Karitane is a not-for-profit organisation and our purpose is to support parents during the first 2,000 days of their child’s life. The first five years are a critical time for physical, cognitive, social and emotional development which shapes a child’s future. Supporting parents is WHAT WE DO, but is also very much WHO WE ARE. It is equally important for us to support the many working parents in our organisation to juggle their career with caring responsibilities. Ultimately we live and breathe family friendly workplace policies and practices and aim to encourage other organisations to do the same.
Karitane is a unique organisation in that our staff base is 95% women and over 80% are part time. We are committed to supporting our people with flexible work policies to help them balance family caring responsibilities and also enable them to have a rewarding career. We offer:
Flexible work policies & practices
How have the above impacted your workplace culture and productivity? How have your people responded?
We recently undertook a people and culture survey which focussed on wellbeing and working flexibly in the hope to better understand and help our employees adjust to working from home through COVID-19. What we saw was a highly engaged and supported team of over 150 employees showcasing strong evidence of inclusion and diversity, leadership, values of respect, innovation, collaboration and excellence – all out-performing industry benchmarks. We have robust policies embedded in our organisation from board & executive level right down to our frontline workers, our policies are inherent in our culture.
What has your organisation learnt as it has become more inclusive of families? What business benefits can you link to being a family friendly workplace?
We have learnt that when our people feel openly valued, trusted and respected through flexible work practices, they display higher engagement, productivity and an open willingness to go the extra mile in their work. Many of our team, particularly those with long commutes have enjoyed the increased work from home flexibility, both during and post COVID-19 as well as flexible start and finish times to accommodate school and childcare drop-off and pick-up commitments.
We know that a happy, confident and resilient team will in turn provide positive and effective support to the parents in our care who are experiencing perinatal mental health issues, trauma and other challenges related to adjusting to parenting.
Karitane is a family friendly workplace and we have seen the first hand benefits of implementing family friendly policies across our organisation, including high staff retention, reduced turnover rates, high return to work from maternity leave rates, improved productivity, performance and diversity.
We have a 95% female workforce and our all-female executive team are all mothers who previously or are currently juggling careers with their own parenting responsibilities.
Irene Strauss I Clinical Coordinator I Mum of 3
I am a mum of three, now 9, 7 and 3 years old and I have worked at Karitane for 6 years. When I went on 12 month paternity leave with my youngest Karitane stayed in touch with me through HR as well as my Manager. In fact it was while I was on mat leave that my Manager contacted me about a position she thought I would be interested in when I was ready to come back to work. I interviewed for it while on leave and was successful in getting it. I actually had my baby with me when I went in to interview, and it was my colleagues that took care of him while I interviewed, they didn’t think anything of it, everyone supports each other.
Karitane were really supportive while I was returning to work and I came back in a part time capacity to adjust to having three children under five and working. Not long after I was back I was given the opportunity to apply for a leadership position in the organisation and I got it! I was still supported to be in this management position and work part time. I have always felt the full support of Karitane to be the mum I want to be and have a career. Support looks like flexible working, whether that’s coming in later so I can be at big milestones like the first day at school and then catching up later in the evening, or working from home so I could take my children to appointments or those last minute days I need off because someone is sick. I had full access to carers leave, family and community leave, and of course annual leave but I was supported to take them when it was last minute and unplanned. I was never judged or shamed for leaving, I was supported and encouraged and others would step in while I was away. It is more than a policy it is a culture from CEO to management through the organisation. Having access to teams of amazing parenting experts and resources is for sure another perk of the job.
While I was in my new leadership position one of my children was diagnosed with ASD and ADHD, this was a difficult and intense time at home. But again I was supported to be able to make appointments for all the testing and diagnosis required and supported to leave if there was a crisis situation at school. I was able to be all of me at work, me being a mum and a manager with a successful and rewarding career with opportunities. There is no way I could have done this role with everything that was going on at home without the support and flexibility at work. I was able to talk about what was going on and I felt comfortable sharing that and then supported to develop plans to be successful in my role and career as well as take care of my family.
I not only saw these family friendly policies on paper I have personally experienced and felt them through the organisation. This is the behaviour, actions and culture I model for my team.