Why Outreach believes parental leave drives diversity

Posted December 12, 2016

Manny Medina headshot

By Manny Medina

CEO at Outreach

I’m excited to announce a new benefit designed to support our employees: a generous parental leave policy to help balance the demands of work and family. One of the biggest myths in our industry is that companies succeed simply by delivering a great product. The truth is that companies succeed by delivering customer success. In building Outreach, I have learned there are only 2 things that matter in delivering that success: customers and employees. That’s why each investment we make is about ensuring every customer succeeds and every member of our team is enabled and equipped to do their best work every day.

Our new parental benefits package includes generous time off for Moms and also four weeks paid leave for Dads. Once our new parents are ready to come back to work, they can enjoy a gradual return to work program that allows them to split their time 50/50 between office and home for the eight weeks following their return to work. During this transition back to work, Outreach will also reimburse the cost of a night nurse and pay for dinner delivery two nights a week.

People have asked why we’ve chosen to go down this road, which to be honest will not be inexpensive to implement. Why are we doing this for our work family? The investment is worth it on so many levels and ultimately it’s the right thing to do. This may be counterintuitive for us as a growth stage company, but putting employees first is absolutely the best investment for the business.

Putting employees first means equipping our employees to be successful at work AND providing benefits and support to sustain healthy families.  We’re building into our company’s DNA at the earliest possible moment the foundation to sustain a diverse and supported workforce. It is only when employees can feel safe in their personal lives that they can thrive and be exemplary in serving our customers.

Women particularly have historically been caught in a “success within limitations” loop. This reality affects the diversity of our workforce and diminishes our ability to retain the best people. For example, a report by the Center for Talent Innovation reveals that 43 percent of all women take an extended career pause after giving birth to raise their families. Yet, of the 90 percent who attempt to return to work, only 40 percent return full-time.

Given this fact, it's surprising more companies do not prioritize parental leave. A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found progressive parental leave policies are not a high priority for many corporations. We need to reverse this trend. And, truly, we have to. In Seattle, we face an increasingly competitive hiring climate in technology and the competition for the best talent needs to become a catalyst for change. It’s resulted in what’s shaping up to be a benefits-battle and an industry shift in thinking about employee retention.

As a CEO, when one of my employees doesn’t return to work because a beautiful child is born, my loss is measurable. My co-founders and I never want to lose innovative, energetic staff due to having to choose between work and family. It’s my job to ensure this isn’t a choice our people have to make while at Outreach.

Welcoming a child is a most special and joyful time. Every new parent should be given the opportunity to enjoy and embrace the experience without added stress. As a parent with a newborn myself, I understand first-hand how challenging it can be to juggle work and family. So, it’s extremely important to me that we craft our policies to meet the needs of our new Outreach parents while supporting and encouraging their professional aspirations.

This philosophy is the cornerstone of our Outreach's company culture. Our new parental leave policy is just one way we can support employees with the essential resources they need with a humane, gradual plan for returning to work.


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