LOS ANGELES — With the talent gap growing, technology companies are trying everything they can to recruit and retain the best people. For GoDaddy, this meant doing an overhaul on its parental leave policy to make sure its benefits reflected its culture and advocacy around bringing more women into technology roles.
In presentation on Tuesday at HostingCon, sponsored by i2Coalition and its Gender Diversity & Equity Initiative working group, Katee Van Horn, VP of global engagement and inclusion at GoDaddy, and Rob Wisniewski, director of benefits at GoDaddy, discussed the process through which the company went about changing its parental leave to be more supportive and inclusive.
After getting feedback from its employees that its parental leave was not competitive, GoDaddy did some benchmarking to see how others in the industry were doing, Wisniewski said. In that process GoDaddy found that the average paid parental leave in the tech industry was 19 weeks, way more than the one to 6 weeks that GoDaddy was offering new parents.
“Research shows that paid leave increases the likelihood that workers will return to work after childbirth, improves employee morale, has no or positive effects on workplace productivity, reduces costs to employers through improved employee retention, and improves family incomes,” according to a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
GoDaddy’s workforce is 25 percent female, and CEO Blake Irving has been “a vocal leader in his pursuit of equality with his participation in the CODE documentary and Grace Hopper conference, to name a few examples,” Van Horn said in an interview last month with The WHIR.
Its new policy, GoDaddy says, offers 12 weeks of paid parental leave for full-time employees that have been with the company for at least a year. Part-time employees get three weeks of paid leave, but Wisniewski said that most of GoDaddy’s workforce is full-time.
GoDaddy says its new policy, in addition to the paid time off, offers employees flexibility when they return to work, a must for parents with infants adjusting to a new family dynamic. Flexible Time Off (FTO) is a standard benefit available to all employees.
Van Horn says its best for companies to be transparent with data so employees know where the company sits. In addition she suggests small companies get started implementing a parental leave policy right away so they’re not left scrambling to create one when they grow.
Automattic global head of human resources, Lori McLeese, said in a panel following the presentation that it “doesn’t have to be all or nothing” – as in, parental leave can be based on a more individualized approach and case-by-case basis.
Automattic has employees all over the world and only created a parental leave policy three years ago. Its policy is if you have worked for the company for one year you can take up to six months off, no questions asked. If an employee wants more time, they can work with HR one-on-one to come up with a plan.
The panel, moderated by Elisabeth Kurek, VP of partner growth at uberall, included Wilfried Beeck, CEO of ePages, Sam Renkema, CEO of SpamExperts, Van Horn, Wisniewski, and McLeese.
The U.S. is one of the only developed countries without mandated paid parental leave, but in Germany, Romania, and the Netherlands, where the other two panelists companies are based (ePages and SpamExperts, respectively), government policies require employers to give employees paid time off.