Work Happy Podcast: S2 – Episode 5

Pearson is an educational company with a rich, 177 year history, and the global reach of its over-20k full time employees has impacted an unfathomable number of students. As a company ahead of its time in utilising video, flexi-time and WFH, they’ve quite literally written the book on remote working…

We’re joined by Kim England, VP Global Employee Communications, to share the incredible plethora of ways that Pearson are epitomising the culture of Work Happy, their Remote Working Manifesto, measuring engagement on their well-populated social platform, and much more.

This episode covers

  • Keeping connected to a massive, global workforce
  • Flexible working & identifying your best working hours
  • Pearson’s social network Jive, and how it’s keeping their staff connected
  • Evolving Pearson’s long-standing values to reflect modern working
  • Supporting employee wellbeing through events, tailored content, and music

Stay for the People

 

“We have a saying that you come for the mission, but you stay for the people, and it really couldn’t be truer. Some of the people that I work with are some of the most passionate, caring, supportive, brilliant minds. I absolutely love the sort of workplace and the people I get to work with, because they challenge me, they excite me, and we’ve created some really great work over the years.”
[4:50]

Flex Hours

 

“The other thing that’s really helpful is that I can flex my hours, so that at 5pm when my kids walk in the door I can be mum, support them, read with them, and do all the things that are really important for them. Once they’re in bed, I can get back online, and I’m available to people who need me if they’re in the US, and that’s when I do my best work – and everyone wins.”
[8:30]

Remote Working Manifesto

 

“About three and a half years ago, we wrote something called the remote working manifesto at Pearson. It was a document that we created by crowdsourcing on our social intranet, and we asked people to start sharing their best practice for working from home? It wasn’t about ‘I work from home’, it was more about ‘How do you manage people who are working from home?’ ”
[12:45]

Getting the best of tech

 

“Technology is like a wardrobe – you probably use 10% of it 90% of the time. Some of us have been thrown into using technology we were less familiar with because of Covid, so we’ve put quite a lot in the manifesto about how to get the best out of using various different technologies to support the work that you’re doing, collaboration and sharing.”
[17:05]

Dialogue and Transparency

 

“Our social platform Neo is at the heart of everything we do in terms of our communication at Pearson. I think the reason it’s so successful is because it’s about people, it’s not about sending an email or a newsletter, it’s three or four dimensional, whichever way you’d describe it. It’s about being able to have dialogue and transparency.”
[25:55]

Measuring Engagement

 

“I think if we’re asking the question, ‘What’s the business problem you’re trying to solve’, if we can reflect and say that we met that goal, then largely that’s how I measure whether we’ve done a good job engaging and communicating.”
[32:45]

Values

 

“I think values are what ground people. When you go work for an organisation, certainly one of the things that I look at is whether my values align with the organisation that I’m working with. Right now my values align incredibly well with Pearson. That’s why I’m at Pearson, and probably why I’m so happy at Pearson.”
[34:50]

Working smarter

 

“One of the things that our incoming CEO has been really vocal about is saying that you can’t be productive if you work 10-12 hours a day. You’re not going to be at your best, you can’t do that day in, day out. He talks about working smarter, and really leaning into the idea that it’s important to take breaks & use up your holiday.”
[39:25]