How our job share is helping deliver economic growth - Angela Smillie and Clare Richardson comment

We work together in a new job share at Bank of Scotland – here is how it works, and how we are using it to drive progress across the country.

The area director at Bank of Scotland plays an important role in supporting the growth of businesses across Scotland.

While banking has historically been a male-dominated sector, our recent appointment, on a job share basis, into the SME area director role for Edinburgh, Lothian and the Scottish Borders, goes to show how much progress has been made in recent years.

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We lead a team of highly experienced banking professionals who each manage a portfolio of SME clients (£3 million to £25m turnover) across a range of sectors, including real estate, healthcare and manufacturing. Our purpose is to support our clients to achieve their ambitions, and help Scotland prosper.

Clare Richardson (left) and Angela Smillie say they are benefiting from applying a modern way of working to a traditional role. Picture: Chris Watt.

In celebration of the recent International Women’s Day (IWD), we wanted to share some thoughts on how this new, dynamic way of delivering our role is helping us to work even more closely with local businesses and help drive their success.

A fresh partnership

When we were first offered this post on a job share basis, we knew it would be an exciting opportunity, particularly given we have the benefit of double the experience and mind power to bring to this role.

Between us we have 35 years of financial services experience. Clare has gained valuable experience working as a business development director and as area director in the North-east of Scotland. Angela was previously a director within the leveraged finance and corporate restructuring team, prior to more recently leading on sustainability for our SME customers across the UK.

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Our new, flexible role sees us both work 60 per cent of the week. It has enabled us to use our combined expertise to better serve local businesses and identify new opportunities to grow and prosper.

It is imperative that in any job share, you see your success as a collective – we succeed together, not one over the other. Communication and trust are therefore essential, together with ensuring there is an alignment of values.

There is an extra layer of consideration to be given in terms of ensuring your job share partner is kept fully abreast of important developments within the team. We are also extremely mindful of our team and ensuring we make things as easy as possible for them.

To fully leverage the benefits of a job share, it’s also important to identify your respective strengths early on and then work hard to ensure you capitalise on those. But there’s no question that flexible working arrangements can, and do, deliver equal or better results when implemented correctly.

Green business

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An important part of our role relates to supporting SME clients with their sustainability strategies. We are continually looking for new, innovative ways of helping businesses in Scotland to go green. This is another area where the collaborative nature of our job share has benefited local businesses. We can use our shared experience and passion for sustainability to support them to decarbonise and transition to net zero.

In recent months, we’ve provided support to some impressive Scottish firms as they make in-roads into cutting their carbon footprints. One such business is Carmichael Homes, which commenced the build of a new 25-flat development featuring a green roof and other sustainable features in Edinburgh.

With COP26 having taken place just a few months ago, we remain committed to maintaining the momentum it built and helping chart the course towards countrywide net zero by 2045 by continuing to support local businesses on their decarbonation journey.

Breaking the mould

Applying a modern way of working to a traditional role can be tricky to navigate at first and takes some adjustment. But for us, and our clients, it has been nothing but a positive experience. Working as a team has helped us deliver more for our customers than we could have done on our own, while also allowing us to balance this with the competing demands of having young families.

In the wake of IWD, we hope our experience demonstrates to others that breaking the mould when it comes to ways of working can bring real benefits to both businesses and their clients. And in a post-pandemic world where people now place a higher value on their work-life balance, adopting a flexible approach has never been more important.

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