‘We have found that true flexibility comes from a culture shift’

by John Hilton19 Apr 2018

Flexible leave options are essential to support a diverse workforce, no matter what life stage employees are at, according to Cameron McIntyre, CEO of carsales.com.au.

Indeed, carsales have released a new set of leave policies this month, with the intention of offering their employees across Australia more flexibility to achieve a work-life balance.

“Our goal is to create an inclusive workforce that makes our employees feel valued and respected,” McIntyre told HRD.

“Our new wave of leave options are part of our greater and on-going strategy to create a more flexible work environment for our people, that also supports our commitment to achieve gender diversity.”

The six new leave options carsales has rolled out, include:

  • 16 weeks paid parental leave for primary caregivers [up from 12 weeks]
  • Extra five days of leave for primary caregivers returning from parental leave to help them adjust to their work and home commitments.
  • Secondary caregivers can now access 10 days of their sick and carer's leave, which is on top of carsales’ two weeks paid secondary carer’s parental leave, so they have more time to spend with their partner and child.
  • Early access to long service leave after seven years of continuous service [usually 10 years depending upon state legislation].
  • Opportunity to purchase one or two weeks of annual leave per year.
  • Access to sick/carer’s leave to take up to two ‘Refuel Days’ per annum which can be used to do something such as take a day off to move house, to celebrate their birthday or simply just a mental health day.

McIntyre said society and the workplace are rapidly changing, and carsales feel it’s important to keep evolving as an organisation. This involves creating a workplace and culture that is progressive and accommodates the varying needs of their diverse workforce.

“We hope this approach will help carsales attract, develop and retain talented people, and be regarded as an employer of choice in this competitive market,” said McIntyre.

So if McIntyre could give one piece of advice to HR professionals in creating a flexible workplace what would it be?

“We have found that true flexibility comes from a culture shift where the business understands and embraces creating a flexible working environment,” he said.

“Policies are one thing, but spending the time on educating and role modelling how to create a working environment where people feel comfortable in taking up the benefits that you offer is so important.

“You can have many flexible leave options in place, but it’s the workplace and environment that needs to be accepting and embrace those options to enable flexibility to be truly embedded in the business.”

McIntyre added that carsales place a high value on employee feedback, especially when it’s in regards to their employee value proposition.

“We do this via employee surveys, discussion groups and steering committees,” McIntyre said.

“Our approach is to look beyond one stage and generation – we’re looking at the whole generation spectrum to gain diversity of thought and to ensure our policies are inclusive of everyone across the business.”

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