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A Week in the Life: Living and Working Abroad with SHL

Desiree Grant is a senior account manager for SHL, working in Auckland. In this blog she shares her experience of moving and working abroad with SHL.

Moving to New Zealand from South Africa was a bit of a culture shock. The Kiwis really value their work-life balance, which is quite a change from Johannesburg where everyone lives to work. Now, my home is so close to work I can walk or cycle to the office in 20 minutes, so I am at my desk by 8 or 9am at the latest.

New Zealand was lucky not to have been badly affected by the coronavirus, so we all returned to the office not long after the first strict lockdown. Because I work with clients in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, no two working days look the same. I meet some clients face-to-face, but I also communicate a lot online, as many of the people I work with are overseas or based outside of Auckland. It helps that New Zealand is ahead of the rest of the world in terms of time, so I can schedule calls for later in the day to work around time differences.

The first part of my week is often occupied with account management, perhaps undertaking quarterly business reviews, checking in with clients to see how they are doing or making sure they know about our latest products. SHL always focuses on what is right for the client. It is strongly built into the culture of the business wherever you work in the world.

A proportion of every week is dedicated to winning new business, following up leads, and talking to potential new clients. I was once a client of SHL myself, so I know how it feels to be on the other side of the fence. I heard of SHL when I was studying psychology and brought in SHL assessments when I was working in HR for a law firm. But I had always wanted to work for the business itself, so I leapt at the chance of a job with SHL in South Africa in 2011.

SHL always focuses on what is right for the client. It is strongly built into the culture of the business wherever you work in the world.

An ambition of mine was to live and work abroad and moving to New Zealand with SHL has taught me a lot about myself. I came to a new place on my own and discovered there are subtle differences about working in different countries even when you speak the same language. We work with teams across multiple time zones, but though it is a global entity, SHL manages to maintain a strong sense of community. There is no one-upmanship and it is refreshingly free of office politics, so you can always reach out to people.

On Fridays, we usually focus on internal issues, brainstorming between the Australia and New Zealand teams or undertaking internal learning sessions. It is inspirational and a good way to round off the week. Then, in my spare time, I take advantage of all the outdoor activities this beautiful country has to offer. I have been taking surfing lessons and I also love cycling, hiking, yoga, and indoor rock climbing. I recently discovered audiobooks and listen to those to wind down. It is a good way to stop the inner monologue and relax.

SHL has been very supportive of me both professionally and personally. They moved this South African across the world to work in a job with a global reach. They demonstrate huge faith in their people and I, for one, am grateful for the chance it has given me to grow. The opportunities are there. It is really up to you what you make of them.

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headshot desiree grant


Desiree Grant

Desiree studied industrial and organizational psychology at university in South Africa, then worked in HR before joining SHL’s office near Johannesburg as a consultant in 2011. Four years later, she became part of the Global Enablement Team, offering support to SHL’s commercial teams worldwide. In 2018, she moved to Auckland, taking up a position as a senior account manager.

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