Tech startups have a reputation as unrelenting work environments, where it can be difficult to balance personal commitments like caring for children.
But creating a pro-family culture is becoming more important for employees and businesses alike. Working parents now make up over 40% of the UK workforce, and millennials and Gen Z parents typically place more value on flexibility than previous generations.
The cost to businesses of not supporting working parents could be high: a 2021 McKinsey report found that senior-level working mums were 1.5 times more likely than men to consider leaving their jobs after the pandemic, with three in four citing burnout as the cause. As McKinsey points out, burnout can’t be addressed with fringe benefits like free lunches — as an employer, “you can’t ‘yoga’ your way out of challenges like these”.
Many tech startups have woken up to this and are creating workplaces that better support parents. Here at TrueLayer, we’re proud to be recognised as the most flexible medium-sized company in 2022 by Flexa Careers.
We’ve worked to build a culture where mums and dads can be fully present at home and work without feeling overwhelmed, and where those who might be considering starting a family feel supported.
In this blog post, we share a few of the ways we’re making that happen, and we hear from some TrueLayeristas on why it matters.
Deciding how and where you work best
We believe people should be able to determine how and where they work best, so we don’t impose set office hours.
For parents, that means the flexibility to be present with family at important times – whether that’s doing the school run, managing doctor appointments and after-school activities, or dinner with the kids.
For Max, our Chief Revenue Officer, this policy makes it easier to balance responsibilities: “Thanks to TrueLayer’s working from home and flexible hours policy, my wife and I are able to live a much more equal and balanced life. We’re both full-time working parents and the ability to bring up three children without burnout or one of us working less brings a tremendous amount of quality of life. It also allows us to spend more quality time with our children while also showing them how to have a truly equal relationship.”
Our VP Customer, Leigh-Anne, says TrueLayer’s flexible culture empowers her to set the right boundaries. “As a mother of a three- and a four-year-old, I have loved the flexibility that the company gives to parents. I have the freedom to block out my calendar when I need to focus on family. The culture and transparency within TrueLayer means that I don't worry about this.”
I have the freedom to block out my calendar when I need to focus on family.
Leigh-Anne Cotter, VP Customer
At TrueLayer, we also aim to be flexible around offering part-time employment for new roles and existing TrueLayeristas where possible.
That’s why our People Partner, Caroline, joined the company: “When I saw the post for People Partner at TrueLayer, I was really excited that the role was advertised as open to part-time, full-time, and flexible work. This meant that when I was offered the job, I felt comfortable asking for a four-day week due to childcare.”
Policies that support working parents
A flexible culture needs to be backed up with the right policies and benefits.
At TrueLayer, employees receive six months’ fully paid parental leave, no matter how long they've been with us and we also offer leave for adopting parents and those having a child through surrogacy. Leave for non-birthing parents lasts up to 12 weeks and can be taken in two blocks at full pay.
Natalie joined TrueLayer as a Senior People Partner when she was six month's pregnant.
“The enhanced maternity policy has quite simply been life changing for me,” says Nat. “It meant I could focus on being a new mum, without additional financial pressure. Unfortunately I know many new mums who can’t say the same and I'm grateful to work somewhere that understands just how important this support is during a big life event.”
We know that returning to work after having a child isn’t easy, which is why we also give primary caregivers the option to work four day weeks for five days’ pay in their first three months back with us.
This has helped Raluca, one of our Senior Engineering Managers, balance career progression while being a new mother: “On returning to work, my new manager was incredibly flexible in allowing me to ramp up in my new role at my own pace, which took away an incredible level of stress. Being able to work four-day weeks to start with was a nice transition back to working full time.”
Being able to work four-day weeks to start with was a nice transition back to working full time.
Raluca Lehadus, Senior Engineering Manager
We also recognise that pregnancy loss can be extremely traumatic and difficult. We provide a minimum of two weeks paid leave, including to partners and those with surrogate mothers, as well as flexible options for returning to work.
While not everyone is comfortable speaking with their managers or their people team, all TrueLayeristas have free access to Spill, an online platform where they can get access to mental health professionals and therapists to help through difficult times.
Building a community for parents
We aim to foster community between parents at TrueLayer – our Parents slack group is where parents go to ask questions, give support, share stories and photos and celebrate family milestones. This year, we’re also launching some family focused events like TrueLayer Family Christmas.
Our Head of Content, Nicki, comments: “I’ve worked in tech startups before and felt that as a parent I was in the minority. That can sometimes be tiring, because you feel like you need to do a lot of explaining around why you need to finish a meeting on time, leave early or take a random day off mid-week, for example.
“At TrueLayer I’ve never felt like that. I’ve enjoyed being part of the Parents Slack channel, with 70 other TrueLayeristas. From sharing first-day-at -school pictures to parenting tips, it’s great to connect with a group of people going through similar things.”
TrueLayer’s flexible working policies aim to create an inclusive workplace for everyone, including working parents. Our benefits include:
- Hybrid, remote-friendly work – work up to 80% of the time remotely and come into the office for 20% of your time each quarter
- Flexible hours – no set office hours
- Work from anywhere scheme, allowing up to 90 days abroad a year
- Open to part-time employees and compressed hours
- Enhanced maternity, paternity and shared parental leave with no minimum tenure
- Four-day week for working mums for their first three months back at work – fully paid
- Adoption leave
- Pregnancy loss leave