Having 26 weeks of paid parental leave after having a baby is something most new parents only dream of, but that is exactly what Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers both mothers and fathers with their new parental leave policy.
HPE’s program, ‘Work That Fits Your Life’, is an enhanced benefits initiative that aims to enrich the personal wellbeing and work-life balance of their employees through workplace flexibility, family leave and returnships. Their improved parental leave policy is apart of this initiative.
Any employee that has been at HPE for a year is eligible for the leave, which can be taken at any time within the first 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child.
Further to this, HPE’s ‘Parental Transition Support’ incorporates a flexible work arrangement policy that offers new parents the opportunity to work part time for up to 36 months after their child’s arrival.
“Being able to support our new parents to spend longer paid time with their family, and still have the company support their career is something we prioritised to ensure we continue to attract and retain the talent we need and continue to drive our strong culture with a focus on our people. HPE introduced the new policy to ensure that we were more family-friendly for employees, allowing them to develop their careers and grow families simultaneously.”
– Rob James, Field HR Lead Hewlett Packard Enterprise South Pacific
In addition to the parental leave policy and in keeping with the company’s commitment to supporting employees in their work-life integration, HPE offers ‘Wellness Fridays’, where one Friday a month employees are able to leave work three hours early, as well as ‘Career Reboot’, which offers job opportunities and training for employees who left the workforce for an extended period – for example, to raise a child.
Development of the parental leave policy involved a series of focus groups that facilitated discussions on how the employee workplace and commuting experience could be improved, with a particular focus on whether the previous paid parental leave program was meeting employee needs.
During the roll-out of the new policy, senior company leaders were vocal in their support and human resource leaders hosted briefing sessions with all HPE employees.
The employee response has been overwhelmingly positive, says Rob James, Field HR Lead Hewlett Packard Enterprise South Pacific. The first employee engagement survey conducted since the policy was implemented found that overall engagement was up 13 points.
“I would confidently say it has had a positive impact on our engagement and culture,” says Mr James. “[This is] especially as we are a predominately sales organisation. The fact that we are offering guaranteed OTE (on target earnings) for the period is something that employees really appreciate.”
Like any new policy implementation, it was not without its challenges, but these were solved with careful planning phases.
“Being a global organisation, naturally there were variations of the existing employee policies in different countries,” says Mr James. “So we needed to ensure there was a phased roll out from the initial launch in the United States, as there was some work to be done in the initial setup for the back-end processes and policy details. For example, in Australia we have the government 13-week leave, so it needed to be clear how this works alongside HPE’s own company benefit.”
The implementation process was further enhanced through a strong communication plan, tailored resources and training and education around the uptake of the policies by employees.
“Do the research. Talk to your employees on their challenges and goals to better understand how to best support their life and career. This then forms the platform to build the best policies and programs that will have the most positive impact on their lives, and allows the business to continue to deliver on its goals in a strong and supportive culture.”
— Rob James, Field HR Lead Hewlett Packard Enterprise South Pacific