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Interview - ​Carys Winship, Maggies

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"Getting to know someone during the interview process helps us find the right people." - read how Maggie's recruit their team.

Carys Winship joined Maggie's 11 years ago as a community fundraiser. Carys is now staff and resources manager for Maggie's, overseeing all 140 staff across the UK from her base in Glasgow.

We have heard some glowing reports about the culture at Maggie's. How have you developed such a great place to work?

We're a fairly small organisation (even though we're growing pretty fast) but that means we really know all the people who work here well and keep them involved with where Maggie's is going.

Communication is really important. It lies at the heart of Maggie's as we are there to listen to our centre visitors and I think that means we are good at listening to each other. Everyone wants to work together to support people with cancer in the best possible way.

How do you on-board your newbies?

In your very first week at Maggie's you spend a week in one of our centres away from where you will be working. This is so important as you get totally immersed in the work of the centre. If you're a Finance Assistant based in our office in London or Glasgow, you might not visit another centre for a year or so. The centre you go to for your induction always becomes really close to your heart and it's such an important reminder of why we do what we do.

In that first week, you'll see everything we offer in our centres. You'll get involved in our drop-in service and see how difficult it can be for someone to walk through the door for the first time, versus how comfortable and relaxed it can feel to be a repeat visitor. You'll learn about our benefits advice service, relaxation sessions and nutrition services.

There isn't a big, chunky document to read. Instead, you're given postcards which include the top 10 things you need to know about Maggie's. Our on-boarding doesn't stop at induction week. Six months later, we run a 'Getting Started' session. It's based in our London office and allows all of our new starters to reflect on their induction and also share how the first 6 months at Maggie's has been for them. They meet our leadership team from Fundraising, Operations, Communications and Finance which can sometimes be overwhelming on your very first week at a new job, and I'll also do a session on HR and the useful things people might not know unless someone tells them.

This is also a brilliant opportunity for our Chief Executive Laura to personally meet each and every new staff member. This session makes the leadership team approachable and allows us to all work together as an organisation.

Maggie's has a really low staff turnover. Why is that?

As we grow as an organisation, there are more opportunities for people to grow with us. Our growth means people continue to work for us through progression, and we're taking full advantage of that.

What are the important things you look for in Maggie's people?

Someone who really wants to work for us and be part of the Maggie's network, rather than it just being a job or a step on the career ladder. Having that sense of community is so important to us, and what someone can bring to the organisation in terms of personality is as important as the technical skills they have. We wouldn't hire someone if we didn't think it was the right for them, as well as us.

Getting to know someone during the interview process helps us find the right people. We look to see how they describe Maggie's, how they communicate and often ask for a presentation which allows us to see their creative ideas and initiatives.

What is the long-term vision for Maggie's?

Our aim is to increase staffing by 49%, which is in line with our 5-year growth plan. We want to do this by developing our internal infrastructure, bringing new people in when we build new centres and continuing to offer more opportunity for progression for our current staff.