ZS – Finalist 2023, Best for Mothers
The impressive work to support mothers at ZS is underpinned by their core value to ‘treat people right’, evident through their innovative approach, array of measures, and generous leave, creating a company in which mothers are encouraged to grow and thrive.
Culture and values
The value put upon the welfare of women at different stages of the parenthood journey runs through both policies and practices. Enhanced benefits such as 24 weeks full maternity pay, 10 weeks of family leave annually, 2 weeks of bereavement leave for those who have lost a baby to miscarriage or failed IVF, back-up childcare support, and professional coaching demonstrates their commitment to empowering mothers to succeed. Autonomy is integral to their flexible work policy, whereby mothers are supported to set schedules that work for them by way of gradual returns to work, part-time hours and flexibility in core hours.
Groups such as Women@ZS and Life & Family @ ZS are supported by the highest level of ZS’s senior leadership and are a valued source of support and information. Women@ZS has helped to drive forward the enhanced benefits and have been pivotal in promoting visible, relatable examples of mothers working across the business. The Stories Collection features parents from offices around the world sharing how they manage home and work life, and ‘A Week in the Life’ is a video series of women navigating the juggle. Other resources include material on every stage of maternity and family leave, including myth-busting based on real life experiences, and materials to facilitate team discussions on how to support one another during life events.
Power in connection
Life & Family @ ZS connects people who are experiencing a challenge with someone who has lived experience that can be a listening ear and who can signpost appropriately. Anecdotally, this has been particularly powerful following a bereavement, when sharing experiences has given others permission to reach out for help. The Employment Assistance Program can advise and connect with local care options, as well as providing parent-related resources and access to counselling services. All support is made visible on the intranet to those who may be considering or are experiencing motherhood.
The success of such a supportive culture is evident in the retention figures, which stand at 100% after the birth of a second child and 96% five years on from having a first child. They have mothers working at leadership-level with children under five. ZS has put emphasis on the need to keep evolving, and use feedback from mothers returning from leave to gain better understanding about different experiences which can inform future policy decisions.