Hudson Institute recognises that staff have important roles outside the workplace as well as being valued for their contribution towards the Institute’s vision. We strongly believe in creating a work environment which is accessible and welcoming to all staff who have caring responsibilities.
Flexibility – Working from home has become normal during COVID-19, but in medical research there is often no substitute for time spent in the lab. Our flexible working initiative recognises that wherever possible there are significant benefits for the organisation and its staff in promoting flexibility while maintaining productivity. Staff now have the formal option of requesting up to 40% of their hours to work from home.
Parental Leave – The Institute has the provision of up to 26 weeks parental leave depending on years of service. Staff are able to use this leave flexibly, including using it as a top-up if they return part time. 3 weeks of partner leave is also available for new dads to use as they require, to spend some quality time with their new arrival over the course of the first year.
Family inclusive – Onsite childcare is available and, where possible, the Institute aims to hold events during school hours, making it easier for parents to attend. In an effort to encourage the participation of part-time staff we also vary times and days of regular business and social events. In keeping with our family-friendly policy, Hudson’s Employee Assistance Program is available to the families of staff as well as staff themselves.
The initiative has been well received. Staff appreciate the option to have the flexibility to manage work/life balance. It is also an attractive drawcard for new staff when joining the organisation.
Despite being a not-for-profit medical research institute, Hudson is proud to provide 26 weeks paid parental leave. The team appreciate the flexibility they have to use this leave all at once or draw on it when they return to work. This is especially helpful should they want to return in a part-time arrangement and use their paternal leave to top up their previous full-time salary.
Additionally, having child care facilities onsite makes transition easier for new parents navigating their return back to work. The sense of ease knowing that their child is only meters away is always comforting.
One of Hudson’s newest staff members, Connie Honaker, has shared her experience joining the Institute as a part-time employee and a new mother who returned to the workforce at the end of 2020.
Connie joined as our Donor Engagement and Fundraising Manager in July. After applying, she was keen to understand if she could take on the role at a part-time level and continue to be at home with her son at least one work day per week.
As she reflects, “I was keen to move into a role with increased growth and learning and that would challenge me to expand my skill-set, but would also be manageable with my personal commitments. Taking time off to have a child was an important and special time for me, but I wanted to continue to excel in my career and still have my own identity outside of being a mother too.”
She goes on to remark, “However, it’s a nerve-wracking process to present yourself as a candidate for a role when you know you have restrictions in your time and capacity when others might not, and easy to limit yourself to staying in your current workplace where your work-life commitments are accommodated as they stand and you’re in a routine, even if you have aspirations to keep progressing in your career.
Despite the nerves, Connie explains that the recruitment process for the role put her at ease, and made it clear that this phase of her life could be accommodated and was seen as a very normal situation. As she says, “From the hiring process and interview to joining the team, I have never felt like I wasn’t valued or treated the same because I am a working parent with shorter hours, and instead it’s been quite the opposite.”
When asked about her career since joining Hudson, Connie said, “Joining Hudson has been a fantastic career leap for me, where I’ve been able to join the team and add value at a time where strategic decisions are being made and we are growing the fundraising program. While I work three days, I’m trusted by my manager to lead projects and manage my workload across a range of core activities.
The acceleration of my growth and learning has only taken off since joining Hudson, and I never feel like I am being sidelined or left out because I am a part-time working parent. My manager and greater team are supportive of my schedule and willing to able to adapt and be flexible, with many of them also juggling the same sort of schedules.”
Overall, I couldn’t be more grateful for my new role at Hudson and am incredibly excited to be part of this organisation. Due to the supportive environment, positive culture, and growth opportunities, it’s somewhere I can see myself staying for a long time.
I feel like I am efficient and productive when I’m at work, but still have the luxury of spending valuable time with my family at home.