Alice in Abcam: A workplace where flexibility is no dream

August 22, 2023
workplace flexibility

Some companies are places where you just turn up, do your job, and then escape. Others are like an extension of a supportive family.

For Alice Faisali, Abcam is clearly the latter.

As Alice explains, her life and professional career have wound many loops, yet Abcam has supported her to explore new possibilities, start a family, and always feel welcome.

“I was with the company for three years the first time around, then I left Abcam to go to a very different HR role, setting up a HR function for a small media agency.”

The role didn’t work out, but Alice was welcomed back to Abcam with open arms.

“When I came back, I saw that all the things I still loved about Abcam remained: rapid growth and the excitement of constant change made sure the role didn’t feel like a backward step.”

And the rest is history. Seven and a half years and a couple of parental leaves later, Alice has seen the company change and grow in many ways. However, the most interesting part of her story is the how the identity of the organization has remained the same throughout her career.

The company that keeps giving

So, what has kept Alice, who is now Head of Human Resources (Sales, Service and Marketing) at Abcam

Alice explains it’s all about healthy challenges, good people and “the secret sauce”.

She explains that each time she was away, whether it was to take parental leave or while she worked elsewhere, there were a lot of changes at the company. But the essence of the company stood the test.

“The number of employees grew, structures changed, but the culture remained; inclusive, friendly, challenging, and ambitious! I think the underlying thread that pulls people together has remained the same.

“That sense of togetherness is often referred to as Abcam’s ‘secret sauce’.”

If that sounds a little mysterious Alice is happy to explain that it’s actually quite simple:  

workplace flexibility

“It just means that everyone cares deeply about the company mission and works so hard to ensure our customers get what they need from us.”  

Finding a personal path 

For Alice, the personal rewards of her time at Abcam have been immense. She tells us this is largely because she has always felt encouraged to evolve and grow too. 

Independence, she says, is something she has always sought in a workplace and she has found that at Abcam.

“I knew this was the right company for me when I could see that I had real autonomy in the work I did.”

Do you want to discover the flexible working and parental leave benefits Abcam employees have access to?

Check out their employer pages 

Alice says she has always felt she has complete support and backing from her manager and the team around her. 

a photo of Alice Faisali

“From leading a cross functional project to enhance family leave or leading a global restructure, I have always felt I was backed professionally as well as personally. I have been encouraged to step out of my comfort zone and offered the safe space to push myself.”

A central factor in this supportive environment has been how Alice’s family growth has been factored in by the company, allowing her to continue her career path. 

“I was promoted to the role I’m currently in whilst I was pregnant, and I was then welcomed back from parental leave to support a new leader in the business.”

 Family life is important for Alice, and her kids definitely keep her on her toes. 

“My two children keep me pretty busy. I also love all things creative. Recently it’s been macramé and glass bead making!” she adds with a laugh. 

Paying it forward

That Alice can manage such a rich home life is testimony to the support she has received from her workplace. Her role also allows her to help maintain the culture that supports employees to set their own agendas within the frames of company requirements.  

She says it’s one way the company keeps moving and staying ahead of the curve, ensuring employee satisfaction. 

“Every year at Abcam has felt like a new role, change is constant, which I love. We have continued to improve, scale, and develop who we are to support our people. 

“On a personal level, we have brought in global family leave policies, hybrid working arrangements, and set up a number of Employee Resource Groups, to name just a few of our initiatives.”

She tells us that such programs are helping to create a truly inclusive and flexible workplace, where everyone feels valued, and problems can be addressed collectively. 

workplace flexibility

“The ERGs are a great example of people coming together to share experiences, perspectives, and make things better. They’re a way of acknowledging we haven’t always got everything right. 

“That willingness to learn and improve is part of the company’s DNA. I support a very diverse and global team at Abcam, and I love hearing differences being celebrated and people learning from one another.”

For those worn down by workplaces that favor grind over grace, competition over compassion, Abcam is surely something of a wonderland. And both Alice and her employers are making sure it’s no fantasy

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About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

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