ING is committed to being a family friendly workplace not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it wants to continue to create an inclusive workplace where parents feel comfortable enough to be themselves.
By becoming a family friendly accredited workplace ING believes its making it clear to its people and the broader community that the business welcomes and celebrates the different set of circumstances and needs that each parent brings to the business. In doing this we’re creating a win-win situation whereby parents feel understood and encouraged to find their best balance, leading to optimal performance at work.
We have several practices and policies in place that recognise the needs of a modern family.
Parental leave equality
In July 2019 ING became the first bank in Australia to introduce 14 weeks paid parenting leave for all carers, removing the ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ name tags and the stigmas associated with parental leave. Parents and carers can choose how they use their 14 weeks paid parental leave over two consecutive years.
Parents and Carer Committee
In April 2021 ING formalised a Parents and Carers Committee. The Committee was formed following an overwhelming response to an intranet community hub that was informally set up by an employee during the height of the COVID pandemic. The aim of the hub was for ING parents to share stories, tips and advice with one another during the lockdown period.
ING’s Diversity and Inclusion Council along with its Executive Committee took notice of the success of this group and decided to create a formal Parent and Carers Committee. In doing so the community is now better placed to identify ways the business can support parents and carers to play a role in advocating for and promoting change.
ING regularly hosts online and in person training sessions to help its people (including working parents and carers) to prioritise and navigate life both at work and at home. The Wellbeing Wednesday programme started during the COVID lockdown. Each Wednesday for an hour staff were asked to prioritise their health by dialling in for a session with a wellbeing expert. These ranged from yoga and meditation instructors to life coaches and psychologists. It also became a forum where ING staff shared their personal experiences of overcoming life challenges. The programme has been such a success that the business is now in the process of formalising its long term commitment to the wellbeing of its staff through: external partnerships, training and accreditation and upskilling and creating more channels for groups (including parents) to share experience, knowledge and offer support.
In addition, more than 70 ING employees have been certified as Mental Health First Aiders. This initiative equips employees to spot when a colleague is struggling with their mental health and provide immediate assistance.
To promote a healthy work life balance ING enables staff to ‘flex’. Flex-ING is about empowering ING’s people with more choices for when, where and how they work. Even prior to the COVID Pandemic ING provided its staff with the option to work from home, vary their start and finish times or work five days in four so they can accommodate their commitments outside of work.
To establish an industry leading parental leave policy ING:
Parents and Carers Committee
The Parents and Carers Committee was formed off the back of an intranet parenting community hub that was created by a staff member during the peak of COVID. The Committee was formally established by ING’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Executive Committee who recognised that the community had the potential to drive positive change for the wider business and its employees.
The health and wellbeing of employees has always been a priority at ING.
Wellbeing Wednesday came about during lockdown and was a quick and effective way for the business to help staff prioritise their wellbeing during the peak of the COVID pandemic. To make it a reality the business partnered with external and internal providers who could share their stories and provide useful tips and advice.
The Mental Health First Aiders programme has been in place since 2017 and staff attend external training through Mental Health First Aid.
‘Flex-ING has been an ongoing programme driven by HR. On a regular basis the HR team reviews the needs of its employees and the business and amends the Flex-ING arrangements accordingly. Big changes are generally trialled with one team before being rolled out across the business.
The key thing is that Flex-ING is not mandated by policy. It’s an informal practice with general guidelines so that individuals and their managers can determine a Flex-ING arrangement that works best for them.
Parents and carers committee
George is ING’s Head of Daily Banking and father to Zachary (3) and Julian (1).
George believes ING’s parental leave policy has given him the time to navigate his way through parenting, the opportunity to watch his boys grow and the ability to support his family so they can flourish. It’s also given him the space to grow his career.
After the birth of son Julian, George chose to stretch out his 14 weeks paid parental leave to accommodate the needs of his family. He initially used 3 weeks paid leave to welcome Julian and help the family adjust to becoming a family of 4. With the remainder of his paid leave he takes every other Friday off work to care for his two boys while his wife grows her business.
George says the ING paid parental leave policy has helped him be the dad he wants to be.
“Stretching out my paid parental leave has meant I’ve been able to bond with my sons and really watch them grow.
“It’s also meant my wife is able to focus her time building her photography business on the days when I look after the boys.
“Just weeks prior to Julian’s birth I started a new role as Head of Daily Banking at ING. This flexible work arrangement has helped me to settle into my new role while still being able to meet my family obligations. I’m happy at home and at work which I believe makes me a better dad and employee.”