Education website Coursesonline has an open and inclusive approach to its working carers benefits strategy.
The organisation, which has 69 employees globally, believes that a one-size-fits-all approach would not work for its employees and is very much open to being led by its employees.
Sarah McQueen, managing director at Coursesonline explains: “[Organisations] need to understand what their [employees’] challenges are and what they need in terms of support. Employees need to be able to fulfil their role and their caring responsibilities, and I think we’ve moved away from presentism as a barometer of how well people do in their job. Actually it’s more about understanding what objectives and development goals they have, what’s realistic and what’s achievable, and then making sure they have that autonomy to manage their day, however they see fit.”
The organisation has a number of benefits in place for employees that have caring duties including three months paid leave for primary caregivers, one month paid leave for secondary caregivers and the ability for parents to ‘pass the baton’ on primary carer’s leave and share the leave as they see fit. However, if employees fall outside of this remit, they will still get the flexibility and support they need. “If someone has a situation they need to manage which is very important to them, something that they care about, we would be flexible,” says McQueen.
“We would come up with an agreement or arrangement to help them to do that, for whoever they want to support. There’s no red tape or shut door policy. We’ve had people who have wanted to go travelling or take a much longer sabbatical, for example. We have people who want to go away and do specific training for learning and it might take them off the job for a couple of days per week; we’re fully supportive of that.”
The organisation has an ethos of nurturing and investing in talent. McQueen is quite clear that it will be adaptable to avoid losing employees that are a really good cultural fit for the business. “[If an employee] is on that trajectory and they’ve had really good performance reviews, and they’re a really good team fit, we would work on a solution that worked for them. It’s about the talent and [we] want to workaround what they want from life.”
Coursesonline has an inclusive flexible and remote working policy. In the UK pre-Covid-19, employees worked at least three days in the office but managed their own time, and recently the employer has asked employees whether they would like to return to the office or not after the pandemic is over.
“It’s very much about people managing [their] own time and that making sure [they’ve] got really good objectives set and development goals. If people meet that, it doesn’t matter how they structure their day,” McQueen added.