Supporting Our Employees and Our Business: How We Designed Our Parental Leave and Perks Program at Greenhouse

We’re experiencing hyper-growth at Greenhouse. We’ve more than tripled our headcount in the last year alone! To ensure we brought the right people through the door, we made it a point to embrace the detailed and purposeful hiring process that our software embodies. However, hiring the right people is only the first step in building an awesome organization.

The next step is to craft and roll out what we refer to as our People programs. With an average age of 29, and more and more employees moving into the next chapter of their personal lives, we decided that parental leave and perks for parents was one of the most pressing topics we wanted to address and support.

What We Set Out to Do

It was important to us to develop a parental leave and perks program that we would be proud of—one that would provide a meaningful benefit to employees as well as be both fair and simple. We also needed to ensure that the program would be a good balance between generosity towards our employees and practicality for running a business.

In addition, we knew that once we rolled out our program, it would serve as a selling point for recruitment as well as a tool for employee retention. We wanted to enable people to find a balance between their work and personal lives and as a result be encouraged to remain with Greenhouse for the long-term. This supports one of our overall goals: make Greenhouse the place where employees can do the best work of their careers.

And as planning for the program further progressed, we found that we could support more than just new parents—current parents should feel the love, too. More on this later.

How We Did It

We started by looking outside Greenhouse, since a lot of other tech companies already have great programs in place that we could learn from. We researched how these organizations were supporting parents, which ran the gamut from doing absolutely nothing all the way to giving new parents unlimited time-off.

Then, we narrowed this list down to companies with similar qualities—those in our space, at a similar stage of growth, with a similar employee base, and in a similar location. From there, we modeled five potential programs and considered how they would each impact our workforce and our ability to run the business given the number of potential parents down the road. We thought, “At our scale and pace, how long could we manage having people out on leave?”

After reviewing the models with our leadership team, we settled on one that fits both the company’s and our employees’ needs:

Unpaid leave benefits for newer employees and paid leave benefits for employees who have been with Greenhouse for 6 months or more, tiered based on length of employment.

The Program for New Parents

Let’s dive deeper into the details of our program for new parents:

  • Parental leave: We tier the amount of pay during leave based on tenure, and then we divide this into two groups: primary caregivers and secondary caregivers. Why? It is important to us to be inclusive in our programs, as we know families come in all shapes and sizes. So, we moved away from using gendered classifications like “maternity leave” and “paternity leave”—our model recognizes and accommodates many types of families.

As you’ll see above, we kept the length of leave for primary caregivers the same across the board. The thinking here is that employees who are defined as the primary caregiver need the same amount of time to focus on their new parental duties regardless of when they joined the company. However, being at the company longer does entitle employees to more paid leave—they invest in us and we invest in them.

  • Staggered leave: Our parental leave program also affords employees the opportunity to take leave in one-week increments at any time within a year of a new child joining their family. This is especially useful for our employees who are defined as secondary caregivers, as they may find it suits them to stagger their leave with the child’s primary caregiver.
  • Re-boarding: When the employee is ready to come back to work, their manager and our People team collaborate with the employee to create a flexible re-boarding arrangement. This could consist of anything that works for all parties, such as working from home part-time or working an alternate schedule. All in all, it’s our goal for employees to feel supported as they transition back into their role. Feeling positive about the process will translate into their work and will result in a higher probability of success for both them and the company.

Perks for All Parents

Our new program includes perks that are available to all parents at Greenhouse, no matter how long they’ve been a part of our team:

    • Work travel benefits: To support our employees who travel for work, we’ve implemented a $200 per diem caregiver reimbursement so that their children can be taken care of while they’re on the road. Or, should they wish to have their children join them on their trip, employees can use that amount toward their flight and childcare!
    • Child care services: Greenhouse has partnered with Urbansitter to provide employees with free membership to this online childcare booking service.
  • Networking: Greenhouse has an internal Slack channel aptly named #parents where employees can share tips, provide support, and, of course, show off cute pictures of their mini-mes.

Tying It All Together

Having a child is a momentous and exciting time. It’s also a huge endeavor that affects all aspects of a person’s life. With that said, we want to make sure that we’re doing what we can to mitigate the stress that transitioning out and back to work plays on starting and caring for a family.

At some companies, people are nervous about telling their managers that they’re becoming parents or that their family responsibilities could potentially interrupt their work. This is exactly what we’re trying to avoid. We want employees to be excited about their future, and we want to be able to support and share in this excitement. This program is one piece of that effort. To learn more about Greenhouse's parental leave and perks program, download our full program text.

Jessica Pfisterer

Jessica’s role at Greenhouse is managing systems and perks, benefits, and compensation. Before joining Greenhouse as Director of People Operations in July 2015, Jessica built out the People Operations function at MuleSoft during three years of global hyper-growth. Jessica is an avid dancer and recovering attorney.

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