July 23rd, 2018
This year, Beacon Hill Staffing Group was named one of the best workplaces for women by Crain's Chicago Business. In partnership with Best Companies Group, Crain's surveyed 8,800 employees of Chicago-based companies. Some of the most positive responses came from women who work at Beacon Hill's Chicago offices. The survey revealed that top-reviewed organizations have some common traits, including: an employee population that is at least half female, women members of the executive team and flexible working hours.
We sat down with four leaders at Beacon Hill to gain more insight into what makes the company one of the best workplaces for women.
Clockwise from top left: Chrissie Shanahan, Maricela Ostrand, Joanna Foulk, Elizabeth Pirrie.
Flexible schedules provide more opportunities for success
Regardless of gender, when employees aren't able to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance, they may feel burnt out, unmotivated and stressed. Flexibility at work allows employees to take care of their personal needs and desires so they can focus at work.
Joanna Foulk,Managing Director of the Beacon Hill Financial division, has seen how professional pressures can strain individual workers.
"Throughout my career, I've had to watch women pick one or the other: having a family or having a career," Joanna said. "At other organizations, there were very few women in leadership roles. Here, we don't force someone to make those decisions. If you look at our senior leadership and our directors, many are women, and some have multiple children. There's no picking and choosing. They can have a family and a successful career."
Maricela Ostrand,Division Director of the Beacon Hill Pharma division and mother of two, reported that Beacon Hill's emphasis on flexibility has allowed her to grow as a professional while remaining focused on her family.
"We're able to function easily in remote spaces. I can work from my phone if necessary," Maricela said, noting that she can also disconnect completely when she needs to.
Beacon Hill's culture of encouragement fosters supportive relationships between co-workers.
Representation inspires others to achieve their goals
Representation in the workplace is crucial for a number of reasons, including diversity of thought and creativity. For Maricela, female representation was one of the first things she noticed when starting at Beacon Hill. Coming from an organization with siloed departments, the warm welcome she received from other division leaders was a pleasant surprise.
"Other leaders are there to help, even if there's no direct business need for them to do so," Maricela noted.
Elizabeth Pirrie,Division Director of Beacon Hill Associates, explained that representation is key for empowering female employees to reach their fullest potential as professionals.
"There are very few positions within the organization that don't have a role above it with a woman in the seat," Elizabeth explained. "It's really easy to look around and see representation, which is impactful not only for someone who is choosing to come here for the first time, but also people who are looking to grow their careers at Beacon Hill."
From the moment a new employee walks in the door, it's clear to see that everyone's contributions are weighed on their own merit, regardless of the contributor's gender.
Merit-based recognition ensures unbiased promotions
At Beacon Hill, favoritism and other unconscious bias are mitigated by reward systems that value performance above all.
"My favorite part of working here is that it is a true meritocracy," Elizabeth said. "If you put in the work and you get the results, you are going to be rewarded and recognized."
Beacon Hill fosters an environment where leaders encourage all employees to participate in conversations and share their ideas. Managing directors actively listen to everyone's opinions, and they recognize and reward employee contributions.
"The mentorship available is second to none, as everyone is willing to help each other," noted Senior Corporate RecruiterChrissie Shanahan. "We take pride on being experts in the staffing industry and share our knowledge with each other to continue to grow year after year."
"Our promotions and hiring are based on performance," Joanna added. "More than half of our directors are women, but that isn't based on gender, it's based on performance. We don't discriminate. We look at the person and what they're bringing to the table."
Beacon Hill is dedicated to providing a balance between home and work life so that its employees have many opportunities to succeed and meet their greatest potential. Representation and merit-based recognition combined with flexible schedules make that mission an achievable goal.