In this new series from the IABC Trend Watch Committee, communication professionals unpack industry trends for insights that you can take on-the-go.
At a Glance
The #ShowUsYourLeave campaign on social media ties to a larger global trend bubbling up: employees’ desire to break from the norm and have more flexibility in culture creation — including how benefits are applied to individuals to create a more desirable, equitable and sustainable work/life balance.
Trends to Watch
In late 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden sent the Build Back Better Plan through Congress, which included paid family leave. When that spending provision was cut, media company theSkimm published an op-ed and took to social media. They asked families to use the hashtag #ShowUsYourLeave “to share their experiences with paid family leave … [s]o we can get loud about the struggles we’re faced with in navigating parenthood and how paid family leave, or lack thereof, has an impact.”
The hashtag has gained traction on LinkedIn with more than 3,600 followers and companies such as Pinterest, Estee Lauder, Snapchat, Ikea and others joining in.
And these companies aren’t just reposting theSkimm’s op-ed — they’re creating branded graphics that share paid leave policies, in plain sight. In some cases, companies are highlighting other attractive benefits too, including flexible work, bereavement leave and tuition reimbursement.
Thinking More Inclusively
While the discussion around paid parental leave is largely driven by U.S. workers, the conversation is part of a larger moment employers are experiencing worldwide: employees seeking greater flexibility.
For some, this means reassessing holiday policies, particularly as companies seek to grow a more diverse and inclusive workforce. This includes observing many different cultural and religious holidays throughout the year, in addition to those of a majority population inside an organization.
Danielle Bond, group director of brand, marketing and communications at Aurecon, put it this way in a post on LinkedIn “This week some colleagues will celebrate Australia Day, but not everyone celebrates it … For many of my workmates, celebrating Lunar New Year, Diwali … or other festivals, is more important. Last week, my company introduced 'cultural public holiday swaps' to give our people better leave options for the important celebrations that are meaningful to them.”
Bond, who is also chair of the IABC International Executive Board, explained that the swaps allow employees to exchange two public holidays in place of ones that are more important to them, and are another step for Aurecon in embracing its diverse workforce.
What This Means for Communicators
Communicators can be drivers of change and integrators of the human experience. This could mean partnering closely with executives to identify what gaps exist to create a more inclusive, welcoming culture. What employee data do you have that supports the need for change?
#ShowUsYourLeave is upping the ante for companies when it comes to communicating benefits and recruiting and retaining the best talent. There are many other opportunities to give employees more say in their culture. We’re betting on seeing more of that positive change.
Further Reading and Resources
Kristin Frankiewicz is the content manager for IABC, overseeing the association’s online publication, Catalyst, and its sister podcast, PodCatalyst. Her career includes working in university communications, public relations and content management; she is most passionate about telling others’ stories. When she doesn’t have a pen in hand, you can find her scouring the internet for new recipes to try at home. She lives with her husband in the Chicagoland area.