Disrupting the market through HR

by Miklos Bolza04 Jul 2016
Over the past year, assurance, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton has decided to disrupt the market in a very unusual manner: through its people and culture policies.
The firm has introduced three new policies, each based around the theme of workplace flexibility, that ramp up the challenge for competitors.
Called the GT Flex-appeal, these policies are all about flexible working arrangements, Greg Keith, CEO of the firm, said.
Firstly, employees are encouraged to chat with management about what’s important in their lives which can include topics such as a wish to travel, sporting obligations or family commitments.
The firm then works with each staff member to design a working life which suits the employee, Grant Thornton and its clients.
Another initiative involves bringing in more long service leave, Keith said. Employees who have been with the firm for over two years are given an extra week of leave per year. This is granted through access to their long-service leave.
At most recent count, the average staff tenure at the company lies between four and five years. As such, the majority of staff can’t access their long service leave under the current rules – a fact that will change with these new HR policies coming into play.
“This will give them the ability to access it after two years and allow them to connect with our organisation in a different way,” Keith said. “We intentionally wanted to disrupt the market, to give our people an experience they can’t receive anywhere else.”
Finally, Grant Thornton plans on drastically extending its paid parental leave. While the company previously offered the market average of 12 weeks, from 1 May this year this increased to 20 weeks. From 1 May 2017, this will expand again to 26 weeks.
“We’ve taken the opportunity to take a market-leading and disruptive stance on this,” Keith said.
“What’s really interesting is the interest shown by male employees at the firm. Those who are expectant fathers are seeing 20 or 26 weeks as an opportunity to effectively take a career break to become primary carer.”
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