Citi, Highly Commended 2016, The Innovation Award

Key features

  • For the introduction of the right to take Shared Parental Leave Citi formed partnerships, gathered and analysed data, communicated extensively and ensured senior management buy in was informed and genuine.
  • Profiling their employee parent base helped Citi understand what appetite there might be for SPL and from this make accurate projections.
  • A dedicated employee SPL enquiry email address, which was staffed by a dedicated resource, ensured enquiries were dealt with quickly.
  • By April 2016, 28 parents had applied to take up SPL.

Citi’s approach to the implementation of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) demonstrates an innovative and rigorous approach to policy implementation. Eighteen months ahead of SPL legislation, Citi started developing how it was going to structure and implement its SPL policy. Deciding to match the maternity offering, the innovation lies in the partnerships formed, the communications made and the support engendered in senior management.

Citi developed a ‘thought partnership’ with a peer team at Accenture to share ideas and resources in a way that they had not done before. Accenture were able to share societal data on how similar leave legislation had been received in the Nordic countries; in return, Citi were able to share their internal data on the number of parents working for them and their leave and return rates. Through this pooling of data, and open and collaborative approach to knowledge sharing, both companies were able to build a better technical profile of who was likely to take the leave and how; and both firms were able to use this data to build a business case for the new policy.

In addition, Citi profiled their employee parent base, running a survey with all male and female employees who had taken parental leave during the previous three years, which helped them to understand what the appetite might be for taking SPL.

All this research helped Citi to produce a set of projections which they were then able to take to senior leaders in order to get support for the policy. The SPL team spent many months presenting to various leadership teams and, in so doing, had a by-product of some constructive conversations around equality, the changing family structure, same-sex families, career progression and manager support during long-term leave.

Once the policy was ready, Citi launched an internal communications campaign to reach all UK employees and the policy was published on the internal employee website just before Christmas 2014. This meant there was plenty of time for employees to be able to digest it, before the scheme became available in April 2015.

Citi created a dedicated email mailbox for employees to send enquiries to and this was manned by a dedicated resource who was able to answer those questions. Citi has kept track of, and analysed, all enquiries into this mailbox.

The number of SPL enquiries and the number of formal applications speak to the success of Citi’s policy development and implementation. They have had 28 formal applications for SPL, ranging from two weeks up to 26 weeks SPL, from staff at all levels of seniority and spread across their UK locations. The company believes that it is starting to normalise periods of long leave for new parents – both male and female.