Professional services firm EY takes a long-term approach to supporting working parents. It is mindful of the life events that many of its employees will experience during their time at the organisation, which includes starting a family.
Its approach is made up of a number of components to ensure that it is able to respond to employees’ changing home situations and offer them a high level of support.
Maggie Stilwell, managing partner for talent at EY, says: “One of the first elements we offer working parents is flexible working. For all of our people, at whatever level of the organisation, we are empowering them to make sensible, individual decisions around how, when and where they work.
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“Flexible working is very much used by our working dads, not just mums. It’s something that draws people to EY because they hear of people doing it, and being supported doing it, and how that makes a difference to their ability to manage a family.”
EY also offers all its working families access to its parents’ network – just one of its 14-plus employee networks. “It offers a variety of topics that are of interest to working parents,” explains Stilwell. “It offers a buddy scheme for when [an employee] returns to work, and speakers, for example, on helping a child to read.”
The organisation also uses the network to consult with staff – for example, when it considered introducing shared parental leave (SPL).
EY launched enhanced SPL policies in April 2015. “It’s still early days but we expect between 5% and 10% of our men who are parents to take SPL, and I think it will snowball,” says Stilwell.
In addition, EY offers coaching sessions for employees before they take up parental leave, during their leave and on return to work. Stilwell says: “It’s about getting a better transition for people as they come out of the workplace, and then thinking about how they return. We manage that transition more successfully for the business and less stressfully for the indivdual.”