Case study: Virgin Money.
‘The baby app’ was created in-house by a number of talented individuals from across all areas of the business. They pledged to work together on a programme to improve the maternity and paternity journey for colleagues who were welcoming a new addition to their families.
The team spoke to a diverse range of mothers and fathers in focus groups, interviews and through surveys. Feedback was explicit – colleagues saw a significant opportunity for better engagement with them whilst they were taking leave. It was clear that an app could be the perfect solution to put parents in control of keeping in touch with the company. As a result of the app, employees can now simply input a few details, and how much leave they can take and how much they will be paid each month is calculated for them. This allows them to model their leave and return dates. The app includes a button to email or call all the relevant departments in the company directly with any queries. To support consideration of flexible working on return, all the relevant policies are accessible via the app, as is the company internal jobs board.
Crucially, all company internal communications are hosted on the app, so absent colleagues can view all the regular communications in their own time. The app is easy to use, accessible at all times, personalised and full of information. It was launched in an eye-catching way at a company event.
Following the success of the app, the team is producing a version to support colleagues suffering long-term absence from work through illness.
- Impact is being tracked to discover if retention is affected.
- The app encourages efficient handling of queries - traffic to the HR team has significantly reduced due to the information and pay/leave modelling the app enables.
- The project was designed and launched by employees for employees: the solution fits the need.
- More than 80 colleagues a year become parents; employee engagement scores have recently gone up around colleagues’ ability to balance their home life and career.
- Virgin is exploring how to share the code so other companies can produce their version of the app.
The Judges’ Spotlight
“This entry was brilliantly written and is a perfect example of workplace innovation that has a practical impact on people’s lives. They saw a problem, found a solution, built it and made it available to employees. They have simplified a process that is unnecessarily complex for most people.”
‘By entering a few details, I was able to see my pay detail for maternity leave. This helped us to plan and made a complex calculation simple and we started looking at options for Shared parental leave together. I could also view current opportunities in the business so I didn’t miss out. If I have any queries, I can contact my line manager. The anxiety I felt about staying in touch was definitely alleviated.
— Sarah, Business Support Manager