Rebecca Usher takes us through her standard day
My previous role was as an auditor, working with many service industries and so when I joined Mainstay in 2013, it felt a natural transition. When I first started, it was more of an ISO management role and the focus was mainly on quality and environmental management. Over time, my role has blended into other business areas, which need my support, including health and safety, and having strategic and policy input into helping improve Mainstay’s procurement measures.
I’m basically a ‘one-man band’ so my role is to ensure I get my colleagues’ buy into my improvement processes – and make it meaningful to them. Once the new processes are embedded into daily practices, people can see straight away that they are working more efficiently and productively.
My usual day starts at around 8am, where I tackle my first job of the day – planning ahead! Because my role is so wide ranging, I need to make sure I’m on top of everything, so I use an action tracker to keep me focussed. It’s so easy to cherry pick the ‘easier’ tasks and I usually swiftly go through these to keep me motivated and energised to then tackle the much meatier and challenging tasks!
I then have my regular ‘virtual’ meeting with Mainstay’s COVID response steering group. It’s new territory for everyone involved and there is a need for new risk assessment plans, statements to contractors and ongoing communications with our wider people.
I jump into my car to visit one of our developments – The WhiteHouse Apartments in London, where I check in with the site staff, ask general questions about the day-to-day running of the site and see if there are any specific concerns that I can help with.
After a quick bite to eat for lunch, I then have an online meeting with a colleague, who needs some advice involving a one pager on how our internal departments manage fraud. We have anti-fraud mechanisms in place and I’m putting together content for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). I’m finding this project oddly satisfying as I’m absolutely rubbish with my own finances!
My afternoon finishes with me talking to the external auditors about our latest annual company audit. I must confess, the actual audit process has been a real challenge this year! It’s always simpler and more fluid when the auditors are actually on site but I was so impressed with everyone who took part in the process as they wholly embraced these changes and I’m delighted to announce I have just been notified that we have successfully passed!
The auditors were particularly impressed with how we’ve handled COVID and how home working initiatives were implemented in a way that has not dramatically interrupted our company operations.
So, Rebecca, what do you love most about your job?
I love the sheer diversity of the role. I get to work with so many departments and people and so each of my days are never the same. I also love the satisfaction that I’m bringing real improvements – and seeing the results in new certifications for our company. There is a lot of accountability in my role but I’m definitely up for the challenge!