At Leidos, we work hard to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, valued, respected and supported. By creating a culture that enables everyone to do their best work, we seek to harness and support the very best talent, which means that we’re both a great place to work and we deliver for our customers.
Becoming an accredited Family Friendly Workplace is another way we are living and breathing our value of ‘Inclusion’. We recognise the often many and varied roles our team members need to play within their own unique family setting, and we seek to support them to manage those family responsibilities while realising their potential with a rewarding career at Leidos.
Our Parental leave experience was not bad, but nothing special, so we decided to take a fresh look at it, from the Team Member’s shoes, to see how we could do better.
We conducted Human-Centred Design to make sure we were unearthing the real opportunities, not just implementing what we ‘thought’ might help. One key finding was that Team Members taking Parental Leave found that the feelings of competence, connection and confidence that they had when they went on leave, were difficult to maintain through their leave period, and this made their return to work more stressful than it needed to be.
So, we went about designing improvements to the parental leave experience to ensure that parents have a smooth transition to and from parental leave, and feel supported and included during their time off.
One of our senior leaders, Louisa Pontonio, took a period of parental leave after the birth of her son Charlie. She had been with Leidos for 6.5 years and worked across a number of business lines in project delivery. During her parental leave, she made the most of the resources provided through our online platform, and took advantage of the coaching sessions with an executive coach to support her through her various transitions. She shared the following reflections:
“There were a number of exercises that I completed to get me to think about motivation, my professional vision, what is important to me as a mum, setting professional and personal goals, and thinking around my values and what sort of parent I want to be. The coaching sessions were a great mix of getting me back in the mindset of work and my professional self, but also reflecting on this new and exciting journey of motherhood ahead of me”.
Louisa is a fantastic advocate for the ‘Keep in Touch’ sessions. Not only did she and Charlie attend and value the information and connection she obtained while on leave, but upon her return, Louisa wanted to give back and attended other sessions to share the experience and insights of her journey back to work.
Louisa maintained her confidence and connection throughout her leave and her People Leader was connected into her career goals and family needs. She was included in the Talent review that occurred during her parental leave period and was duly promoted into a newly created role while on leave. She is now settled into her new working life. She enjoys the flexibility of hybrid working, with some days in the office and others from home, and has been inspired to volunteer for a key role in our inclusion landscape as co-lead of our Women and Allies Network Group, which incidentally won the 2021 Leidos Australia Value Award for Inclusion. Go Louisa!
The research is clear around the many and varied ways diverse and inclusive organisations outperform less diverse and inclusive organisations. From increasing potential talent pools for our business to higher engagement of team members and ultimately delivering better bottom line results for shareholders – everybody wins.
There are many and varied lenses through which we can (and should) look at inclusion -ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and so on, but the unique feature of the family friendly lens is that everyone is a part of a family in some way – whether that is as a parent, grand-parent, carer, son, daughter, Auntie, Uncle…the list goes on. So achieving Family Friendly status should deliver benefits for every single team member at Leidos – that’s exciting.