Why is your organisation committed to being a Family Friendly Workplace?
ICD Property is dedicated to fostering a family-friendly workplace, recognising the importance and interconnection of work-life balance, employee wellbeing, and positive business growth. By prioritising family needs, ICD aims to enhance job satisfaction, boost productivity, and retain top talent. This commitment not only strengthens employee morale but also creates a positive organisational culture, encouraging collaboration and loyalty. ICD’s family-friendly initiatives showcase a deep understanding of the evolving modern workforce and the company’s dedication to creating an inclusive environment where individuals can thrive both personally and professionally.
Point of Difference
What have you implemented to support families at your organisation? How?
On top of the government-mandated leave (prior to 1st July 2023) ICD was providing 12 weeks paid leave plus 8 weeks extra at half pay with secondary carers receiving 12 weeks, ICD Property is now working towards providing comprehensive parental support by offering extended secondary carer’s leave up to 24 months, an official support program for parental leave transition and reintegration into the workplace, a community platform to promote parental leave policies and support, and a manager’s guide embedded into the company’s parental leave process.
Work from Anywhere
As one of Australia’s formally recognised ‘Employers of Choice’, ICD implements a flexible and innovative ‘Work from Anywhere’ (WFA) policy. This policy creates improved work-life flexibility by allowing staff to work from anywhere in the world for three months over a twelve-month period. ICD came upon this idea after realising employees were successfully working remotely during Covid-19 lockdowns, with some staff even reporting benefits to remote working such as increased family time, improved work-life balance, all of which in turn improved their work performance and outcomes.
Endeavouring to promote healthier work-life balance and become more inclusive of all staff lifestyles, ICD Property introduced ‘Pawternity Leave’. A new, generous category of employee benefits where staff who are ‘pet parents’ are eligible for an additional four days of paid leave each year to care for a new pet. The loss of an animal or if they are unwell or injured, allows for two days paid leave within personal/carers leave. The new policy acknowledges kids aren’t for everybody and for some, their furry babies are just as much an essential part of the family. The policy aims to ensure all staff feel seen, valued and included across all the company’s policies.
Further seeking to improve staff work-life balance, ICD introduced a ‘9-day fortnight’ (9DF) trial in 2020 whereby the total hours worked over a fortnight was reduced by 7.5 hours (rather than increasing the daily hours on other working days). The aim was to increase efficiency, have a company-wide policy where all employees share the same day off, and for the additional day off every fortnight to not require a salary or annual leave sacrifice. With this policy, all staff are entitled to take every second Friday off work without utilising annual leave or salary sacrifice, given their work is completed.
How have you seen your people respond to this initiative (above)?
With over 50% of ICD staff becoming parents in the last 2 years, ICD’s generous parental leave policy has been extremely appreciated and utilised. The team has expressed profound gratitude to ICD’s innovative approach to work-life balance and the additional time allocated to welcome a new family member. It has also resulted in a heightened office culture with staff bonding in genuine and sincere ways around family and personal life, cultivating stronger team relationships which have led to stronger business outcomes as a team.
Work from Anywhere
Initial research showed 50% of ICD staff have immediate family abroad with employees having family in Canada, Sri Lanka, Ireland, England, China and Taiwan to name a few. ICD’s ‘Work from Anywhere’ policy welcomes all remote work ideas whether it is working overseas visiting family, working interstate at a holiday home, or working extensively from your regular home during certain periods of personal life changes and stress. Upon applying for the program, staff go through an approval process with their direct manager and the company’s HR department to determine logistics such as crossover work hours (if working from another time zone), accountabilities, and expectations. The policy has been rolled out successfully, with staff working from LA, Taiwan, and Canada, for up to three months at a time. Enabling staff to be with overseas partners, relatives, or unwell family members.
Welcoming a new pet into the family can take some getting used to. Particularly pets such as dogs who require training and comfort when introduced into a new environment. Rather than having staff feel anxious, stressed, or nervous being at work while a new pet is at home alone, ‘Pawternity Leave’ allows staff to take adequate time and care to welcome their new family addition and then return to work focused, centred, and productive. When the policy was introduced in 2020, 27% of ICD employees were parents yet 50% of employees were pet parents. Since introducing the policy, multiple staff have utilised it to care for sick pets, mourn for bereaved pets, or acclimate a new pet into their new home environment.
The initiative was introduced for a three-month trial period where ICD measured productivity, employee wellbeing, team satisfaction, staff retention, alongside uptake of the program to see if it was realistic and achievable. Staff-wide pulse surveys completed every two weeks provided data that during the three-month 9DF trial period, productivity increased from an average of 3.69/5 to 4.09/5. Employee happiness levels also grew with the increased flexibility of working conditions. At the end of the trial period, data made it clear that every fortnight at least two-thirds of employees took some or all of the 10th day as leave, signalling a positive response to rolling out the 9DF policy.
What are some of the business benefits you see from being a family inclusive organisation?
ICD is very proud to be a family-first business, evidenced by its culture, high staff retention rate, low absenteeism, and high tenure. The average tenure of ICD staff is currently an impressive seven years. On top of being able to secure and retain top-tier talent that promotes business growth and commercial outcomes, another benefit of ICD’s ‘people first’ approach is being nationally recognised as an award-winning organisation benchmarked for business operations, growing the business’ brand value and recognition in the public sphere.
“The opportunity to work from anywhere was exceptionally beneficial for people, like me, who weren’t able to visit their home country for several years due to COVID lockdowns. For me, ICD’s unique ‘Work from Anywhere’ policy provided a very precious opportunity to be with an unwell family member for a more prolonged period and not affect my work and projects. The feedback from my teammates and consultants has been positive; they said it feels like I’m working from home which is quite common and widely accepted in Australia. ICD’s open-minded approach to ‘Work from Anywhere’ meant I could keep up with my work but be with my family when they needed me. The opportunity ICD offered me made me an extremely happy and grounded person (not constantly worrying about family), which, in turn, made me more efficient in my work.” – Anna Tu, Development Assistant, 2020.
From Our Leaders
“If I had to describe ICD in one word, it would be ‘family’. There is such a strong family and care factor in the company’s culture, which seeps into everything we do. We care for our clients, investors, and staff. It is an integral part of our corporate mission and how we do business. I sincerely feel that a real and genuine care for people has been instilled from the top down. I think the reason why I’m here and a lot of the other staff who have been here for 5+ years is because
Our culture is based on the exchange of good ideas and constant dialogue between all members. If you share our egalitarian and creative approach to work (and life), contact us today.
Level 18, 303 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000