Juyel, Callum, Nimisha & Brad from our Early Careers community share their experiences as facilitators on our employee networks at Auto Trader.
Tell us about how your career started at Auto Trader and the role you do now
Juyel: I'm a Performance Advisor, and I started initially on the 2019 Graduate Account Manager scheme. My work in the Performance team primarily focuses on the future digital products we provide customers. I spend my time upskilling our Account Managers and helping customers embed the right digital products into their business.
Nimisha: I started as a Content and SEO graduate in 2020. I sit in the Consumer Marketing tribe and work alongside the PPC, social media, CRM (email) and brand team. My day-to-day job includes looking for content gaps - I research the information consumers are looking for to help make their car buying and selling journey easier. Then I create articles for our website, including car reviews, news, advice and guides. I also work on optimising the website to rank well on Google.
Brad: I'm in my second year of the Graduate Account Manager scheme and work within our Sales and Partnership teams. My role so far has enabled me to work in many different areas, understanding a variety of independent and franchise automotive retailers and their challenges. My role as an Account Manager at the end of the scheme will focus on developing and maintaining solid partnerships with our retailers, ensuring they have the tools and insight to succeed on the Auto Trader platform.
Callum: I joined in October 2020 on the graduate scheme (alongside Brad and Nimisha), and I'm now a Business Analyst working in our Product Engineering tribe. My role involves working closely with our developers, designers, product leads and many others across the business as part of our product development teams, who build digital products for our customers and consumers.
What employee network are you part of?
Juyel: I am part of the BAME network. Our purpose is to educate our colleagues and celebrate multi-culturalism. We discuss topics that make us different and alike and help to build bridges in understanding the backgrounds of our colleagues. We aim to help educate and ensure conversations, even if they may be uncomfortable, are had so that we can learn from one another.
Nimisha: I'm part of the Careers Kickstart Network. The network's purpose is to create a community to encourage development, share knowledge and celebrate success. The network hosts various chats, events and meet-ups to help connect people and facilitate meaningful conversations.
Brad: I am part of the Disability and Neurodiversity Network, which means I commit a couple of hours of my week to work towards the network's commitments. The network brings together colleagues across the business to raise awareness and make a difference to our colleagues, customers and communities with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions.
Callum: I'm a facilitator on our LGBT+ Network; the network aims to bring colleagues together to raise awareness and make a difference about LGBT+ issues. Specifically, we help our LGBT+ employees bring their whole selves to work by making Auto Trader a comfortable environment for our community. We are also looking to be part of improving the automotive sector for the community too. We have recently joined as a founding member of Driving Pride, promoting LGBT+ inclusivity across the automotive industry.
Why did you decide to put yourself forward to be a network facilitator?
Juyel: I joined the network during lockdown after attending a session in which a colleague was talking through a personal story of an event that happened in their life. This prompted me to talk about a similar event in my life during the session and led to a conversation with the network lead regarding joining the team. Once I learnt more about the network and how my experiences align, it only made sense to join as a facilitator.
Nimisha: I felt lucky starting in a graduate scheme because it helped me meet people and get exposure to different parts of the business that I otherwise wouldn't have, at least not as quickly as I did. The network's aim is similar – it helps people meet others from different parts of the business. The network also helps employees figure out what their career progression could be like in the next few years and where to get the resources to help with their development. These resources have been really helpful for me, and I thus felt passionate about joining the network.
Brad: Living with a hidden disability myself, I joined the network as a Facilitator to make a difference to both the internal and external community of disabled and neurodiverse people. Navigating a chronic condition alongside building a career I've found can be a challenge; however, the network aims to make Auto Trader a more accessible and inclusive working environment for both existing and new colleagues. As a result, I have been fully supported with my condition at Auto Trader and want to give back by continuing to help support others through the network. Joining the network has also been an excellent opportunity to create connections outside my team, working with people from all different business areas.
Callum: Even before joining Auto Trader, I knew I wanted to make a difference beyond my day-to-day role. I'd done some research before applying and saw some of the fantastic initiatives of the LGBT+ Network, including visiting the incredible Manchester Pride float back in 2019! I wanted to continue educating myself about what it means to be LGBT+, use this to ensure Auto Trader is a great place to work for LGBT+ people and educate others.
What things have you been involved in since becoming a network facilitator?
Juyel: I have taken part in several activities run by the network, the first being a reverse mentoring session with the Non-Executive Directors of Auto Trader. We had the chance to speak to them about lived experiences as someone with a BAME background. This was to help them learn a bit more about our lives but also for us to learn about theirs.
We also created a series called Uncomfortable Conversations. In this series of videos, BAME facilitators talked about topics which may sometimes feel uncomfortable to raise by a non-BAME person.
My most considerable involvement has been leading the annual sponsored fast at Auto Trader during Ramadan. This is a day where colleagues who are not Muslim observe a day of fasting to support their Muslim colleagues and raise money for charity. Last year we managed to raise £2500 and build hand-pumps in rural areas in eight different countries to help provide clean drinking water to them. This year we have raised even more to help provide medical treatment and facilities to war-torn countries.
Nimisha: The network lets you get involved with all kinds of stuff – planning and organising events, hosting coffee chats, connecting and working with people from across the business and more. You can also get creative – you could work on writing blogs, making videos, or writing engaging posts. There's always a chance to put forward your ideas and execute them. It's a great way to polish your different skills.
Brad: Fundraising, monthly coffee chats, and I am currently working on redesigning some of the internal content for our colleagues.
Callum: Since becoming a facilitator, I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to get involved in all sorts of initiatives. I present to all our new joiners as part of our One Auto Trader D+I workshop about what we do as a network and going through some vital LGBT+ issues. I've also been part of pulling together a video series to celebrate Manchester Pride in 2021 and arranged the content for many of our visibility and awareness days.
What has been your favourite part of being involved in your network so far?
Juyel: My favourite part has been the ability to build bridges and educate colleagues. Knowing that my involvement can help inspire someone to learn more or want to get involved in the network is a self-achievement that inspires you to be a network facilitator. It's also being able to experience and support things I would not be able to outside of the network, for example, leading the annual sponsored fast.
Nimisha: My favourite part is working with people from different teams. It's always fun to come together, discuss ideas, and plan events.
Brad: I've been involved with several fundraising initiatives, one of my favourites being when we created a 2022 calendar by collating the photos from our colleagues posted in our AT Pets Slack channel and selling them to our colleagues to raise money for our chosen charity.
Callum: My favourite part of being in the network has been meeting many great people beyond my day-to-day role. There are 12 other excellent facilitators in the network, and I'm lucky enough to meet all our new joiners to Auto Trader by presenting at our One Auto Trader workshop!
What future network events/opportunities are you looking forward to?
Juyel: Currently, we are releasing our revised version of the Uncomfortable Conversations workstream, integrating the recording facilities we now have in the studio of the Manchester office. This has revitalised how we create content and has made a significant improvement. Outside of this, I am looking forward to the Black History Month events we typically organise. We collaborate with Inclusive Companies and run a significant event with many external speakers and a takeover of a theatre room in HOME. This was the first BAME network-related event I signed up for when joining Auto Trader, so it has always been enjoyable to now be on the other side of the event.
Nimisha: We have an upcoming event where all early career employees can meet and chat with some of our leadership team. The aim is to help people learn how to network with senior stakeholders and hear more about our leaders' career progression. It's not common for employees, especially those in early careers, to get the chance to interact and openly ask questions to senior members. Auto Trader provides this unique opportunity to hear from the OLT first-hand about their experiences and plans for the business.
Brad: Looking forward to getting involved with future fundraising events!
Callum: For the last few years, the Manchester Pride has been cancelled due to the pandemic, so we've had to arrange our celebrations virtually, but this year the Pride parade is going ahead, and I'm working with others around the business to organise our celebrations. Pulling everything together will be much work, but I'm massively looking forward to it!
What has surprised you about working at Auto Trader that you didn't know before applying?
Juyel: My biggest surprise was how much Auto Trader encourages employees to be themselves at the workplace. It is a work environment designed intentionally for you to embrace your differences. It is also a place designed for you to carve your career path. I have received much support in aligning and realigning where I want to go in Auto Trader and have always felt comfortable discussing this with my manager. We have a sense of openness at Auto Trader, which probably isn't as clear in other companies, which was a very welcomed surprise I have experienced since joining.
Nimisha: The amount of help available at the company! People at Auto Trader are always happy to lend a hand. Also, the level of autonomy you get to go ahead with your plans and projects – I'm encouraged to pick and work on projects that I want, and everyone in the team is always supportive of what I decide to focus on.
Brad: The one thing that surprised me about working at Auto Trader that I didn't know before applying is how supportive and lovely our colleagues are. Everyone is always willing to help and, as a graduate, support my development every step of the way!
Callum: What surprised me was how our networks are run at Auto Trader. They are employee-run networks; everything we organise and all the content we produce as a network is arranged by our facilitators, not by senior management or a marketing team.