Today, the Mindful Return community is here to celebrate the family benefit enhancement achievements of an employee resource group (ERG) and its amazing advocates. Indeed.com, the global job site, with encouragement from its Parent and Caregiver ERG, recently added not only additional paid parental leave for its employees, but also paid leave days for caregiving needs that are outside the parental leave phase. Kudos!!!
I am so delighted to welcome Megan Brown to the blog today, so she can tell us the story of how this happened at Indeed. One of the hats I wear as a working parent advocate is as the founder and now co-lead of the Working Parent Group Network (WPGN), which convenes 250+ leaders of working parent and caregiver affinity groups and ERGs. It was through this group of inspiring leaders that I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Megan.
Megan is a Director of Client Success at Indeed. She has served as the benefits liaison between the Parents and Caregivers ERG and HR. And she is now a Regional Co-Lead for the group. Megan, thank you for joining us for this interview and for demystifying the process of advocating for better family benefits!
Question from Mindful Return: Welcome to the Mindful Return blog, Megan! We’re delighted to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your own personal working parent journey?
Thanks for having me! I live in Connecticut with my spouse, my daughter (who is almost 7) and our two crazy cats! I’ve worked at Indeed for the last 10 years in our Client Success Department. I basically grew up at Indeed. My whole parenting journey has been with this company. My experience and success as a working parent have been fully shaped by the supportive leaders I’ve had.
I was the first person on my team to have a baby while working. And I was one of the few parents at the time. I was really lucky to have a leader who was a mom. She was able to guide me through the transition from working person to working parent. I will forever be grateful for the flexibility and support she gave me. It was what I needed, so I could successfully parent and grow at work.
I knew at that time, my positive experience as a working parent was not standard for everyone at the company. It drove me in my work as an ERG leader for our Parents and Caregivers organization.
Question from Mindful Return: What is your role at Indeed and also within Indeed’s working parent and caregiver ERG?
My job #1 at Indeed is a Director of Client Success, supporting our small and mid-size business (SMB) clients. Our team helps small businesses make hires, helping Indeed achieve its mission of Helping People Get Jobs.
My job #2 is as a Regional Co-Lead for our Parents & Caregivers ERG in the Americas. With my co-lead, I am responsible and accountable for the strategic direction and operation of our ERG. I’ve been with PAC (Parents & Caregivers) since its inception in 2020 and have held various positions. I was previously the Regional iRewards Lead. In this role I was the subject matter expert for our community. I acted in an advisory capacity for our Benefits and Total Rewards team.
Question from Mindful Return: How did you decide to get involved with this ERG?
In 2019, I unfortunately found myself in an all-too-common situation. I was caring for a sick parent long distance, while parenting a spirited toddler. I had an amazing support system at home and at work. But even with that, the daily realities of having to work, parent, and act as caregiver added an incredible number of logistical and emotional stressors.
I was well aware the support I received as a working parent and temporary caregiver was not universal for my company at that time. Like most companies, it really depended on who your manager was and what experiences they could empathize with.
This experience drove me in my work as an ERG leader. I wanted to help create a support structure and company culture that recognized the unique needs of caregivers in the workplace. I wanted those needs to be supported and for there to be a culture that understood the positive impact caregiving skills can bring to a person’s everyday work.
Question from Mindful Return: Indeed just recently made some pretty significant policy changes to support working parent employees. Can you tell us about these policy changes?
Sure! In 2023 Indeed increased its global continuous parental caregiver leave from 16 fully-paid weeks with a transition month, to 26 fully-paid weeks with a transition month. Another exciting part is that this leave can be started anytime within the first year of the birth, placement, or adoption of a child. This provides additional flexibility for caregivers to take the leave when it makes the most sense for their family within that first year.
In April 2023, we are also rolling out 15 fully-paid business days of caregiver leave, to support caregiving needs outside of welcoming a new child into your family.
Question from Mindful Return: Can you walk us through the behind-the-scenes story of how these changes came to be? What was the impetus for the changes, and what was the process for getting them to implementation?
These enhancements came about through a lot of feedback from employees, support of leadership, and hard work on the part of our Benefits and Total Rewards teams.
Inclusion and Belonging is one of Indeed’s five core values. By being in the company’s value structure, inclusion is a part of our decision making and everyday operations. The iRewards role I held within the ERG was introduced in July 2021, in part to help inform our global benefits team what the unique benefits and policy needs Indeed employees represented by our EGRs might have. With this information, the benefits team could then enact policies that were inclusive for all.
For our parents and caregivers, leave enhancement was the first big topic I broached with the benefits team. They were well aware of the industry standards and competitor data. So, we used a combination of employee feedback, competitor data, and personal storytelling to help paint the picture of the positive impact these leave enhancements would have on Indeed employees’ experiences. Ultimately, these changes would help to attract and retain talent. Especially for female identifying employees who statistically take on more caregiving responsibilities.
These needs were supported and echoed by our other ERG leaders, especially Women at Indeed, our Black Inclusion Group, and Veterans and Allies. That intersectionality was key when advocating for benefits and policy changes. It signaled for leadership that this was an issue for the majority of the employee base.
Now thanks to the hard work of our Total Rewards Team, Indeed employees will have one less obstacle in place when a care giving need comes up in their lives.
Question from Mindful Return: What advice would you give to working parents in other companies who would like to see their employers make these types of benefit changes?
There’s a formula I’ve used when trying to influence decision making that I found really helpful here:
- What’s in it for them: It’s important to understand what the business’s goals and focuses are, and how your ask fits in. If you can demonstrate how getting what you want will benefit business, it’s much easier to get the buy-in.
- Have your facts: It’s important to do your research, collect your data, and have a measurement for success. What have competitors been doing? How have their policies and programs impacted their success metrics? If what you want is implemented, what does success look like? How do you measure it?
- Story telling: Share the impact of real human experiences. It will help to paint the picture of what your data is saying.
- Collaboration: No one can do this alone. Find your allies and advocates within the company to help bolster your message.
- Patience & Consistency: A no now, is not a no. Be consistent with sharing feedback, talking about your wants with leadership and sharing your goals with others. Though a benefit change like this might not be in the cards now, that doesn’t mean the opportunity won’t come up in the future.
- Celebrating Wins: When you are able to get the benefit change you have in mind, be grateful and loud about it! Oftentimes a benefit is changed or enhanced with little fanfare. Making a big deal about it will ensure your coworkers are aware of the change and demonstrate to your leadership how important and impactful that change is.
From all of us here at Mindful Return, we offer kudos to you, Megan, and to everyone at Indeed who worked to make these benefit enhancements a reality!
For additional information on benefit advocacy, see these Mindful Return resources:
- 5 Lessons for Launching a Successful (Gender-Neutral) Working Parent Group at Your Office
- How to Advocate for Family-Friendly Benefits at Your Workplace
- If you are a leader of a parent or caregiver ERG at your workplace (or are planning to launch one), join our Working Parent Group Network
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave