Innovators at Work - Rosie, Talent Manager at Cuckoo

I don’t see it as an option not to be invested in our teams’ wellbeing.  

Meet Rosie Mclnerney! Talent Manager at Cuckoo.

You have recently joined Cuckoo as their new talent manager - what attracted you as a candidate to Cuckoo compared to other competitors in the landscape?

Cuckoo are ripping up the rule book and doing things differently. As a candidate, the prospect of working for an organisation like that excited me - not just because I wanted to be a part of building something special. I could see that their appetite for innovating had spread to how they wanted to hire and develop top talent and that’s a dream come true for a Talent Manager.

Tell us about the culture at Cuckoo: what is it like now? How do you see this developing as you grow your headcount?

We’re in the sweet-spot of start-up life. With a headcount still under 30 we communicate and collaborate across different areas of the business all the time, everyone’s voice and opinion is heard and is as important as their colleagues. We can’t afford to be naive though. All high growth start-ups are at risk of losing the culture that made them special and able to succeed. Focusing on adapting to suit the size of the business, whilst maintaining the culture that makes it an amazing place to work, is ongoing and will always be a priority.

The jobs market is busier than ever right now, many businesses are hiring, how would you describe the job market right now?

As always, it depends on the industry and each certainly has its challenges right now. Speaking specifically to ours though, I find myself talking to a lot of ‘passive’ candidates- they’re happy in their job right now but open to seeing what's out there.

Since Covid helped everyone to (finally) realise that working from home is a legitimate option, candidates are no longer limited to jobs within a 10-mile radius. The world of work just opened up to a lot of people and I’m a big fan of how empowering that is for the candidate.

When changing jobs was a rarity and done because we’d gotten to the stage of dreading Monday morning, we jumped ship for anything that resembled our old jobs but had slightly better pay, better management or a better commute. Now? Candidates, especially outside of London, can see what’s truly out there and take their next career step confident that it’s the right fit for them.

You have recently introduced Juno the wellbeing benefits platform for Cuckoo employees, why is supporting your employees wellbeing and mental health a priority for Cuckoo and what else are you doing as part of your response to the wellbeing agenda?

I don’t see it as an option not to be invested in our teams’ wellbeing.  

There were some fantastic companies doing really great things for their employees pre covid, but it certainly wasn’t the majority. Now that we’ve all (virtually) seen inside our coworkers' living rooms and met their dogs, it’s as if everyone’s remembered that their colleagues exist outside of the 40 hour working week.

After covid-19, Black Lives Matter, and events as recent as the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, our society (and so in-turn our workforce) have been affected. We can’t simply ask our employees to put all that on hold Monday to Friday between the hours of 09:00-17:00.

We want to work toward reducing the stigma around mental health in the workplace. In addition to providing our team members with a monthly wellbeing budget via Juno, we have two mental health first aiders within our team, offer access to an EAP and paid time off when our team are mentally or physically unwell.

How are you measuring the success and impact of these strategies on employees?

For a small team like ours, engagement and feedback directly from our teams works best. We do this through pulse surveys, one-to-ones and our  all hands meetings.

Based on your understanding of those companies Cuckoo is competing with to attract talent, what do you think makes Cuckoo stand out? Is your approach to wellbeing and therefore your adoption of Juno an element that you consider part of that point of difference?

As a challenger brand, we’re ‘competing’ with big telecoms companies as well as start-ups. Both can be competitive in their EVP but I do feel that an emphasis on wellbeing is seriously lacking across the board.

How are you communicating with your employees about the prioritisation of wellbeing at Cuckoo through your onboarding process? What are the current priorities?

As a fully-remote team, communication is key. It’s tough to create a culture supportive of team’s prioritising their wellbeing from behind our screens, but the little things help; we share a lot on Slack. Equally important is a top down approach, seeing and hearing a leadership team invest in their wellbeing, promotes the same for others.

Thanks Rosie for sharing!

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