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Insights Our most 'Supportive Colleague of 2020' on how week keep thriving at Atkins

How Sue strengthens relationships in her HR role

2020 turned the world of work on its head and tested our HR employees like no other. In December, we recognized their hard work, determination and passion. Sue, 'Supportive Colleague of the Year' in our UK&E HR Awards, is one of them. Here's her perspective on how we keep thriving together at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group:
 image of sue smiling
What I do at Atkins

As Security Vetting Team Leader, I oversee the vetting team in processing employee's mandatory checks to the standards set out by the government. This ensures minimal risk when sending resources to clients' sites and ensures we quickly get those individuals on site.
Loving what I do

I've always been passionate about my role, even more so in the last couple of years. I've had the opportunity to reshape vetting processes to become more transparent. Moving forward into the digital world fills me with only positivity. Watch this space!
Winning 'Supportive Colleague of the Year’

I've always enjoyed building relationships with others and would never have expected an award for doing just that. I feel proud of myself for helping others grow in confidence with my team. It encourages me to continue reaching out to those around me, not for validation but because I know I am making a positive change.

It's true that you never see yourself through the eyes of others. But, since receiving my award, I've had time to reflect on the reasons why I was lucky enough to be seen as Supportive Colleague of the Year.

Valuing Relationships

My team describes me as larger than life, not just their team lead but a friend. We have a good line of communication which helps boost productivity amongst the team.  

Responsibility and trust

I believe in sharing knowledge, always being transparent, and I am more of a macro manager, which I feel allows the team to be accountable. In turn, it makes me more approachable when support, advice or queries do arise.

Strengthening virtual connections

Working remotely has become the new normal. We have to take a moment to remind ourselves we are not alone and be mindful of how others may be feeling.

I always encourage virtual bonding to ensure my team stays connected and engaged. It's also important to keep reaching out to other colleagues in the organization. 

I like to suggest to those I communicate with virtually to stick their cameras on. It always boosts morale to see a smiley face on the other end of the conversation. You never know, it might be the only face you or they have seen that week!

Be kind to yourself

It seems utterly crazy that we've been in isolation for a year. I think it hasn't been uncommon to have felt anxious, overwhelmed or fatigued. The advice I give to others, and even myself, is to step away for ten minutes, whether it be a short walk or just time for you.
Before I started at Atkins

I was a housewife for 15 years. As you can imagine jumping back into the working world was somewhat daunting. Started at Atkins, it became clear that everyone was working together no matter what part of the business they were from. It felt like a family and continues to do so.

What keeps me at Atkins

Atkins has a reputation and drive for success in the industry, which is motivating. I have also always felt respected and empowered by our leadership teams. I think the Company's policies, benefits, and flexibility speak for themselves and show me that Atkins really cares for its employees.

Finally, I enjoy working with such a wonderful and inspiring bunch of people across the organization. The ethos at Atkins allows me to be effective and supportive in my role and having such a great team helps.

What Sue's team members have to say

"Sue is committed and encourages us to grow and develop within our roles. She does all that she can to maintain a positive working environment despite us working remotely.

I personally feel Sue has gone over and above anything I would ever expect from a manager. She dropped everything to be by my side for the birth of my daughter. Continuing to support me personally throughout my maternity leave, she ensured that we stayed in touch so that I continued to feel part of the team. This meant my return to work was so much easier. Alongside her own challenges last year, she has continued to be a fabulous mentor, motivator and friend." 
Lauren Butler

"Sue is a great team leader and is always on hand to help and encourage us to do our best. She brings positive energy to our team and is a great role model, a fountain of knowledge, and very supportive. Thank you, Sue!"
Bobbie Unude

"Sue, thank you for helping me transition from Infrastructure to Energy. You gave me confidence in myself and shared all your knowledge. I look forward to continuing to work with you."
Lina Burns

 "Inspiring the team to deliver despite adversity."
Jackie Classen