I’ve been at Nominet for three years now, having come from nine months with a retail company and 13 years with a previous employer. The Director of HR role available at Nominet was just what I was looking for to be honest, but temptation also lay in the prospect of working for a company with a real sense of ambition; a desire to grow, change and stay competitive. It also meant a lot that this was a profit with a purpose company – Nominet has real integrity and a commitment to making a difference, which was refreshing after so long at my previous workplace.
Within a few weeks of joining in March 2017, it genuinely felt like I’d come home – almost immediately there was a sense of belonging. The people were down to earth and personable, and they all worked hard to bring me into the fold and make me feel welcome. Strong relationships formed so quickly and there are those I can bounce things off or get advice from, while my own team is really supportive; we look out for each other and work through things together. It continues to feel like an engaging and creative environment, and it’s such a pleasure to work in a place where I’m respected for what I do but also who I am as an individual.
Employees can sign up to a lot of perks and benefits when they work at Nominet. The medical cover is probably the one that means most to me; it’s a real security blanket to know that my family and I are covered, and that if anything happens, we can get the help we need quickly. The holiday allowance is really competitive, which suits me as family holidays are a must plus it makes it easy to maintain a good work-life balance. The bonus scheme is great too; if you work hard and achieve good outcomes against your objectives, you’re rewarded for it.
A few months after I joined, we were all whisked off to Hayling Island for Company Day. In my previous company, those ‘away days’ were usually all about work but this one was just phenomenal. We spent two days camping by the water and doing all sort of activities together, from fire walking and building human towers of trust, that totally broke down all the barriers and connected people from across the business. Last year at Company Day, we broke a world record on space hoppers, which was hilarious and bonkers but so much fun, succeeding in uniting us on a quirky task. It was totally inspired! Those are the things you remember and the moments that really bring us together as one company, even when we all have such diverse roles.
It’s the same for our public benefit activity too, and it means a lot to staff that Nominet is committed to making a difference, investing profits into tech for good projects. We can volunteer our time and support in different ways, such as the office fundraising events held to raise money for Children in Need, to supplement the donation Nominet made: £1 for every .UK domain registered in a period of time. The public benefit team focus on supporting young people and helping them to cope with a digital world is something that, as a parent, really resonates. The world my children are growing up in is very different to the one I was born into!
Even though I’m in HR, it still feels like our work helps support the mission. It’s great to be at a company that operates a piece of critical national infrastructure and is a crucial part of the UK’s tech sector looking after over 12 million .UK domains. I’ve learnt so much about domains and cyber security; keeping the .UK namespace and our cyber customers secure is a big responsibility and one that we relish. All this gives my role meaning – I’ve never had that before. At dinner parties I can talk with pride about Nominet and instigate some interesting discussions, far more so than when I worked in retail.
For a relatively small business, the Nominet office has great facilities, like a purpose-built exercise studio, yoga classes, a peloton bike with an app to access activities, showers, and an equipped kitchen and a BBQ which gets a lot of use. It surprised me that all this was available at an Oxford-based company when I joined. It’s the best kept secret in the area!
The experience of lockdown during the coronavirus really reinforced for me that Nominet is a company that lives by its values, such as integrity and accountability. Those values rose to the top when things were looking tough, and the cultural heart of the business proved to be as strong as it claimed to be. When it matters, these values and common goals were evident in abundance and they helped steady the ship. It’s one thing to talk about behaviours and values, but it’s another thing to live them; moments like this are the ones that really matter.