Helping children ‘to be the best they can be’ requires the best staff!

img_0083by Nichola Atkinson, CEO of The Sunflower Trust

Sunflower’s mission to ‘help every child be the best that they can be’ simply cannot be achieved without the right team behind it. In fact, no business can achieve its desired goal by the sheer will of the CEO alone – believe me, I have tried! – it’s people who make the difference.

At Sunflower, we have improved the lives of hundreds of children and I credit that to having high-quality staff.  Many of the parents that get in touch with us do so because either their children are experiencing behavioural, learning or health difficulties or sometimes they just need a little extra help to achieve their potential. It’s hard for parents to watch their child struggle – academically, socially or even on the sports field –  therefore, I need staff with more than a good skillset under their belt, I need staff that are understand the difficulties they are facing and are driven to help improve the lives of these young people and those of the family.

Through Mumbu, I am lucky to have found, what Nick might refer to as, “hidden gems” and I do my utmost to keep them. I chose Mumbu as my preferred recruitment method because its ethos resonates with my own – It’s effective and flexible. To my mind, it’s smart to offer flexible working – it’s good for business because it attracts high-quality people and it’s good for staff because it allows them to manage their work-life balance in a way that serves them best, which should not be compromised.

As the CEO, I simply don’t have time to wade through a pile of white-washed CVs that tell me nothing about the person behind them. What I liked about Mumbu was that it allowed candidates to pitch to me in their own style. A prospective candidate could quickly and easily learn about what we do and, if our mission resonated with them, extend an invitation to connect, or vice versa. I didn’t need to provide a narrow definition of a job or be the recipient of a narrowed-down list of candidates, I could simply cast my net wide and catch the best local talent.  Indeed, on one occasion I didn’t even know I was looking for another member of the team until I couldn’t let the skillset slip through my fingers!

I need staff to very quickly get up to speed, be on the same page as the charity’s mission and to demonstrate understanding and empathy for the desperate families who contact us.  Not only that but they need to be creative, think outside the box and deliver so much more than just being a member of staff – the key for me is finding the right person.  The Sunflower Programme is an innovative, holistic and complex approach for helping children to be more integrated by balancing the brain with the body – it has far-reaching effects on the way a child moves, feels and behaves.

One of the greatest pleasures of my job is bearing witness to the transformation the programme can make in a child’s life.  Seeing the difference good health can make in classroom behaviour underlines my belief that a good work-life balance in adulthood lends to more productive employees.  We want children to enjoy as much of their childhood as they possibly can and, to this end, I want staff to be productive for as much of their working time as they possibly can. This includes me!

Thank you for the gems, Nick!

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