Pitching a Policy Change to Your Employer

handbkThis afternoon, @Trish and Cali Williams Yost, author of Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day, joined me on Your Caregiving Journey to talk about pitching a policy change to your employer. You can listen to our show via the player below.

Trish shared her story of asking her employer to agree to let her use her sick days to care for her brother, Robert. Under the existing policy, she could not use her sick days because she cares for her brother, rather than a spouse or parent. So, when Robert needed her, she used her vacation time. Believing another solution existed, she approached her employer and requested that she be allowed to use her sicks days instead of her vacation time. Her employer accepted her proposal on her third pitch.

Cali shared tips to help you propose a change in policy to help you in your caregiving role:

1. Be prepared with a serious proposal, backed up with data.

2. Present your solution for how your work will get done with the policy change.

3. Share a benefit to your employer for approving your request.

She also suggested using her first book, Work + Life, to help as you create your pitch. Cali said most companies will want to work with a valued employee who needs a policy change in order to manage work and family responsibilities.

We spoke about a company’s fear about rolling out a change in policy or benefit without first testing it on a small group of employees. So, as you pitch, keep in mind that you can be the one who sets a precedence that allows a policy to change for others. After you receive approval for your proposal, monitor its impact on your performance and on others. You’ll want to provide evidence that the change is a good one that benefits the company.

We ended the show with a conversation about Yahoo and its decision to require all employees to report to the office rather than work from home. I shared my concerns about the discussion around the decision–that flexibility is still viewed as a solution for working parents only. (You can read more in yesterday’s post, “The Discussion Around Yahoo’s Decision Bothers Me.”)

What are your experiences? Have you tried to change a policy in order to make caregiving easier for you? Please share your experiences in our comments section, below.

Additional Resources
–To hear another story about a working family caregiver setting a precedence at work with a policy change, listen to last week’s show, “A Workable Solution to the Problem of Distance.”

Listen to internet radio with Denise Brown on Blog Talk Radio

Leave a Reply

2 Comments on "Pitching a Policy Change to Your Employer"

Profile photo of ejourneys
Mar 5, 2013

My policy change story is indirectly related to caregiving. My partner had no health insurance the first two years we were together. Inspired by and using an article in The Advocate, I lobbied my employer for domestic partner benefits, then quite new. I wrote a memo (I forget whether to the president or to HR) outlining the article’s salient points and attaching a copy of the article, which included research on company bottom lines. My then-employer surveyed staff on DP and other benefits. I think one person other than myself was interested in DP benefits, out of a staff of around 500. The company instituted DP benefits in 1998.

As an aside, my then-employer did not realize that unlike with traditionally married couples, DP benefits are taxed as added income. It led to my receiving a paycheck later on of $0 that first year, because my “income” had suddenly increased by the amount of my partner’s annual health insurance premiums.

On the other hand, the company was very flexible with respect to time, mainly because it was open 24/7/365. Less than three months after I was hired I had pulled my first all-nighter there. I telecommuted as well. The bottom line was that we met our deadlines, and the type of work we did also made that flexibility possible.

Profile photo of Chris
Mar 6, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the show on Tuesday as this is such an important topic that needs to be discussed. All too often, employers are so attached to policy, that they forget about the human side of life. Employees are more apt to work harder, be more loyal when employers demonstrate an understanding for personal needs. I find that mission driven organizations are more flexible in this regard rather than for profit businesses.
As a manager, I have always had leniency when an employee has come to me with an issue that resolves around Caregiving. (even before I was a caregiver) That was not always the case as the decisions moved up the ‘food’ chain on the corporate latter.
At this stage in my life, I doubt I could ever go back to work for a large company who did not make a commitment to their employees health and wellness.