The Importance of Asking “Why Not?”

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February 04, 2020

The Importance of Asking “Why Not?”

By Debbie Pollock-Berry

Chief Human Resources Officer Save the Children

People who choose to work in the non-profit or global development sector are a special breed of people. Driven by purpose and eager to have an impact, they work tirelessly for the benefit of others – and organizations, in turn, offer benefits to promote their well-being.

Ensuring employees have access to medical care and paid time off to relax and recharge provides a baseline for valuing employee well-being – and that’s a good thing. But if we’re looking to value the person’s entire experience as a member of a team and an organization, we need to go way beyond the baseline. Purpose-driven people are unique and interesting people with diverse backgrounds and motivations who can best enrich a work environment when they bring their whole selves to work.

There are so many ways to think beyond the baseline benefits. And so much of doing this start not with asking “why” but with asking “…why not?” Some of our best employee benefits came from our employees themselves, who asked us to consider something outside the standard. Some examples include:

  • In addition to vacation days, we offer 15 paid “wellness and safety” days to help employees care for their physical, emotional, and mental needs, for preventive care screenings/appointments, and to deal with any unexpected emergency. Staff can use these days to care for family members, not just themselves.
  • In 2020, we introduced ten “grandparent leave” days for care of a newborn. Today in the U.S., more and more grandparents are called on for childcare support for working parents, and we want our benefits to echo that reality for our older staff members.
  • In recognition of how important community service is to our employees, we offer one day of Volunteer Time Off to be used at any time during the year, to dedicate a day or two half-days to a cause that’s important to them.
  • We’ve introduced a popular “Dress for Your Day” policy to encourage staff to express themselves and their style in what they wear to work, removing the outdated policies that requires business casual dress.
  • This past year, we introduced increasingly robust fertility and gender affirmation treatment plans as part of our medical plan – another signal to staff that we support them in building the future they value for themselves.
  • Lastly, we also offer pet insurance so our employees can care for their extended family.

Our sector is home to some of the hardest-working, dedicated professionals in the world – and helping make their life at home more comfortable, supported and valued makes a better world for everyone.

So, if you have an idea, share it. And if you hear an idea for making the employee experience better in your workplace, challenge yourself not to say “why would we do that” but instead say…why not?

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