#ChooseToChallenge this year for International Women’s Day

By Rachael Smedley | News | 5 min read

Today marks International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge.

The IWD website states “A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.” At Edays, we agree with this sentiment and have worked to equally represent the voices of our female colleagues alongside others.

We decided to reach out to some of our amazing customers and HR leaders at Edays to ask them for a few words of advice that would benefit women considering a career in HR. Below are some of the answers we got.

Kara Nixon, Head of People Services, Coca-Cola European Partners

“I have 3 bits of advice that I believe would have benefitted me when I first started working in HR. First, I would encourage everyone to negotiate their salary and/or benefits before accepting a job. I was so happy to be offered the first job that I barely asked about salary let alone negotiated. I later read an article that in first roles very few women negotiate their salary compared to the majority of men, and it made me wish I had.

Second, don’t be put off applying for a role because you can’t do everything on the job description even if it’s listed as ‘essential’. A lot of companies are moving away from an essentials list because it is known to put off women who won’t apply unless they can fit 100%. If you can already do 100% of the role then you should be applying for the role above it! I remember being told, if you aren’t scared when you start a role then it’s going to be too easy… and it’s a good thing to remember.

Finally, focus on what you are good at and what you enjoy. There will always be parts of a job you aren’t as good at, develop the areas you need to but don’t obsess, no one is perfect, and what you are good at will outweigh what you aren’t.”

Kay Collins, VP Human Resources at MONSTER ENERGY EUROPE

“My advice would be to find your tribe and see other women as your allies, not your competition. Surround yourself with strong, positive role models who champion you both inside and outside of your organisation. We’ve been pitted against each other for far too long for that one seat at the table. If you are ever the one sitting in that one seat, help build a bigger table and invite your tribe to pull up a chair!”

Sabrina Munns, Head of People and Culture at Edays

“I would encourage anyone new in HR or looking to make a career out of it, to really practice what they preach when it comes to any initiatives. In my experience, colleagues have best responded to new ideas when they can see management also trying to do the same thing. Attempting to get assurance from decision-makers within the business to help promote new initiatives can really make a big difference to pick up.

The culture of a business is really important, and a big part of this is down to the people that work for it. It makes a big difference to your day-to-day working life if you are working alongside people that you not only get along with but agree with the vision of the business. Working as Head of People and Culture at Edays, I am part of a team, where our ideas and initiatives directly influence this.”

Joanne Hadwin, Head of HR, Cruden Investments Ltd

“I’d definitely encourage anyone setting out in HR to ‘be yourself’. In my career, I’ve seen women project a forceful/confrontational personality because they think they need to do that to progress their careers. You don’t need to do that to be taken seriously in the workplace.

My first HR role was for a manufacturing company. I worked on the shopfloor for 18 months before I moved into HR. That experience really helped me understand the business and meant I could relate to the employees more, having worked 12-hour shifts on a noisy, dirty production-line. I’d definitely recommend anyone going into HR now to take time to understand the business you’re working in and the challenges the employees face.”

Astere Stūre, Human Capital Management System’s Manager, at 4finance

“Everyone has opportunities and power to learn and build a successful career, it only depends on you how you use yours.”

If you want to hear more from Edays and how we are championing Diversity & Inclusion from another leader within the business, tune into Director of Marketing, Lauren Hancox, and Evie Skinner, a Senior Software Developer at Edays for an International Women’s Day special podcast. You can listen to it here.