Kit McNiel's Insight on The Sensational Ladies of Plant Attachments10 Mar 2021
Plant Attachments Director kit McNiel shares his experiences working together with the ladies in Plant Attachments.
Following on from todays earlier article for International Women's day, focusing on five fabulous females from our Plant Attachments team we’ve taken the opportunity to catch up with Kit McNiel, the Director of Plant Attachments, to learn more about his experiences in working alongside a female dominated team that challenges gender stereotypes and bias.
So, why do you think the Plant Attachments team has such gender diversity?
"I believe historically there’s been a natural career cycle that many males took, leaving school and taking up a role within construction, usually as an apprentice and then working their way up through the business, often ending up as senior managers, directors and even business owners. Relatively speaking Plant Attachments is quite a new specialism and to my knowledge there is no or little education or apprenticeship that leads directly into it.
So you could say we’ve had more opportunity to lay our own path, building our knowledge and expertise from within. This has come from building relationships with equipment manufacturers, developing our own training courses and adapting engineering skills, rather than a more dedicated career path. This led to a different approach on recruitment for both Mark Graham, the former Director of then Astra Site Services, and myself".
We were able to look at the core skills and personality of any individual, male or female. The learning is very much done on the job.Kit McNeil - Plant Attachments Director
Kit Continued: If, when recruiting for Plant Attachments, you looked solely for people with a background specifically in the products we supply you’d never grow or move forwards. Personality over experience has been a winning formula to grow the team from the start".
Do you think being female has ever been a disadvantage for the women within the team?
"There are times when it has been a struggle to break down barriers and stereotypes. On occasion there can be still an assumption that because the person answering the phone or attending site is female they won’t know the answer or understand the question.
But the best way to abolish this is knowledge and confidence in that knowledge.
You only need to speak to any of the women, or men for that matter, who’ve been with the company for a period of time to realise they are experts and truly know what they’re talking about.Kit McNeil
Our customers have very much come to trust the advice offered by the team and what’s more they have built great relationships along the way. We all love to laugh and that’s one thing that shines through from everyone in the Plant Attachments team. Laughter and trust are key in building any relationship, and you seldom end a conversation with any of the team without having laughed, smiled and trusted the advice given.
The confidence in their knowledge shines through, and believe me they won’t think twice about questioning anything they think is wrong".
And in today's earlier article some of your team shared theirs thoughts and opinions on what it’ has been like to build a career in the industry and work alongside yourself. How would you best describe what it’s like to work with the women in the Plant Attachments team?
"They are all very different personalities, from different backgrounds, yet they most certainly have some key attributes that have aided their success within the industry.
Josie, our Depot Manager overseeing the London depots is fiercely passionate about supporting her team and delivering for her customers. She will make anything happen.
And she’s supported by a fantastic team, including Lisa. I mention Lisa specifically because she’s a real example that it doesn’t matter what career background you come from. Having spent years in a world of weddings and marketing, she joined us with no industry experience. So to see the level and depth of knowledge she’s acquired in her two years here is very rewarding, demonstrating that a positive personality and desire to learn shines through.
Quite the opposite to Josie we have Alex, our Depot Manager in Chadderton. There’s no doubt Alex is the calm one, quietly determined and organised. In her own style she pushes forwards, is incredibly knowledgeable and takes everything in her stride.
Then there’s Joanna, I’m not sure I know anyone more driven, determined and resilient than Joanna. She will go to the ends of the earth to help customers and colleagues and also has more patience than most humans I know. Joanna and Sarah are both Operations Support Managers, and take multi-tasking to another level. Their role means they find themselves working on the widest range of tasks from transport to training and depot cover as well as helping myself with reporting and asset management. So the ability to be organised, proactive and patient are key attribute they both have, as well as having outstanding product knowledge.
It’s a genuine pleasure to work with all the women at Plant Attachments, not just the five I’ve mentioned here. They love to learn, think outside the box and thrive on a challenge. They make me laugh, make our customers laugh and support each other on a daily basis, I regard them all as industry experts and am proud to work alongside them".
Kit McNeil - Plant Attachments Director for Sunbelt Rentals