When Kathryn Lescure moved from a private sector role into the HR department at Leicester City Council in 2005, it was a totally new career direction for her. Here, she talks about the difference in culture – and why she enjoys her work so much.
What first attracted you to the council?
I’d worked in banking for 15 years and was looking for a new career where I could use some of my existing skills and would be likely to have long-term job prospects.
I knew very little about the council, other than a basic knowledge about some of their services, such as waste collection and council tax. I also had no HR experience, having previously worked in customer services, projects, payments and audit. Fortunately, the council were flexible about the knowledge and skills I needed, so I could apply despite having zero HR experience.
What’s the work atmosphere like at the council?
It took me a long time to adjust to the culture at LCC – it was entirely different to what I was used to in the private sector. There was a lot less pressure and I enjoyed having the time to think and do things properly, without having so many demands, targets and strict deadlines looming over me the whole time.
I also enjoyed a higher salary than in my previous job, despite feeling far more relaxed and having fewer responsibilities – for example, I was no longer managing staff, which was very liberating. I honestly couldn’t smile wide enough!
What do you enjoy most about working here?
I genuinely love my job. I work with managers and directors across the whole authority and enjoy learning about the different services, environments and challenges. The diversity of my work is incredible and I’m constantly learning.
I also enjoy the freedom that my job gives me – I can plan my own time and prioritise my own activities, I’m trusted to make my own decisions, and I can agree my own deadlines with the people I work for. I enjoy feeling empowered and respected.
What makes it a great place to work?
The biggest advantages for me have been job satisfaction and flexible working arrangements. Over time I’ve largely been able to adjust my working hours around my childcare arrangements. Having the flexibility to work from home – especially if my child is ill or I’m expecting a delivery or a repair – is very helpful.