At Hanover, we believe that succeeding in the office and at home are not mutually exclusive and we have many brilliant examples of employees thriving in both environments. We recognise that to achieve Uncommon Balance, our staff need resources, information and support.
Lockdown while juggling home-schooling, childcare, and working from home have put unbelievable pressures on many of us. Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that by April 2020, parents in Britain were each doing on average an additional 3.5 hours of childcare and 1.7 hours of home schooling a day.1 Some 20% of team members at Hanover and The Playbook have been involved in either home-schooling and/or keeping their younger children entertained, whilst still doing great work for clients. Nearly half of our leadership team have young children and have been leading by example when it comes to embedding a culture of working flexibly.
As part of our Inclusion and Diversity Network IN, the Working Parents workstream aims to connect parents across the group to share knowledge, support and experiences. Our flexible working policies provide employees with the opportunity to flex their start and finish times around our core business hours of 10.00-16.00. We have a new hybrid working policy which allows for a combination of office and home working which suits many of our employees, not just parents. Employees also have the opportunity to submit an application for more permanent flexible or part-time working options.
Last year, we were unable to participate in the Back2BusinessShip programme which was put on hold due to the pandemic but we will take part once it restarts. The programme aims to help communications professionals who have taken time out to raise their family, or have had other caring responsibilities, to re-enter the workplace. The scheme includes training modules on topics such as career planning, presentation skills, changes and progress in the world of work they left behind.
We understand that everyone’s needs and challenges are different so to ensure we provide a wide range of support and opportunities to our staff, we have signed up for a corporate membership with CityParents which offers training and other resources to support all employees, not just parents, in their work and home lives.
The pandemic has also provided us with an opportunity to review our existing family friendly policies and develop new ones to ensure that we can support all our employees to achieve Uncommon Balance no matter what stage they are in their family lives.
This includes comprehensive maternity, paternity, and adoption leave packages for employees wishing to start or grow their families. In addition to 18 weeks full pay, expectant mothers are entitled to a £250 (or equivalent currency) maternity wear voucher to help alleviate some of the financial strains associated with raising a family. Similarly, our parental coaching scheme is designed to help parents deal with the practical and emotional challenges they may face at home and at work before and after pregnancy or adoption. Our shared parental leave policy gives parents more flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth or adoption.
THE MATERNITY COACHING I STARTED WHILE I WAS PREGNANT AND STILL CONTINUE HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY VALUABLE – A HUGE HELP IN PREPARING FOR MY DEPARTURE AND PLANNING FOR MY RETURN, I AM REALLY GLAD TO HAVE IT AS A RESOURCE.
Lorna Jennings, MD Hanover Dublin
As a business, we also recognise the importance of providing equally comprehensive support for employees who have suffered pregnancy loss. One in 4 women in the UK experience a miscarriage,2 yet there is a woeful lack of conversation around miscarriage and the workplace. We have built a policy that entitles those suffering from pregnancy loss to support and fully paid compassionate leave in line with those facing any other bereavement.
It is equally important for us to support employees who are receiving fertility treatment, and as a business we provide flexibility and paid time off to employees who are receiving, or whose partners are receiving, IVF or similar treatment.
By creating these policies, we aim to make Hanover a great place for working parents, empowering them to break down the real and perceived barriers that might otherwise prevent them from attaining Uncommon Balance at work and at home.