Supporting people through the parental leave transition is not just a ‘nice to have’. It’s a lever for competitive advantage. We’re fortunate to work with some incredible companies who understand this, and are witnessing the true cost benefits of investing in this area. SEEK is one of those companies.
As the recently named number one recipient overall of the 2021 AFR “Best Places to Work” awards, it comes as no surprise that “one of the points in SEEK’s entry that drew the judges’ attention was the note that 28 per cent of employees who take parental leave are male, well above the national average of 5 per cent. SEEK human resources director Kathleen McCudden puts much of this down to a decision to extend the period during which employees can take parental leave to 18 months, from 12 months. SEEK pays 14 weeks of parental leave, with the person who is not the primary carer receiving an extra two weeks of fully-paid parental leave. The 9.5 per cent superannuation guarantee is paid on parental leave.
SEEK partners with Transitioning Well which according to McCudden “has been a real game-changer for people feeling very supported. It’s a big shift for people to actually step out of their career and care for a child, figuring out how you stay in touch with the team while you’ve on parental leave and then returning in the right way.” Transitioning Well also supports the manager and the team.
The systemic approach we take as organisational psychologists is evidenced by numerous factors including higher levels of retention, increased engagement, mental health and wellbeing, and job satisfaction. By also supporting managers through the leader session which SEEK provide to any leader who would like it, people no longer have to rely on the “boss lottery”. Mostly, our privilege and passion in working with SEEK is driven by the feedback from our clients- for many in addition to the internal support that SEEK provides, it’s been our coaching support particularly in the last year since the COVID pandemic began, that has truly helped them navigate their transition. Whilst SEEK is a tech company- their approach to human centered support is remarkable. By investing in coaching for anyone who is taking parental leave, SEEK are leading the way to decrease the gender pay gap, limit unconscious bias, and allow people to truly feel like they belong.