Mizzy on policies as conversation starters

Open Letter from Mizzy Lees, Managing Director:

I have not been a huge fan of policies in the past – they felt very un-human and formal and not really the sort of document you want to be faced with should something traumatic or dramatic be happening in your life. I even wrote an article about how I definitely did not want a period policy, since I did not need my employer to help me manage my periods. I stand by this. But my view on the role of policies has evolved.

Open communication is a fundamental part of the culture we cultivate at Mr. President. It’s really important to me that the team feel that they can talk to ‘us’ if they have something going on in their lives that will impact their working day. The reason for this is that with the right amount of support and understanding, we believe we can help our team find the right balance to be able to do their job and manage whatever it is they are managing. Examples are far reaching and include; being pregnant, having a partner who is pregnant, trying to get pregnant, being unwell – long and short term, having a kid or family member who is unwell, going through a break up – marriage or otherwise, trying to move or renovate a house, just having a busy family life with multiple demands, to even getting a dog! All sorts of things happen in our lives. And in our experience, most people still want to be able to do their job as best they can whilst life is happening.

What I have discovered though, is that despite the channels of communication being open, it is sometimes hard for employees to know how to start the conversation. What policies are great at is providing some initial guidance on what you can expect from your employer in terms of support. Each of our policies also include this paragraph;

This policy is a practical guide we have created to support you. It is based on a combination of your legal entitlement as an employee and some more human considerations we have made. The terms are not fixed, but flexible and adaptable. We encourage you to talk to us about your specific needs so that we can find the best solution together.

A good and meaningful policy suggests what you can/should expect from your employer. Communicating clearly that the policy is the conversation starter, not a list of final and absolute terms.

A prime example of this is our new fertility policy which we launched alongside a workshop with career and fertility coach Jennifer Elworthy. There are no legal entitlements if you’re getting fertility treatment, but it is an experience that has some pretty hectic demands that need to be managed alongside your job, it important that there is a plan to manage those, and without an employee feeling like they are in anyway being penalised in their career for trying to have a baby.

Policies are there to be helpful, but they cannot be a ‘one size fits all’. It is an employer’s responsibility to accommodate the needs of the individual, to enable a culture of communication and trust, so employees can find the right balance between the demands of their jobs and their lives.

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello

If you want to have a chat → Say hello