Our business model seeks to enrich people’s lives by building genuine connections and relationships. At Cobild, our team are our family and family comes first. Behind our ‘Not Your Typical’ company descriptor, lies a genuine desire to empower each member of our team to do their best work in whichever manner best suits them. Creating an inclusive family friendly culture serves both in talent acquisition, and, in recognising caregiving responsibilities across all ages, life stages and gender lines, acts as powerful mechanism for ensuring our people feel wholly supported and connected, feeding directly into our ‘Relationships for Life’ pillar.
In August 2021 we launched our ‘Un-Typical Parental Leave Program.’ Recognising that traditionally accepted programs were outdated, inflexible, non-inclusive and potentially discriminatory, we decided it was our time to do better for our people, creating an industry leading scheme that understands parenthood is not a one size fits all journey.
The overall program is multi-faceted and comprehensive, but key components include providing 12 weeks paid leave for primary carers, doubling the GPPL for both primary and secondary carers, continuation of super fund contributions for up to 12 months regardless of whether leave taken is paid or unpaid, the facility for secondary careers to use personal (sick) leave should they be required to care for a child or partner, and personal (sick) leave extended to grandparents to care for grandchildren.
Defining who and what a ‘parent’ is
Our family friendly policies encompass single parents, same sex parents, surrogate parents, foster parents, adoption parents, miscarriage parents, stillbirth parents , LGBTQI+ rainbow families, families with no children, blended families and polyamorous relationships – in our eyes, everyone deserves the opportunity to take the time they need, when they need it.
As important as the workplace initiatives themselves, is the need to maintain a valid connection with team members who take time away to care for their families. Regular communication updates and welfare checks from team leaders, peers and management keep everyone in the loop and preserve the precious relationships we work to forge.
Returning to work
Juggling a work-life balance is tricky enough when things are running smoothly, but anyone easing back into a healthy routine after a protracted absence can face hurdles. Alongside leader education programs, we have established a series of processes and protocols to help facilitate our Cobildians transition back into the swing of things productively, happily, and importantly at whatever pace they see fitting.
What to expect when the unexpected happens
Acknowledging that life isn’t always smooth sailing we have created a safe space for our team to reach out for help and support.
The launch of our Parental leave policy coincided with the expansion of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Cobild extended the offer of our paid employee assistance program to the family members of our tribe. Simply put, we regard our team’s family as our extended family, deserving, as such, the same level of support and assistance.
Flexibility in the construction industry has traditionally been missing entirely or notional at best. Since launching our pioneering Parental Leave Policy, we have witnessed a positive impact on our team’s confidence and overall mindset, with measurable improvement in transparency, connection, and team relations. Our key to success is challenging industry norms and creating change that allows our team to be their very best, in and out of work.
The response to our Parental Leave Policy has been a game-changer. We have seen a huge shift in a positivity for our team and their families. Since the launch, we have had a 100% return to work ratio. Notably, the attitude and mindset of males taking time off to spend with their family has been encourage, accepted and broadly embraced.
Looking at our Employee Assist Program (EAP), there has been an increase in usage and engagement by 62%. We have had team members show vulnerability and share experiences and testimonials about the impact it has had. The confidence and willingness to speak up when support is required has been extremely powerful. The flow-on effect in our wider community has been seen and felt throughout our trades.
“Our EAP platform is a great tool; it was easy to pick up my phone and jump into a session or quick exercise. I loved the ability to be able to access Uprise resources in real-time, when and where I needed it” (Cobild Project Manager)
Being a certified family-friendly organisation means pushing the boundaries to create greater flexibility while shifting outdated industry paradigms. We know from experience that cultivating an environment of balance results in team empowerment, an increase in engagement and improved staff retention.
Amanda, Directors’ Executive Assistant (EA), is a prime example of how our team are supported to embrace flexible work arrangements. Along with the demands of a busy EA, Amanda co-parent’s her 5 year old son, Hudson. As sole carer on the weeks she has guardianship, Hudson necessarily becomes her focus, with pre-school drop off and collection, swimming lessons and quality one-on-one time a priority.
Cobild is fully supportive of Amanda’s situation, appreciating the roles of work and effective parenting and recognising that being a mum must always come first. Having the capacity to enjoy a fulfilling career and care for her son at the same time has been an integral part of Amanda’s working life at Cobild.
“Having the flexibility to work in a way that suits and supports being a mum, has been an absolute blessing. Knowing that I can structure my workday as I see fit and adjust my hours or work location to suit my life, this has allowed me to be there for my son and create special mother and son moments. I’m so grateful I can create a balance that allows me to feel fulfilled as a mother and importantly in my career as I continue to further challenge myself.”