By Jamie Niss, sales director, US and Georgie Haig, global product lead – Identity
Inclusivity and diversity programs have taken the spotlight over the past few years with almost every company looking to commit to making the workplace more diverse and removing biases.
And the idea behind making workplaces accessible to everyone is fantastic – but even with the best intentions, it’s extremely hard to create change. How does that change usually happen? Usually a group of people, consisting of board members and HR teams, get together to decide on their strategy and then develop policies that look good on paper for prospective hires and current employees. But this may not be the best way to increase inclusivity or help to tackle diversity issues.
So, how can you understand the actual concerns and needs of employees? Ask them.
That’s what we did.
Launching the Inclusion and Diversity Committee
We created a committee of employees from all over the world to join a group that would actually make change. People from offices all across the world applied and went through a competitive application process, which included pitching an inclusion and diversity initiative that mattered to them to become part of the committee.
In April 2020, the committee began its meetings and we decided on the goals for the next year, which included inclusion, allyship, and bias training for all MiQ employees as well as a focus on diverse hiring and inclusive policies. The committee has a seat at the table to help make sure decisions and communications are inclusive, as well as guide the internal inclusion surveys and I.D.E.A. Reports.
One of the first policies that the committee helped to enact was the addition of two annual global inclusion days for every employee to take as they see fit. Employees can take these paid days off to celebrate religious or cultural holidays, support a cause they are passionate about, or for a mental health day.
The committee was just getting started.
Parental leave policy change
One key observation from the committee was that we had room to be best-in-class, more inclusive, and consistent globally when it came to the leave we were offering new parents and caregivers of children. Creating an inclusive policy was a challenge and one that we really wanted to get right. The committee started with two goals for this policy change: to ensure MiQ is a company that supports our employees through all stages of their lives and to drive equity and consistency throughout our global business.
The old policies were more than most standard offerings, but they created inequity between birthing and not-birthing parents. We knew we could do better than that. We wanted to make this life transition easier and help eliminate barriers to family leave and time to bond with a new child. It doesn’t matter if you are the birthing parent, an adoptive parent, or a mother, father, or grandparent: everyone is eligible for this policy.
Since parental leave policies vary everywhere in the world, we wanted to put together a plan that would be based on heart and not local laws, and then make them available to all employees, equally.
What benefits did the committee come up with? Here are the highlights of the enhanced parental leave policy:
- Six months paid leave for all parents who bring a new child into their home, with all new parents strongly encouraged and supported to take a minimum of 4 weeks off.
- All employees are eligible, regardless of whether you are the birthing or non-birthing parent, or if the child comes into your home through fostering, adoption or surrogacy.
- Your base salary and bonus are eligible for the whole six-month period, converting to local government benefits (if applicable in your region) for months seven through twelve. Commission/GP share accrues for the first three months you are on leave.
- New training and support options for parents and managers to ease the transition back to work as a working parent.
As a people-first business, we created this policy out of the desire to support employees when they become a caregiver to a child and to help them have a positive return to work experience. We are incredibly proud to offer a best-in-class parental leave policy to all employees.
Diversifying the committee
The I&D committee has plans to make the committee even more diverse. We want to expand the group to include representation from more countries and people with even more varied experiences so we can understand the needs and wants of every MiQ employee.
Our work is just starting and is ever evolving as we try to make MiQ a more inclusive and diverse place to work. Our work is deliberate and intentional. And we aim to continue to create positive change both within MiQ and in our industry for people from all backgrounds.