Over the last six months, we’ve made a number of important changes at Dwolla. One of them has the been the creation of our Diversity & Inclusion program. As a company, we believe that the best teams are built by the inclusion of diverse ideas, experiences, and people. To ensure that we’re always working toward this mission, we’re investing real resources in this work.
Early on during the development of this initiative, our General Counsel, Adrienne Sum, said to me: “Who we believe we are and who we actually are, are different. We need to ask ourselves harder questions.” Through internal surveys and working groups, we asked ourselves many of the harder questions and made a number of important discoveries. One signal that came out loud and clear was that our parental leave program didn’t support our employees who were new parents in a way that we were proud of.
As an organization, historically we had deferred to the market data to set the features of our parental leave program. Our approach wasn’t novel or complex: we simply polled local businesses to understand their parental leave policies and that data showed that our policy was inline with our market in Des Moines, Iowa.
On paper, this meant that our old program was competitive given our small size. In practice though, our team was not getting the support they needed from a program intended to support them at a critical point in their lives. Even as a user of our parental leave program, I lost sight of what was the right way to support our team, regardless of market averages.
With new data and a fresh lens on what was right for the team, we decided to make a change to the program. As of 2018, Dwolla has extended our paid parental leave to 12 weeks for new births or adoptions for all parents, however they may identify.
I’m proud of the team for raising this issue and engaging in thoughtful discussion about it. I’m hopeful that this change will drive others in the Des Moines market to examine their parental leave programs as well. This isn’t about recruiting. It’s just the right thing to do. We can all do better.