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Published: 14 Jul 2017

Brand Learning, Winner 2017, Best Small Employer

  • Bespoke and common-sense approach to flexibility
  • Enhanced maternity, paternity and shared parental leave offers support for mothers and fathers
  • Creative solutions include options to ‘buy’ more holiday and spread the payments

The judges were impressed with Brand Learning’s thoughtful approach to enabling staff to perform. Its family friendly culture recognises the need to balance work and home life demands.

As a consultancy, Brand Learning strives to mitigate occasional need for long hours by providing a flexible, family friendly approach to working patterns.

Brand Learning is led by parents, who appreciate that if home life is compromised work will suffer. Seven out of 12 members of the operating board are working mothers and the majority of the executive team are parents.

All employees have the option to work flexibly, subject to their role and business needs. Managers are given guidance on flexible working principles and flexibility is discussed in a fair and sensible way.

Qualifying mothers benefit from a maternity bonus that makes up the difference between statutory maternity pay and full salary for the first six weeks. Enhanced provision of four weeks’ leave at 50 per cent of salary (or two weeks at 100 per cent) is offered for maternity and shared parental leave (SPL). This is also offered to Fathers and paternity leave is paid at 2 weeks’ full salary. Two employees took SPL in 2016.

In the last two years, 12 out of 15 women have returned from maternity leave, with an additional employee returning to work for the company as an independent contractor. Four people have been promoted during or after maternity leave.

Requests to work reduced hours are positively reviewed (38 per cent of employees do so) and an ‘earlies’ rota enables the office-based operations team to leave early every other week.  Brand Learning also considers a bespoke approach to flexibility, eg setting up and supporting one of our employees to permanently work remotely, following her moving further away.

Brand Learning holds forums and a quarterly survey to get feedback and ideas from the team.

“Brand Learning adopted a flexible shared parental leave approach; allowing my husband to become a temporary stay-at-home dad whilst I returned to work.”

Emma Ellins, Client Capability Director