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Harrison.ai’s ‘Becoming a Parent’ initiative supports all aspects of parenthood

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
Harrison.ai’s ‘Becoming a Parent’ initiative supports all aspects of parenthood

Earlier in 2022, harrison.ai announced the launch of its ‘Becoming a Parent’ program, offering support in five key areas:

  •  IVF and gamete support (egg or sperm freezing) including both financial support and flexibility
  • Pregnancy loss bereavement with 2 weeks leave for early pregnancy loss and access to resources from The Pink Elephants Support Network
  • Pregnancy, adoption and fostering support: 16 weeks’ paid leave
  • Support for new parents with ‘keeping in touch’ days and flexible hours when they return to work
  • Ongoing support for parents including 2 weeks’ leave when their child is about to start school

In designing this program, chief people and culture officer Nicole Karagiannis worked closely with colleagues from finance, the people and culture team, and a colleague who had previously worked for an IVF clinic. They all agreed this was going to be a policy that led the way via a few key design principles:

  • A gender-neutral program: men, women and non-binary can access the same benefits. By supporting male employees to take time off, harrison.ai was contributing to the broader social impact where women had extended support from their partners, even if they themselves didn’t work for harrison.ai.
  • A carer-neutral program: there is no need to provide evidence that the person accessing the program is the primary carer, they can also be a secondary carer. Once again, this goes to the heart of supporting women meaningfully.
  • A program that celebrates the diversity of parenthood: from IVF to adoption, this is a tribute to the number of ways one can become a parent
  • A program that doesn’t shy away from the sad moments: acknowledging and supporting the grief around losing a child, regardless of the stage of the pregnancy is important. So many suffer alone and it doesn’t have to be this way.
  • A program that acknowledges, even in a small way, that parenthood doesn’t stop after the first few years. The program has now been used by many employees, both men and women and for different reasons. The people and culture team has been receiving such glowing feedback about the program, one humbling moment after the next. The team continues to implement initiatives that are fit for purpose and does so in consultation with the brilliant colleagues working at harrison.ai.

Here are some practical tips for readers:

  • Your people are your greatest asset: start by knowing them. Collect the data from your engagement survey, your diversity and inclusion metrics, run focus groups to discuss and share ideas and to road test your initiatives.
  • Create the forums you need to drive a change or an initiative. One of these can be your culture champions forums where you bring together a team of people passionate about your culture and you make magic happen.
  • If you don’t have a budget, start by spending your resources you have wisely – including time! Use your time to build your business case, to create momentum around one or two important topics, to move the needle in the right direction.
  • Do it all from a place of passion. Think about the workplace legacy you leave behind for your children, for your nieces and nephews and for those who will come after you. Think of all the sacrifices those before us made.

Nicole Karagiannis is the chief people and culture officer for harrison.ai.


Parental leave

Parental leave is a benefit offered to employees that allows for job-protected time off from work to care for a kid once the child is born or adopted.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.