How dynamic working allows Leidos' Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant and keen golfer, Toby Burden, to work hard and play hard
In 2013 Leidos' Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant Toby Burden had just qualified for the European Challenge Tour and his career in professional golf seemed well underway. Then, shortly afterward, injury derailed those ambitions, and by early 2015 he'd had to make the difficult decision to retire from professional golf.
“I just couldn't play at the level I needed to anymore," Burden explains. “So, I realised I needed to make a decision on how I was going to make a living, and that got me into working at a recruitment agency."
For many months Burden found himself struggling to adjust to enjoying golf again. It was only after some conversations with his Dad, a passionate amateur golfer, that he realised that he could rebalance what he wanted out of life in a way that made time for golf as a hobby, rather than a vocation. Then, in September 2015, watching a replay of Tiger Woods' iconic winning shot at the 2005 Masters Tournament provided the spark he needed to step back onto the green.
“Golf has always been my passion, but when it was also my job, my focus was just about golf all the time," Burden explains. “Mentally, it had gotten to be too much. But that afternoon, I thought I'll get my wedge back out. I went out to the club and just spent 45 minutes chipping around like I was 15 years old. I'll never forget that feeling of freedom from the pressure of being a professional and being able to just enjoy the game for what it is again."
That's not to say that Burden can't handle pressure. Since joining Leidos in early March, he's been helping build up the new UK talent acquisition team and bringing down the number of unfilled positions across the country. But what matters to Burden is the feeling that, while people at Leidos may work hard, they all share an appreciation for the fact that people have lives beyond the office.
, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant
Since pretty much the moment I joined Leidos I realised that people here are very respectful of who you are and they are genuinely interested in your personal life," He explains. “I never really experienced that kind of culture in the agency world because it's all about money which never sat well with me.
While Burden now appreciates having the freedom to separate his work and his passion, he still brings his competitive enthusiasm into his amateur golfing campaigns. This year, he has won seven tournaments, three of them at the elite amateur level including the world-ranked Gerald Micklem cup.
Beyond the support that Burden receives from his manager and fellow team members in pursuing his passion for golf, Leidos' flexible working arrangements are vital in helping him make it to these tournaments and to fit in the practice time he needs to play at his best. And while this supportive and flexible environment stands in sharp contrast to the cut-throat agency culture he was used to, Burden firmly believes that it makes for much better recruitment outcomes.
“At Leidos, we're our own client, so it's not just about making money, it's about working together to make sure we find the best person for the job," he explains. “And because we've built that trust that we will deliver the right person the first time round, we have the kind of mutual respect that helps the whole company to move forward."
Flexibility is a core element of Leidos’ employee value proposition – the company has been empowering people to work flexibly for years.