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Lloyds Banking Group, Finalist 2014, The Citymothers Best for All Stages of Motherhood Award

Lloyds Banking Group is committed to providing the best possible support to all colleagues who are experiencing, or about to experience, motherhood. Its maternity policy, which doesn’t have any service length requirements, allows mothers to take up to 63 weeks’ leave, with the benefit of enhanced pay and the option to return on a phased basis.

Following a review of its gender approach, Lloyds Banking Group found that becoming a parent was seen as a barrier to progression for some employees. Additional specific research reviewed the experience women had of going through the maternity transition. This revealed that policy was seen as strong, but the practical experience could be variable and was heavily dependent on the role of the line manager. In response to this feedback a comprehensive new package of support was rolled out. This is a blended solution, enabling the bank to be confident that line managers have strong capability to manage the maternity transition effectively and provide women with additional support.

Commitment to mothers also extends beyond maternity. In Lloyds Banking Group’s values is a specific commitment to respect employees’ work–life balance, which is particularly valued by their working parents. This is supported by a comprehensive, high-profile flexible working scheme. All staff can use the flexible benefits scheme to purchase childcare vouchers and medical cover for the whole family, as well as to buy/sell additional holiday leave.

This package includes an online portal with policy information, colleague and line manager guides, step-by-step planners, case studies and a link to Tommy’s Pregnancy at Work, a scheme which gives women access to further information and support, including access to specialist midwives.

The specialist maternity service is resourced by a small team of experts who hold mandatory calls with the staff member and their line manager pre-leave and pre-return. This has two purposes: to ensure the process is properly understood and followed, and to make sure the emotional aspects of the transition are taken into account. The aim to is to create a collaborative and highly connected approach, which minimises any potential negative impact on the business and ensures the woman feels fully supported and equipped to return. The bank was aware of the time pressure line managers are under, and wanted to provide them with an intervention that was specifically tailored to meet theirs and their team members’ needs. However, it also recognised that for the employee, having the opportunity to hear other perspectives would be valuable. Since this service was launched, over 900 colleagues have registered to use it.

Lloyds Banking Group has also introduced a suite of e-learning modules for mothers to complete at each stage of the maternity transition, including pre-leave, on leave and upon their return to work. These cover topics like taking stock, communicating your maternity status and leave, making the adjustment to having a dual career and managing competing demands, and how to maintain development focus post-leave. The idea is for colleagues to complete the modules prior to the call with the specialist service, so they can come to the call feeling empowered, and ensure the call time can be used in a really focused way.

One of the greatest sources of support for Women at Lloyds Banking Group is Breakthrough, the Group’s women’s network. Comprised of 10,000 members and led by sponsors at director level it provides a wealth of support and advice to mothers within the Group. It has a highly populated parenting arm which includes an online forum, regular parenting events and a mentoring scheme. The volume of events the parenting network holds is substantial with an average of two to three events per month and attendance is always high as is audience participation. The events cover a wide range of topics and are not just focused on colleagues who have been through the maternity leave transition. The network also recognises that sadly colleagues sometimes experience very difficult situations and events have been supported by closes online forums enabling colleagues to connect and share experiences around sensitive subjects in a discreet way.