At Investa, supporting employees holistically and creating a workplace that allows our people to bring their best selves to work every day is something we are passionate about. We know that employees who feel well supported and able to integrate their personal and working lives will be more engaged, productive and will stay with us for longer, not to mention the direct impact on the bottom line.
We value the importance of family and recognise the key role families play in the lives of our people. To this end, it is so important to us that we provide an environment that recognises the diverse needs of our people and positions everyone to manage their work and family commitments through a culture underpinned by policies that empower our people to navigate the various elements of their lives flexibly.
Investa’s support for parents embarking on the journey of parenthood has focused on holistic support of employees, from providing support throughout the pregnancy journey to post-birth and ultimately intentional support for employees navigating their return to work.
We know that improved career outcomes can be achieved for women through more equal parenting roles in the home, resulting in women being able to pursue their careers with flexibility and purpose. To this end, we embarked on a journey of changing our culture to ultimately achieve an increase in the number of men taking primary carer parental leave. Our approach is underpinned by normalizing men taking primary carer parental leave by:
i) Providing a policy that genuinely supports the ability for men to take their parental leave in a way that is truly supportive for their family (ie. In a flexible fashion over a longer period – ie. 24 months);
ii) Directly having conversations with men who are welcoming a child asking them to consider when they’d like to take their primary carer parental leave (noting it can be taken over a 24-month period);
iii) Intentionally working with men on an individual basis to understand how they would like to take their leave (eg. In one block, small blocks, part days etc) and finding a way they can take their leave such that it is beneficial for themselves and their family;
iv) Our CEO, Peter Menegazzo has played an active role in encouraging male employees to take advantage of our supportive parental leave policy through active participation in our Keep in Touch lunches for employees on parental leave or those about to embark on the journey.
By creating a culture that actively encourages and supports men to take primary carer parental leave, we’ve created an environment that is genuinely ‘safe’ for male employees to take time out as a primary carer and achieved a positive shift in our culture whilst normalising men playing a more equal parental role in the home.
Through actively developing a culture that encourages men to take primary carer parental leave, we’ve seen a real shift in the conversation from “will you be taking any time off when the baby arrives?” to “when will you be taking your parental leave?” showing genuine progress on creating a culture where men taking primary carer parental leave is normal and importantly, that men are feeling safe to do so.
On a tangible level, following the various steps we have taken to normalise men taking primary carer parental leave, in the past 12 months we have pleasingly seen an increase from 25% to 52% of all primary carer parental leave being taken by men. Several men have taken their parental leave flexibly, on a part-time basis to support their partners upon their return to work whereby they have transitioned their child to childcare and worked part-time to facilitate the transition and/or to offset days where the child is not in formal care.
More broadly, the normalization of men playing a more active role in family life has resulted in increased openness from men about their involvement in their family life and we’re seeing positive, open conversations about the active role men are playing in the lives of their children in the period beyond their parental leave. For example, we have men openly leaving the office at various times to take children to sporting commitments and to be home to spend time with their kids before bedtime, and men taking advantage of our flexible working to work from home so they can attend an event at their child’s school.
We remain committed to continuing to focus and achieve strong outcomes in this area and holding ourselves accountable is critical in this regard. To this end, we are continuing to monitor, measure and report on the utilisation of primary carer parental leave (for all genders) to the Board annually.
Being a family-inclusive organisation is central to an engaged and productive workforce. We know that providing the culture and policies to support our people to enable them to meet the needs of their individual families, whether that’s throughout the journey to, and the early days of, parenthood, or throughout the journey of navigating work and family life (whether that’s caring for children, or caring for aging family members) will lead to strong employee engagement outcomes, retention and high levels of employee satisfaction.
As a family inclusive organisation, we are able to attract a workforce that is truly diverse and importantly we’re able to retain our talent. By being family-inclusive, we can drive positive outcomes for the development of our people (regardless of gender) to achieve strong career development and progression outcomes, irrespective of their family responsibilities.
Through progressive family-inclusive policies and practices, our people are given the flexibility they need to navigate work and family life, whilst the organisation benefits from a more highly engaged, motivated and loyal workforce.
Alex joined Investa in March 2022 as a General Manager, Finance Business Partner, responsible for providing strategic support to the Funds team on all financial elements relating to the performance of the funds.
After welcoming his first child in November 2022, Alex took 4 weeks of parental leave to spend time with his Wife and Son.
In August 2023, Alex’s role expanded, as he took on the responsibility for a newly created function, including responsibility for a new team. This role expansion saw Alex move from being an individual leader to a role with responsibility for a team of seven employees where he was responsible for setting up, operationalising and integrating this new function into the organisation. One month later, in September 2023, Alex’s role expanded further to include a broader remit resulting in a further change to his new team and increasing his total team to thirteen.
Prior to these changes, Alex had intended on taking some additional paid parental leave to support his partner’s return to work in late 2023 and to give him the opportunity to spend time with his young son. Despite the significant change in Alex’s role, through his planning, the support of his team and manager, and the flexibility provided within Investa’s Parental Leave policy, Alex was able to continue with his plan and take a further 12 weeks of paid parental leave. Throughout the end of 2023 and into early 2024, Alex took his parental leave flexibly – giving him the opportunity to spend quality time with his son before support his son with his transition to childcare in early 2024. By taking some of his parental leave as part time, Alex was able to work reduced hours and take his son to childcare and pick him up early during the transition into care facilitating a smoother transition with shorter days in care during his son’s transition.
“Compared to my “day-job”, my time off caring for my son was uniquely challenging yet ultimately rewarding. This time provided us with an opportunity to learn and enhance our comfort with each other enabling my partner and I to truly co-parent beyond the time I was on parental leave. Without this valuable experience, it would’ve been exceptionally difficult for my partner to return to work”.