Shared Parental Leave at Computacenter
HR Director Barry Hoffman discusses the benefits of Shared Parental Leave and Flexible Working Practices
Shared Parental Leave and flexible working at Computacenter
Continuing on with our look at the modernisation of HR policies, attitudes and procedures, Reed HR gained exclusive insight into how these new, and existing, ways of working are developing in a global company.
Computacenter's Group HR Director Barry Hoffman, generously offered his time to us to discuss how Computacenter are supporting their staff in these evolving times of modern working practices.
Below is a transcript of the video
Introduction to shared parental leave: how SPL can help drive business forward
"I'm Barry Hoffman. I'm the group HR director for Computacenter. We are an IT services company, we are a PLC, and we have about 15,000 people.
"Shared parental leave and other types of leave help people to organise their lives so that they can be the best they possibly can at work every day, so from that point of view it has to be good for business and it has to be good for the economy.
"It's people that drive our business forward, so having people operate at their best, being the most engaged, and the most interested and excited about the work they do is going to get the best results for your business. Shared parental leave just contributes to that."
Overcoming issues with flexible leave
"There are two main issues that we have experienced with flexible leave in general. One is operational need. Clearly we are running a business. We mustn't forget that. So, we try as hard as we possibly can to accommodate people and their requests for flexible working and shared parental leave in particular, but sometimes it's just not possible - and secondly legislation in general and in this case of shared parental leave creates an administrative and bureaucratic headache for employers.
"It takes time for organisations to get used to a piece of legislation and at the moment it's still quite new. One of the key elements of flexible working has to be fairness. It's important to offer it and administer it fairly. If you don't have the systems to support that, the manager training to support that, and the general support from the top of the organisation, then I think it becomes very, very difficult."
HR's role in SPL: the benefits of shared parental leave
"There's no doubt that when we grant a request for shared parental leave the employee feels valued, appreciated, understood, and accommodated. So, employees then become more loyal and demonstrate more discretionary effort for the company. So, that's a higher level of engagement.
"Above all don't be scared of it. Don't hide behind the legislation. Use common sense. Everybody who works in your organisation has a story, has a life, has a world outside of work, and what you're trying to do is accommodate that. It can be quite difficult for people to ask for flexible working or even have it suggested to them by their manager. HR's job is to be supportive, to be pragmatic, and make the best decision for the business."