Faye Whitmarsh: Family-friendly policies create a culture of care that benefits everyone

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

At Nationwide (EfC member), we know people achieve more together than they can alone. Being a building society, this is one of the things that sets us apart from our competitors.

That said, delivering on our ambitions and living up to our values is no small task; we need to make sure our people, all 18,000 of them, can bring their whole selves to work.

Whether welcoming a new baby into the world, getting married, losing someone or facing an illness, it is essential for Nationwide to create an environment where it is purpose driven to serve its members and support its employees when they need it.

Most recently, Nationwide has extended its paternity and maternity leave, and introduced a new premature birth policy to support families who have their babies before week 37 of pregnancy. These changes demonstrate our commitment to creating a family-friendly working environment, as do other policies, such as family support leave and bereavement leave.

This is not just about delivering changes to our policies, it is about the whole employee experience. It is about changing our behaviours and challenging mindsets, so that we evolve our culture in a diverse and inclusive way.

The process starts with understanding, and gaining insights from, the people you are making changes for, so that new solutions are designed to meet their needs. Our premature birth policy, for example, was co-created with the Nationwide Group Staff Union, as well as with employees who had recently experienced a premature birth, making it truly market-leading.

Nationwide is taking this approach with all its employee experiences; by keeping people at the heart of the process, the organisation will be able to design, test, learn and adapt its solutions to better meet employees’ needs.

By celebrating our differences, we are creating a culture, and a way of doing business, that is special and aligned to our purpose: building society, nationwide.

While we are very proud of what we have already achieved as a responsible employer, we know there is more to do. We may not get it right every time, but we will talk, listen, learn and evolve our culture together.

The building society of the future will continue to put members at the heart of its thinking, and we ask our people to always remember that. This is a goal that will be delivered by a workforce that is empowered, supported and has the flexibility to bring their very best selves to work, every day.

Faye Whitmarsh is head of culture and engagement at Nationwide

Source: employee benefits