The positive impact of employee satisfaction
Every month I challenge members of the team to step forward and contribute to our monthly team spotlight articles. However, this month the team nominated me, with the suggestion of 'leading by example'. So, as the Marketing Manager for the company, how can I turn this challenge down?!
Employee satisfaction is very important to me, having endured the good, the bad and the ugly in previous roles! So, in 2017, having worked in high-level managerial marketing and channel development positions for many years (that saw me travelling extensively across the globe), I decided to ‘get out of dodge’ and take a sabbatical. Added to this, I had a few personal life changing experiences during that year, including the near death of my middle sister, that forced me to take a step back and reconsider my outlook.
I bought a horse (despite not having ridden since childhood and having no experience caring for one previously) that probably was as broken as I was! Over the next three years, my horse Cas and I built each other up.
Despite having a degree in Marketing and Business Development (through Oxford Brookes University) and having achieved Charter Marketeer status through the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), I was very conscious of maintaining my skills and experience should I ever decide to explore a new corporate journey. So, during my three year sabbatical, I kept my fingers in the 'professional pie', working part-time as a marketing consultant and undertaking a digital marketing course through the CIM. In addition, I also spent considerable time supporting the local retail outlet of the Children's Air Ambulance, working in the shop, and helping to build their digital profile and social media exposure.
In January 2020, I received a random message via LinkedIn from Thomas Schilling (our MD) asking if I was interested in a marketing role. My initial reaction was no, thank you! I had little desire to return to the formal working world and considered this part of my past. However, within ten days of receiving this message, I met up with Thomas and a few other team members and signed an employment contract. The fastest interest – to interview – to hire experience for us both! I later discovered that Thomas initially found me on page 28 of LinkedIn! Living proof of the powers of social media platforms!
What attracted me most to Tugela People was the company culture and the opportunity to build the marketing role myself. The company had previously only employed marketing consultants and had recently engaged with a marketing agency to drive its strategy, so the position was as new as I was.
I have just celebrated my 3rd anniversary with the company, and it has been an incredibly positive journey for me, professionally and personally. I have had to immerse myself into the world of HR and learn an entirely new industry, having previously been involved in retail technology for many years with the likes of IBM and Dell. It has also been a fun challenge building a network of connections within HR on LinkedIn to expand my exposure and knowledge of all things 'people related'.
Additionally, I had to learn a host of new skills, having no one under me to delegate tasks! Digital marketing, as those in the profession will know, is fast-paced and constantly changing. The knowledge and new skills I have developed are incredible. Significant milestones include relaunching our company website, implementing and setting up a new CRM and formulating and launching a new communications strategy to raise the profile of Tugela People, along with their people-centric technology solutions and supporting services.
What I enjoy most about my role is the autonomy I have, not to mention the incredible support and encouragement I have received from our MD, Thomas, and the extended team. I work as part of a very close-knit management team, all with different knowledge and experience that complement each other and the business. In addition, the extended team is fantastic. Despite all having our individual roles, there is a definite sense of community and caring, and everyone supports everyone!
As far as the future is concerned, I remain very committed to Tugela People. We are in a period of change, and the future looks very bright indeed, with a host of opportunities to be taken advantage of. I have also recently achieved my Chartered Marketer status with the CIM (it lapsed during my sabbatical), so looking forward to developing new skills in the future.
Although work plays a significant part in my life, I have learned from working at Tugela People that attaining a good work/life balance is essential. My horse Cas is now retired and lives a happy life amongst a herd at a retirement farm (some would say an expensive field ornament!), so I have hung up my riding boots for now.
Family is everything to me, and I like to play an active role in my son's life (he is now 12 and in high school), supporting him in his various endeavours. My husband runs his own business, and I am often 'roped in' to support him! I have three gorgeous dogs (one acquired during lockdown) and spend many happy hours out walking with them. Having turned 50 last year, my health and lifestyle have gained increasing focus, and I am currently working with a personal trainer. In addition to all of this, last year, I helped to set up a new non for profit organisation, Mooketsi Wildlife Foundation, that is focused on Making a Difference (MAD) by supporting environmental, wildlife and humanitarian causes in South Africa through an international volunteer program. This is a great passion of mine and keeps me busy in-between everything else! Thanks to the support from the company with our three day paid annual volunteer days, I have been able to pursue this.