Employee Benefits Live 2016: Siemens promotes shared parental leave to all of its employees.
With a largely male employee population, representing 78% of its 14,000 UK employees, the introduction of shared parental leave (SPL) in Siemens was quite a cultural challenge.
Addressing delegates at Employee Benefits Live 2016, Wendy Jepson, HR policy and compliance partner at Siemens, explained that the organisation used SPL as an opportunity to further develop and support its working families policies to make them more inclusive and gender neutral.
For Jepson, part of the challenge was to break down what can be seen as a fairly complicated process in order to appeal to employees.
Jepson said: “We try to unpick all the processes, and get it to be a simple policy with simple processes, in a simple form that employees can understand so that it doesn’t discourage them.
“One of the big things I did was I introduced the policy way ahead of time, and I started communication to line managers, and then we targeted expectant parents, male or female, adoption leave, maternity leave. We also did training for line managers through webinars, which covered the whole topic of family leave.
“Flexible and agile working in the workplace is something that we are all going to have to switch on to, because it is becoming far more prevalent in terms of working practices.”
Jepson noted that Siemens now has success stories of employees taking up SPL, including a married couple who both made use of the leave.
She added: “Communication is key; promotion is key. I’m going to be doing a lot more work in this area, just to show we’re serious about it.”