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Balancing the Grind with Marnie Hitchcock, Head of Employee Experience at eduMe

Marnie Hitchcock is the Head of Employee Experience at eduMe, a mobile-based training platform for the deskless workforce.

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

Sure! I’m currently Head of Employee Experience at EduMe, where I’ve been for around 2 and a half years now. EduMe is a mobile-based training platform for the deskless workforce, used by modern companies in more than 60 countries worldwide.

By providing their workforce with seamless access to relevant knowledge, companies like Uber, Gopuff, Deliveroo, Gorillas and Vodafone are enabling their people to achieve Workforce Success. 

I originally joined as Ops Manager when we were a much smaller company, around the 20 people mark. Since then, we’ve closed our series A and series B funding rounds, and we’re currently sitting at around 70 people across the US & UK – and growing rapidly!

Essentially, as Head of Employee Experience, it’s my job to look after everyone at EduMe and make sure they have the tools, resources and support that they need to succeed; from pre-boarding and onboarding, during their time at the company, and right through to offboarding. 

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

As cliche as it may sound, every day really is different! At the moment, as we’re growing so rapidly, it often involves onboarding new employees and making sure they’re welcomed properly to the company – but I also make sure to spend time on plenty of other tasks needed to ensure we’re looking after the current team in the best way we can as well.

This could be through running & analysing employee engagement surveys to get feedback from the team, and creating actionable plans for the future; organising our frequent company events and exciting off-sites (including one in Italy in May!); running performance reviews and ensuring everyone has clear personal development and career progression in place; and building on our benefits & perks packages to ensure everyone is happy and healthy.

I also spend much of my day catching up with various people across the company, answering any questions they have on a number of topics, and checking in with others on my team. We’ve recently hired our first Employee Experience Manager in the US, so getting her settled in is a priority at the moment – I’m flying to LA next week to onboard her in person, which I’m thoroughly looking forward to!

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

We offer flexible hybrid working at EduMe – we have a great office in London that we moved into towards the end of last year, and everyone has the option to spend more time in the office or at home.

We also have flexible working hours, which I love! I currently choose to spend 2 or 3 days in the office per week, as I really enjoy spending time in-person with my colleagues. Having the option to work both in the office and at home is ideal for me – I prefer working remotely when I have a lot of individual work to do, and much prefer in-person meetings for anything involving the wider team or collaboration.

I personally wouldn’t like to be fully remote, as the in-person aspect of my role is something I really enjoy, and was something that I really missed during lockdown. However, not having to commute 5 days a week is also a definite perk!

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

I don’t think it’s simple enough, or realistic, to ‘separate’ your work and home lives – in reality, these things merge and combine.

Whether that’s through home-schooling during the pandemic, needing to cancel a meeting last minute so you can look after a poorly child, or choosing to have dinner with colleagues after work – all of these things mean that quite often our work life and home life are interlinked.

For me, I think the key to balancing these is being part of a company that understands each individual’s needs, and gives them the opportunity to switch off when they need to, and the flexibility to work around their priorities at home. 

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

I think over the pandemic, a lot of bad habits crept in during working from home – although I had the best intentions (putting ‘Go for a walk’ on my calendar every day), often it was easier to not do the things I knew I should (not going for a walk when my calendar tells me to).

Since the new year, working from home for the second (third?) time, I’ve been making more of an effort to not let the bad habits slip back in!

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

I actually prefer to read novels rather than non-fiction generally, and recently gave in to a Kindle which has made packing for holidays much easier! However, the CultureOps podcast is great for anyone who cares about building company culture – something that is crucial to build and maintain in roles like mine.

I also rely heavily on a few networks that share great resources and recommendations – People Stories and Ops Stories are great for these. They’re also brilliant places to talk to the wider community about any queries, benchmarking, or just bouncing ideas off each other.

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

Honestly, for someone who works for a tech company, I don’t really use that many gadgets or apps. My main loves are friends, family, travel and food – so as long as I have Google Maps to show me where I’m going (I have a terrible sense of direction), reviews to show me the best places to eat, and someone to join me wherever I’m going – I’m happy! 

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

I think the increase in flexible working, and remote/hybrid working, has made it far easier for those in traditionally office-based roles to have a successful work-life balance.

I’d be curious to see how those people in roles that can’t be flexible or hybrid – such as shift work that has to be in-person, for example hospitality or retail – manage to successfully balance their work and home lives.

Having previously worked in hospitality, I know this can be a challenge, and I’d love to know how successful businesses are ensuring their employees have a healthy work-life balance. 

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

Whether in work, life or something in between, I think the most important thing is to make sure you’re doing something you really enjoy, and makes you happy.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.