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Day in the life of a

People Manager


Balancing work and wellness, our People Manager, Dominique Koen walks us through a typical day in her role, including her morning rituals and evening wind down. 


Rise and energize

I start each day by enjoying a cup of coffee and trying to immerse myself in nature; when there are waves, I surf; when there aren’t, I go for a trail run; and if it’s too windy, I’ll either do some pilates or indulge in a little extra rest in bed – it’s all about balance!

I’m an early bird and find I do my best work first thing in the morning, so I’m usually at my desk working by 8am. 

Time to get cracking

I catch up with Edd, our Chief Finance and People Officer, most mornings to troubleshoot any issues and set short and medium priorities in alignment with the People strategy. 

Close behind that is Anna, our Office Administrator, and Sydne, our Office Manager and IT Systems Administrator, to discuss any projects or initiatives we’re running in the month – this can include anything from menopause policies, to the internal newsletter, payroll queries, office requests and more. 

While we don’t catch up everyday, I also regularly speak with our Organizational Psychologist, Heather Bingham, on a range of HR matters and this is where I do a lot of my learning. 

Interviews and networking 

External meetings are a regular part of my role too and if we are recruiting for any roles I might be interviewing potential candidates or supporting hiring managers with this process.

Otherwise, I can be found catching up with our Employee of Record in the Philippines or trying to network in the US to support our international expansion. 


Downtime away from the desk 

I usually take a lunch break around 1pm and I always try to get away from my desk, get a bit of fresh air and have a bite to eat.

If I’m working from home, it will be a quick walk around the local common with my two dogs, Molly and Max. If I’m working in the office, I’ll grab some lunch from one of the lunch spots close by. 

It’s not about the length of time for me, but rather what I do with the time that makes all the difference – a quick walk in the sunshine has more value than eating hunched over at my desk.


Project power hours 

I try to keep my afternoons as free of meetings as possible, so I can get my teeth into any bigger projects. The People team currently has a few projects on the go; updating our policy handbooks, wrapping up our mid-year performance appraisal and goal setting cycle, as well getting the businesses training calendar for the rest of the year set up. 

A project we’ve just completed is the third edition of our Culture Book, which shares insight into what life is like at Growth Lending and we love being able to share this when we welcome new joiners. 

The team and I will also spend time crafting tailored onboarding programmes for any new joiners to integrate them fully into Growth Lending life, which we hope will set them up for success.

Last tasks of the day

The last thing I like to do before closing my laptop is to do a final sweep through my inbox and then write a physical to-do list for the next day, which enables me to switch off for my evening ahead. 


Time to wind down 

Like most Capetonians I’m a big nature bum, so a day indoors is enough to have me hightailing to the icy Atlantic for a plunge. 

In the sunnier months, it’s to the beach with Alex, my fiancé, and Molly and Max, my dogs, for a sunset wave or two and our dinner. 

In winter, I opt to cook up something hearty and watch Yellowstone (my current favourite series) with a glass of wine by the fire – cheesy I know!