This article was originally published as an interview with WORK180.
Meet Cathy Langman, Director at CGI, who not only found an incredible work-life balance through job sharing but also experienced amazing career progression and a culture of shared values.
You’d think in a company of some 90,000-plus employees spread across the globe, it might be easy for you to start feeling like just another number. This feeling would surely be even more probable when you throw in the fact you’re sharing one full-time role with a fellow employee.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth for Cathy Langman, who not only found great work-life balance through a job-share arrangement, but found amazing career progression opportunities, and a culture of positivity and shared values.
Cathy is now Director, Consulting Services Delivery Manager at one of the world’s largest IT and business consulting firms, CGI, and she shared with us all the little things that made big impacts on the success she’s found.
Making a job-share arrangement work
“I was on three days; my partner was on two days. We did handovers, managing the same team of people, with the same outcomes. It went smoothly. The lady I was job sharing with was very skilled too so that also helped.
We job shared for several years, then we both grew our hours and speared off into new roles. But I still worked part-time. I was able to work part-time (a four-day work week) right up until my son finished school.”
Cathy tells us that despite the role being divided up like this, she never felt like half an employee.
“The company always considered us as individuals, even if we were doing one job. We were always both included in communications, and both asked to give feedback and both exposed to opportunities to be involved.
“I never felt neglected or not considered when it came to the decisions made affecting our role.”
Growing her own career
While Cathy’s career with CGI started with the role she shared as a support services manager, her career has continued to grow, shifting into managing and maintaining client relationships more directly.
In her current role – now at the Director level – Cathy is responsible not only for ensuring the delivery of services to clients, but for looking after the teams and individuals rolling out those services. Cathy describes maintaining these networks over many years, as the highpoint of her career.
“I think I’m most proud of having built relationships with clients through long-term engagements – some of them as long as 20 years. Continuing to earn their trust and their business is something I’m proud of. I also think I feel a lot of pride when I see people I originally recruited progress through the organisation and see them succeed.”
Cathy has no doubt CGI’s firm commitment to diversity and flexibility in the workplace has enabled her to operate in a way that is in line with her values and her people-oriented approach to her work.
Nailing values to the wall
During our chat with Cathy, we discussed how important the values for the business were to her and she was actually able to point to them printed in large bold letters on the walls of her office:
- Partnership and Quality
- Honesty and Integrity
- Intrapreneurship and Sharing
- Corporate Social Responsibility
It was clear the company’s commitment to these values meant a lot to her, and that the values themselves aligned with her own.
“I think I find partnership and respect particularly big points of alignment for me. If we can partner with our clients, we can really bring them great value. Emphasising respect and cooperation to provide the service our clients need is how I work. I want to help other people and bring something good to people.”
How company values are lived every day at CGI
Cathy is reflexively guided to ensure all sides of a given transaction or project are being included, and that their voices are heard and valued. Finding ways to align often differing approaches, and a range of agendas and intended outcomes, is not always easy, she says, and requires patience and dedication to a goal.
And when she needs help to find the right approach, Cathy has been supported with plenty of training and resources.
“This information isn’t of course telling us how to make decisions, or what decisions to make – but offers guidance on how our values can inform our decisions.”
Cathy singles out the willingness of management to lay a variety of projects and opportunities out for their managers to ensure the broadest possible range of training and experience across the company’s vast operational landscape.
“Being allocated different accounts at different times, experiencing different aspects of the job has helped me to grow,” she says.
And the flexibility options she’s had laid out too has meant Cathy has been able to see her children grow up while she herself has grown her career. Now with an elderly parent who needs care, she is even more grateful for the flexible and adaptive environment the company has provided.
For Cathy, the value of such a culture is that it is human centric and sustainable.
“We really do respect all people, with zero tolerance for discriminating on gender, nationality, or disability for instance.
“We’re very keen for people to develop and grow, no matter if you’re full-time or part-time, or job-sharing. Our company really cares and is supportive with flexibility to meet the needs of your life while still working and growing professionally.”