Pioneer Profile: Meet Victoria Bacon
4th Oct 2023
It’s time that we recognise the people behind the evolving world of work. Our working lives have shifted to being more inclusive, more people-centric, more flexible, and just plain better for both employees and companies.
These changes didn’t just happen: they were put into place and upheld by individuals and teams working to create a better working future for everyone.
So we’re finally putting the spotlight on the people who make great companies great: the people-people.
People-people are crucial to the success of every company. They find you the talent that drives you forwards, and they’ve taken on an increasingly strategic role in the past few years – often taking on responsibility for mental health, diversity and inclusion, culture, EVPs, Employer Branding and team happiness.Read more about the Pioneers List and go behind the scenes to understand how and why we’ve selected our Pioneers.
We were lucky enough to speak with Victoria Bacon, Senior Global Talent & Culture Manager at SilverRail about her career, her experiences with flexible working and building great company cultures, and her hopes for the future of work.
Let’s dig in!
Tell us a little bit about your career history, and how you got to where you are now. What were the key milestones?
I started my career in tech working across IT support, QA, graphic design, and project management. I've always had a passion for tech - but an even bigger passion for people. After travelling across the world to Australia, I was given an opportunity to work in IT Recruitment with the largest agency, Hays.
Like many recruiters, I fell into this role, but mixing my love of technology and helping people find their perfect careers showed me this was where I was meant to be.
After a few years, I was contacted by a start-up company, Mantel Group, in Melbourne who asked me to join them as their Senior Talent specialist to help them in building the company from the ground up. I was employee number 11. Over a year I grew their team to 100 employees as well as got my first taste of people and culture by implementing company values, creating their EVP, and an awesome brand and culture alongside the CPO. This is what ignited my fire for creating amazing company cultures!
When I moved back from Australia, I was given an exciting opportunity to run the global recruitment function remotely from Italy for another tech company, SilverRail!
When did you become interested in flexible working, EVPs and the future of work?
I think it all started when I first entered the world of recruitment. We spend a third of our lives at work and having personally experienced the Sunday night anxiety and unfortunately, also a company where bullying, harassment, and unfair treatment was very real - I wanted to make sure no one else had to experience this.
Work should be a place where individuals can thrive, be excited to start their day, and enjoy connecting with their colleagues. Sadly many companies still don't form this type of environment, so I was driven to make it a mission of mine to encourage and implement these types of cultures and transformations.
I try to implement these cultural transformations in a range of ways; through working with already great companies like SilverRail and helping them to become even better with their commitment to giving their team the best possible experience, or speaking at conferences or on webinars, or by writing blogs on the subject.
I believe people shouldn't have to sacrifice life for work, but they should complement each other. Whether that be how you work, where you work, or what hours you work.
What's the most impactful change you’ve overseen?
Flexibility and giving our team a voice. I say these two together because I believe with these implemented together everything on an individual and company level falls into place.
By allowing our team to work in a way that fosters their own innovation, creativity, and personal lifestyle choices you not only attract the best people to your company, but you as a company will have an engaged, happy, and supported team. But, above all you’ll have trust on both sides.
By giving our team a voice - they feel heard, involved, and know that they are a pivotal part of the business, whilst helping the company understand how we can challenge ourselves to be the very best we can be!
Finally, I’m really proud of the work we’ve done around our EVP and brand. After a lot of internal and external work around marketing, surveying, and regular tweaking and updating of our benefits, I have secured SilverRail a load of amazing achievements in 2023: Great Place to Work certified, UK best workplaces for women, Best Tech UK companies, Global Stevie Awards Silver award for Best Tech company, Global Stevie Awards Gold award for Best Employee Relations HR team, 4th Reproductively responsible company in the world with Hertility, and of course, our Flexification!
What’s the biggest impact flexible working has had on your own life?
Out of the four categories of profiles I see at work - Superstar, Rockstar, Lifestyler, and Socialiser - I'm a lifestyler, so flexibility is crucial to me. I'm driven in my career and want to achieve amazing things - but not at the expense of my lifestyle.
I love to travel and experience different cultures. I've been very fortunate with SilverRail to work fully remotely from day 1 - even before covid when remote working was few and far between.
What’s the biggest challenge of being in your role right now?
A big challenge of the Tech industry is the highs and lows every company in this industry faces and how to navigate those in the most supportive way to the team.
The way I ensure we overcome these challenges at SilverRail is by driving and encouraging clear and transparent communication with the well-being of the team at the centre of our decisions.Amongst this challenge, is also the need to be ahead of the competition. EVPs and Employer Brands aren't created overnight. They constantly need attention, nurturing, and innovation, as well as an awareness of the changing needs of the market and team.
What do you think the next big trend is in working culture?
I think we’ll see a continuation and broadening of flexible and remote working.
Many companies are starting to ask their teams to come back to the office full-time, but I think that will be to the detriment of their business. I do believe that in-person time is important, so I'm very supportive of companies who want to build hybrid or partly in-person working environments, but I am of the opinion that the top companies with the best employer brands will be those that offer the flexibility to choose.
This can look different to each company: giving people the choice in how, where and when they work, what and how they spend their learning and development budgets on, or being able to pick company benefits that matter to them. These companies that offer choice will have the most engaged teams that have the freedom to structure their lives in cohesion with their jobs so that their family, lifestyles, and location can be equally supported.