We sat down with Irish Life’s Simone Macleod-Nairn to find out more about the work Irish Life have been doing to support working parents. Simone also talks about their focus for the coming year “Live Your Life, However Life Shapes You”.
Tell us about your role at Irish Life?
I am the Chief People Officer and Head of Corporate resources for Irish Life Group. I’m responsible for all our people and facilities at Irish Life and ensure we have the best in class employee experience and benefits.
When it comes to driving Employee Engagement, what key initiatives are you focusing on this year for Working Parents?
2018 was an amazing year for working parent at Irish life. We introduced:
- extended leave policies for key moments on the parenting journey
- 26 weeks maternity and 8 weeks paternity leave fully paid
- 3 days leave in the first two years for those unexpected baby sicknesses
- increased annual parental leave entitlements from the age of 8 to 14, ensuring staff can have that balance at home for longer.
90% of parents admit to finding juggling work and parenting stressful, yet only a third of managers are aware of this pressure. What do you think the role of the line manager is when providing support?
We have taken a full journey approach towards our parenting supports and we’ve looked at every touchpoint to ensure it’s as stress free and happy as can be (we are not perfect but making great progress). This includes all managers attending in-person Unconscious Bias training and specific Managing Inclusively workshops via Mumager for those supporting parents. We launched a managers guide and family hub in 2019 to make it easier for managers to access information on the steps to supporting staff to parenthood and the benefits available to them, all at the touch of a button. Without the support of line managers we would not be where we are on our journey.
Can you share the work you’ve been doing with Mumager?
Mumager has been instrumental in accelerating our progress in supporting our parents better. Working with Tracy from Mumager has been so seamless and she has tailored her programmes to meet our needs. We have implemented Mumager’s full suite of workshops across the full parenting journey. These include pre-maternity leave, pre-adoptive leave, managing inclusively, ramp-up workshops from maternity leave and follow-up sessions where we re-visit commitments.
How have the workshops been received? What feedback have you had?
The response from staff has been so positive we are now looking at how we can incorporate our learnings into other business initiatives. Key feedback has been around the reduction in feelings of isolation, more confident to have those tough conversations and recommending the workshops for all parents.
What’s next for you at Irish Life and your D&I strategy?
Our theme for D&I is Live Your Life, However Life Shapes You and focuses on ensuring everyone can find a place where they belong at Irish Life. We are constantly looking for feedback from our staff and what works for them and how we can better support. Our people are the most important part of our business and we want to ensure they are set-up for success so they can give best in class support to our customers and clients.
In 2019, from that feedback, we will focus look at how we can better support family carers, reduce stigma around mental health and focus on attracting talent with diverse abilities to Irish Life.