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14th Mar, 2023

Claire Bacon
Claire Bacon
Job Title
Head of Employer Brand

You began your career with Reed without industry experience. Where did it all begin?

Before joining Reed, my career had taken quite a few turns. I started out as an actor in the theatre, then moved into the NHS and customer services industries, and finally landed in contract management. I wasn’t content at that time and was eager for a change. I met a Reed co-member outside of work who, by chance, said they were looking for someone to join the contracts team (now known as Supplier Engagement).

At that time, the department of Reed was known as RSR Managed Services, and although I had heard of Reed, my thoughts were only that of a high street recruitment agency and I wasn’t familiar with the concept of a Managed Service. After a few months, I became the latest co-member of the Supplier Engagement Team for what is now known as Reed Talent Solutions and flourished under my Manager’s fantastic leadership. Working together as a team, we transformed from an administration hub to a team of experts who built strong relationships both internally and externally.

During this time, I also took the opportunity to invest in myself and completed my PRINCE2 training to become a qualified Project Manager – something I was able to do by utilising Reed’s professional development fund. The support I have received within RTS is second to none – potential is recognised and honed so much, when I had the opportunity to progress in my career, I felt fully equipped to do so.

Now you are working as a Project and Engagement Manager – What does that involve?

Project management in its purest form is simply making sure that something that needs to happen does so as smoothly as possible. Within RTS, that could be implementing a new contract or service, managing a change in contracts such as a renewal, or even managing internal changes or service launches.

We are planners, organisers, and doers; identifying risks, working with others to mitigate them, mapping and documenting processes, and making sure that everyone involved knows what they need to do and why.

If a project team is an orchestra, the Project & Engagement Manager is the conductor. It is our job to know who the experts in each field are, engage with and be guided by them, holding them accountable for delivery. Because of that, we make sure to build strong internal networks, getting to know the best of the talent that Reed has to offer. We are also the initial relationship builder with new Clients, demonstrating RTS’ credibility and skill before handing the relationship over to Account Management.

All in all, it’s an incredibly varied role, and that variety is my favourite part of it. No two projects are the same so there is no way you can get stuck in a rut. It’s a busy role requiring great organisational skills and attention to detail, but if those are your skills then it could be a role you’d thrive in.

Learn more about Iain’s role in the video below!

Outside of your day-to-day work, you also play an important role as a LGBTQ+ ambassador, tell us more about that?

Before I even knew the concept of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging it was my passion.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, a closeted gay kid against a backdrop of Section 28 and the AIDS crisis, and with a disabled parent, so my lived experience has really informed that passion. Working as part of the LGBTQ+ group means that I plan and drive engagement with our Inclusion & Belonging calendar, give guidance and ideas on inclusion, review our policies, and have an open door to give informal support on inclusion questions.

Together with my fellow Ambassadors, I produce and collate our content for LGBT History Month and Pride, ensuring that we live inclusion rather than take performative action. Most of all, I view my role as an opportunity to amplify the voices of others in the LGBTQ+ community who don’t have such an advantage, giving them the opportunity to share their stories.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have built trust with our co-members and was honoured that a trans co-member chose to turn to me as one of the first people that they came out to. Whilst they haven’t reached the point where they are comfortable to come out to everyone, I have been in a position to give them a space where they can be their full open self. This opportunity has shown me how, with a true focus on inclusion, we really can tangibly improve lives through work.