Empowering our team to make meaningful career moves

At FreeAgent, we value the wellbeing of our team and aspire for everyone to find satisfaction in their work. We also know that an empowered and motivated team will always do their best for our customers, which is why we encourage everyone at FreeAgent to be in control of their career progression and pursue their aspirations.

For some, there may be a steady and gradual career path within a department, but for others, opportunities may take them in a different direction. To gain some insight into what the latter experience is like (and to glean some of their wisdom), we chatted with a few long-standing FreeAgent folks who have pivoted their careers within the company.

The spark for a career change 

We asked Liam Leask, Fiona Hendrie and Kirsten Zammit what inspired them to make a change.

Liam is one of our senior user researchers. Fun fact: he has first-hand experience as a business owner having run his own restaurant, hotel and bar in the Highlands for almost a decade before joining FreeAgent! His career with us started over eight years ago when he pivoted to accountancy and joined the FreeAgent Support team.

Six years later, Liam had enjoyed his career progression within the team. He explained: “I’d embraced a great period of growth. I was ready to start something new and focus on my personal development - I wanted to learn again.” Liam wanted to continue to work in tech and was happy at FreeAgent, so he set his sights on opportunities to shift his career internally. 

Fiona is our User Experience (UX) Writer on the Design team. She previously worked in the Content team within the communications department for six years.

She said: “The comms team is great. I was lucky that my role grew and developed - which in turn helped my career evolve. It was a great evolution from technical writing to product content. I enjoyed the variety of content I worked on, but had also been interested in UX writing for a while and had been keeping an eye open for new opportunities.”

Kirsten is a product analyst at FreeAgent and has been with the company for five years. She has a degree in software engineering, but also trained as an accountant and was a business owner while living in Australia for 15 years. FreeAgent was an opportunity to combine her unique skill set. Similar to Liam, she also started in FreeAgent Support.

“I loved being part of the team and helping people. I was particularly interested in problem-solving and working on solutions,” she said. After a few years, when she was ready for a change of scenery, she began seeking out internal opportunities to work on the product side of the business.

Testing the waters

As Kirsten explained, “one of the best ways to learn is on the job,” which is why we offer secondments at FreeAgent. A secondment is an opportunity to temporarily work on a different team within the company - a bit like a student exchange program. To encourage our team to explore these excellent learning opportunities, we have a dedicated internal process for secondments and internal moves. 

Fiona was also able to dabble in design while still working in the Content team. She said: “We’re lucky that FreeAgent is somewhere where we can explore interests. Hack Days are a great opportunity for that. I was able to work on a project to refresh the product referrals page, which gave me a learning opportunity to dive into UX writing for the FreeAgent product.” 

For others, there may also be a chance to dip a toe into a new area or specialty outside of work. For example, an opportunity might arise to try out a new skill on a freelance gig. At FreeAgent, we advocate for all freelancers and business owners - including our own - which is why we have a side hustle policy that allows employees to pursue projects in their free time.

Drawing on others’ experience

One of the benefits of shifting careers within an organisation is the accessibility of information and resources for internal research. As Kirsten suggested to others who are looking to make a career move within a company: “Speak to someone who is already doing the job or on the team. Find out what their day-to-day work is like and what skills you would need. If there are gaps - how can you fill them? FreeAgent employs people who want to help, so don’t be afraid to ask - it might spark an idea.” 

Take Liam’s experience, for example. As soon as he read the job description for an opening on the User Research (UR) team at FreeAgent, he thought: “This is the job for me!” But he didn't want to retrain and wondered if his existing skills were enough to make the move and learn on the job.

Liam reached out to the Head of User Research and asked to chat through the job description and if he could recommend courses to help him transition to UR in the future - not only was he supportive, he encouraged him to apply for the job. 

Encouraging a candid culture

We work hard to make FreeAgent a great place to work - which is why we want our people to be fulfilled by the work that they do. If that means making a career move, we’re here to support them. Take Fiona’s experience, for example. “My manager at the time was very supportive of my move. That made the experience stress-free. I felt that whatever happened with the role, my job was secure,” she said. 

Liam had a similar experience when he spoke to his manager in the Support team about his interest in the UR role.

“The conversation was open, honest and helpful. I felt fully supported. It was how you would dream the conversation would go,” he said.

His advice to others who are looking at making an internal career move? “Instead of worrying about it and doing all the thinking yourself, have those objective conversations with your boss. They may even be able to help you with opportunities.” 

Before she moved from support to product, Kirsten applied internally for a business analyst role, but didn’t get the job. However, she was given actionable feedback and was encouraged to apply again. She did exactly that a few months later and went on to be a business analyst until her recent transition to an exciting new position as a product analyst.

The support for career movers at FreeAgent is also reflected in our wonderful Talent team who oversee the hiring process for internal and external candidates. Fiona described her experience: “They were super friendly, open and transparent through the process. FreeAgent is a company that is genuinely invested in their employees - knowing that’s the culture makes it a safe place to explore opportunities.”

Are you ready for your next career move? 

Whether you’re already part of the FreeAgent team or on the lookout for a new career, check out our vacancies to see if your next career move is waiting - we’d love to hear from you.

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