Ideas for From building upon national leave standards to paying employees thousands of dollars to quit. These companies are doing HR policies differently.
When was the last time your organisation spruced up its policies? Check your HR policies against some of the most progressive businesses and bring your people management into 2019 with these changes, both small and large.
Companies that embed creativity within their culture and carve out time for employees to work on passion projects can have a better chance of retaining inventive employees.
A positive case study comes from 3M, a manufacturing company, which allocated 15 per cent of their employees paid time to work on their own innovative ideas. This policy birthed one of the most well-known stationary items to date, the post-it note.
Funnily enough, this entrepreneurial policy is not new-age. It’s thought that Gmail, Google Maps, Twitter, Slack, and Groupon all started as side projects under similar policies.
If you do add this policy to your organisation’s agenda, encourage participation by getting emotional buy-in from all managers and facilitate check-ins to see how employee’s projects are tracking. 3M do this with an annual “science fair” like event, where employees showcase their ideas and collaborate with others.
A bite size approach
While it may encourage innovative ideas, not many companies can shoulder the financial burden of a full-fledged creative policy. That doesn’t mean you can’t utilise the thinking around it. Why not choose an afternoon, perhaps one day a month, to encourage your people to let their creative juices flow?
Look after working parents
The Australian government’s paid parental leave scheme allocates up to 18 weeks of leave (on the minimum wage) for primary caregivers following the birth or adoption of a baby with secondary carers offered two weeks.
To win the war for talent, many companies offer more than the national standard to attract future working parents, but who’s doing it best?
According to a report released by Work 180, there are four organisations in Australia that stand above the pack.
Taking the top spots for primary carer parental leave policies are: Adobe, Buildkite, Laing O’Rourke and the University of Adelaide. All of them offer over 26 weeks of parental leave. They are closely followed by Edith Cowan University, Atlassian, Code Barrel and Microsoft, which all offer between 20-25 weeks. The best employer for secondary care givers is Buildkite, offering between 10-15 weeks.
Putting these policies in place has not only helped to protect new parents’ creativity, motivation and career, but helped to foster a company-wide culture of equality, empathy and support.
When you first join a company, you can’t usually access all its policies from the beginning. This is due to minimum tenure policies and while they will vary from place to place, the average wait time is 12 months. In some circumstances this can be quite challenging, such as when an employee falls pregnant within their first months on the job.
To overcome this barrier, some organisations are reducing (or abolishing) minimum tenure, allowing working parents to access this leave from day dot.
A bite size approach
While many organisations don’t have the resources to increase their leave policies, there are smaller changes they can make to keep up with those setting the pace. The Work 180 report suggests: child care assistance, breastfeeding rooms, ‘keep in touch’ programs, information on returning to work, stillbirth policies and opportunities to self-manage schedules.
There are some rare HR policies that, for those of us not working for a Silicon Valley tech-giant, often feel out of reach. Let’s call them “unicorn policies”.
Amazon, who are the innovators of many unicorn policies, offer their staff thousands of dollars to, wait for it…. quit their jobs. It’s called “Pay to Quit”, giving unhappy workers an easy out.
This idea was born from Zappos’ “graceful leave policy” (Amazon acquired Zappo in 2009), which apparently offers new staff a month’s salary to leave within three months of their start date if they’re not the right fit. This is an interesting way to make up for wasting someone’s time.
Amazon’s approach is different. According to an article from Business Insider, Amazon offers up to $5,000 for staff working in their warehouses to leave the organisation, with a memo titled “Please don’t take this offer”.
According to CEO Jeff Bezos, the purpose of this policy is “to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”
You might be surprised to know that Amazon claim that only a “small percentage” of staff have taken up this pay to quit offer.
A bite size approach
What could you offer your people that’s out of the norm but not out of your budget? Employee preferences will vary from business to business, so it makes sense to identify the sore points of most of your workforce and help to alleviate them. You don’t have to cut down on hours or provide unlimited leave to be progressive, you just have to listen to what your employees want and work within your means.
What kind of progressive policies does your organisation have in place?
Need a little more support with HR but not sure where to start? We also offer a free HR Health Check – where we review all your HR documents, processes, contracts to ensure they meet HR Best Practice and most importantly legally compliant. This can be completed online by uploading your documents or via email if you prefer. We then supply a report detailing your current HR compliance and suggested changes plus list any new documents you may require.