People & Culture Officer at Enero Group, an international network of marketing and communications businesses with over 600 staff working in 14 cities.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
While my background has always been in Human Resources and people focused roles—which is what I’m truly passionate about—I’ve had the privilege of working within a spectrum of sectors. I started my career in financial services, then moved into the energy industry, and now in the marketing and communications sector for Enero Group.
In my current role as Chief People & Culture Officer, I wear many hats, shifting between the multiple facets of HR which include talent acquisition, professional development, performance management, corporate social responsibility and much more.
My role allows me to be more of a generalist, which I’ve always really enjoyed because it gives me the breadth to holistically develop people and be a partner along their professional journey.
Nowadays, HR has evolved to being a critical part of the business agenda, and now more than ever, a focus on culture has shone a light on the importance of HR as a business function.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I can confidently say no one day is ever the same! I’m an early riser and enjoy getting to the gym at least three days a week to keep up an active lifestyle amidst my jam-packed days.
Once I’m at my laptop, at home, in the office or on-the-go, I have a to-do list of many different tasks that all primarily link back to managing my outstanding HR team and executing and managing the HR strategy for Enero.
So, today I could be working through an acquisition for one of our agencies, and tomorrow I could be dotting the i’s on a people plan for the board, before checking in on the facilities team for our workplace.
Working in a global company also allows me to tap into all the different ways of working across the US and Europe, so I’m lucky enough to work with a number of diverse teams and unique professionals globally.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
One of the best things about our workplace is the freedom of flexible and remote working. At Enero, our agencies believe that work is a thing you produce, not a place you go each day—and I wholeheartedly agree with this concept.
We’ve always been anchored by the practice of ‘thoughtful working,’ which goes beyond a policy to work from home. It’s a philosophy we live by, where employees are encouraged to work where they will be most effective for their clients, their colleagues and themselves.
This existing work practice placed us in a strong position to quickly adapt to a completely remote workforce during country-wide lockdowns as a result of COVID-19.
Personally, thoughtful working has allowed me to achieve a truly balanced life between my professional commitments and goals, as well as my home and family life. I have the time, space, resources and support to take on a critical people-focused role with a global company, while being able to spend quality time with my boys.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Flexibility is a necessity to balancing your personal and professional life. It’s important to understand and recognise that everyone, no matter their demographic, role or location, has a life outside of work that includes hobbies, family, friends and personal commitments.
While flexibility is the gateway to achieving this, through practices like thoughtful working, I believe that trust and honesty are essential pillars to maintain.
When there is shared trust and honesty across the team, employees have the freedom to work in a way that works for them, their family and supports their physical and mental health.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
When lockdown began, I started running again, that turned into a real passion and since then, I have completed a few fun runs, such as the Mother’s Day Classic and the MS Walk and Roll.
I am now training for my first half marathon in July of this year. I have seen so much improvement to my overall health from running, but in particular to manage stress and maintain a sense of wellbeing.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I loved Glennon Doyle’s new book Untamed and am a fan of all things Simon Sinek. I have also read some fantastic fiction books this year including Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My AirPods, Garmin watch and Strava to name a few. Pretty much all my running tools.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
It would have to be Queen Elizabeth II. As she approaches her Platinum Jubilee to mark 70 years of service, she has demonstrated such a robust work ethic and commitment, but I do wonder how she manages a work-life balance amidst it all.
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