An experienced HR professional has been promoted to drive her national housebuilder employer’s people strategy by focusing on staff retention, development and wellbeing.
Danica McLean has been appointed Group People Director at Vistry Group – which includes Linden Homes and Bovis Homes – and will lead the Human Resources, Resourcing, Payroll & Benefits, and Learning & Development teams.
But that won’t stop the mum-of-two, who has been at Vistry for more than eight years, continuing to take her children to school as she states the importance of flexibility at work.
Danica, who left Slovakia for London when she was 18, said: “Having a career has always been very important to me but I also wanted to have a family. I feel very lucky that I was able to balance both because Vistry has always allowed me to work flexibly around the morning school runs, afternoon pickups, parents’ evenings and other parental responsibilities. In modern times this is what people want and deserve should they need it – for their employer to be flexible and accommodating where possible whether that’s in housebuilding or other sectors.”
Danica joined Bovis Homes – now part of Vistry – eight-and-a-half years ago and said her promotion highlighted that there were more opportunities for women in senior roles in the industry. She added she wanted to ensure Vistry employees love what they do and who they work for, with the creation of many networks within the business, including the newly-launched Women’s Network, which was created by two members of the company’s Learning and Development team.
“Vistry has made a huge commitment to its people and my appointment and the creation of this position is all about developing the potential of the company’s people strategy,” Danica added. “The role highlights Vistry’s vision in making sure employees are at the forefront of decision making and also by ensuring women and those of all backgrounds are given opportunities in senior roles. Vistry wants to invest in our people – it’s a fantastic message for our employees and other stakeholders.
“How the company puts its people first is inspirational. Vistry has grown so much so quickly and it’s keeping people and our family ethos at the forefront of what we do as a business, to ensure we are doing the right thing by our staff and attracting and retaining the best people. My aim is to make Vistry a great place to work for all staff, no matter their background or what role they’re in. I want people to say ‘join Vistry because this is where you should be’. We listen to our people, we act on their feedback and that has a big role to play. People want very different things now than they did before, they want work-life balance, they want a great career, security within their role, and flexibility. It’s not just about job title, salary, their bonus or what car they drive anymore. People want so much more from their jobs these days and we need to keep listening and adapting to what they’re telling us.”
Danica grew up in Bratislava and attended a college of Economics also studying English, German and Russian. After moving to London, she studied English as a foreign language before joining a recruitment agency. Working her way up to recruitment consultant, she worked at a few different agencies before specialising in internal recruitment and then deciding to progress into HR. She worked and paid for the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development qualification she needed and began working for a steel manufacturer as an internal recruiter before taking the role of HR advisor. Danica took redundancy before becoming HR manager at a paper manufacturer. She joined Bovis Homes in 2013 as senior HR officer.
She said: “When I was on maternity leave for the second time, I was made redundant as the company I worked at closed down. Following a one-year fixed term contract role at a large paper manufacturer I joined Bovis Homes. Having worked in manufacturing for years, construction was a very new industry for me. I was excited to be joining a well-known brand – Bovis Homes was a much larger company and I thought there was a much better opportunity for career progression and I was right about that.
“Having worked in the manufacturing industry, I was used to being in male-dominated work environments, so that felt natural. As the years have gone on, people have changed and started questioning whether we should be doing more to attract people of all backgrounds, encourage female progression and recruit more female senior leaders into the business and that’s great to see as we continue to push that. We still have a way to go, not just across the construction industry, and we need to continue to challenge ourselves and each other.”
Danica is married to Steve and they have two boys – Jack, 12 and Harry, 10. The family lives in Maidstone, Kent, and to unwind Danica enjoys holidays, spending time with her family, gardening and walking their dog, a Westie called Lotty, who joined their family during the first lockdown
Vistry’s Women’s Network launched earlier this year and aims to provide opportunities for women to connect, support each other and inspire active involvement within the business, both online and offline, with special events.
Contact: Chris Campbell, Vistry Group, 01242 388713; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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