At New Relic, we understand that being a great place to work is about so much more than perks; it requires us to be thoughtful about our employees’ whole lives, and how work can be a fulfilling and inspiring part of those lives. Our “Relics” spend a huge chunk of their waking hours at work, and we take that investment seriously. We work hard to honor our promise of meaningful and challenging work, learning and career growth, inspiring leadership, and a diverse team where everyone’s ideas are valued.

But in order for work to be truly fulfilling, it must fit in harmony with our personal lives.

The concept of work-life balance—drawing boundaries between personal and professional, ensuring enough quality and quantity of personal time to recharge—is the minimum requirement. However, more and more I’m seeing the value of work-life harmony: understanding that the personal and professional are both parts of a person’s life experience, and that they need to work well together and sustain each other.

Throughout a person’s career, the meaning of balance will change. Often, career building and growth are top of mind and your work requires a larger investment of energy; at other times, you’re going to have major life moments that require more flexibility from your work. Employers need to understand these shifts and encourage employees to find harmony between them, providing people with the resources that they need along the way.

One of the most universal life moments is the transition to becoming a parent—no matter whether it is the first child or a new sibling; whether you are the mother or father, a birth parent or a family growing through adoption or surrogacy. There is an intensity around re-establishing the concept of family, as well as building a bond with the new family member. I remember this vividly from when both of my children were born; it completely upended how I saw the world and how my family operated. I have never experienced emotions that strong. Plus, it was really, really hard work!

That experience was intensely personal, but having helped a number of team members through the transition to parenthood, I’ve seen that many of the challenges are universal. Both fathers and mothers need extra support from their employers during this transition in order to ensure that work and life stay in harmony during this intense (but temporary) time.

We as businesses can do more to support team members during these moments by offering comprehensive health care, paid parental leave, adoption and infertility assistance, and general support throughout the process. This is critical for making sure we are living up to our end of the work-life harmony bargain.

Updated parental leave at New Relic

At New Relic, we have recently expanded our parental leave program for our global team to include 10 weeks of 100% pay (including target bonus—particularly important for our Relics on commission) for all employees around the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of their child. For birth parents who have additional medical needs, parental leave may extend with full pay for up to 20 weeks, depending on exact medical considerations.

It was hugely important to the New Relic team that we created an equitable parental leave policy for all new parents, regardless of gender or location around the globe. No matter what your identity or geography, we want parents to feel supported and have the opportunity to engage at home, have balance, and also continue to have amazing opportunities upon returning to work.

This approach of an equitable leave has been proven to increase the retention of women and promote the advancement of women into senior roles. I’ve also seen this in action: as people across the board feel encouraged to take this time with their families, it becomes part of the “norm” across a full career. At New Relic, we want to level the playing field and believe that this equitable approach must be our normal as an industry if we want people of all genders and life stages to experience harmony and feel enabled to grow their careers.

It has been amazing to see our updated parental leave policy in action, with people at all levels of our New Relic “family” growing their own families and getting the time they need to focus on these important moments.

new relic baby collage

We might be biased, but our New Relic team members have got the cutest “beta nerds.” Top row, from left to right: Kate Sears (Portland), Mitchell HuffMenne (Port.), Evan Osherow (Port.); middle row: Patricia Hanna (San Francisco), Tina Shen (SF), Cory Cassone (SF); bottom row: Daniel Ettenhofer (Sydney), Susie Dirks (Port.), and Babatunde Idahor (Port.).

What’s next?

 Our work is never done when it comes to important topics like parental leave and how to drive further progress for working parents and for all team members. We have to keep pushing each other as an industry and share stories and ideas for how we can help employees be successful and achieve fulfillment at work. As we continue on this journey, I’m inspired by two of New Relic’s core values: “Authentic” and “Connected.” As we strive for work-life harmony, we must enable our team to bring their authentic selves to work and have meaningful connections with colleagues.

Kristy is New Relic’s Chief People Officer, leading all aspects of the company’s strategy for its people and culture. She is passionate about working with employees to create the best place to work. View posts by .

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