For the past 2 years, the Grow.kiwi.com program has been helping parents from Kiwi.com to stay in touch with the company by proactively organizing initiatives and activities. One of the representatives of the Grow.kiwi.com program, Nina Perhalová says that ‘currently, we’re organizing grow.kiwi.com activities for almost 60 parents on maternity/parental leave, as well as ladies who are expecting to give birth in the near future. The activities we organize are varied, such as thematic workshops, English lessons, mentoring/coaching, social events (e.g. St. Nicholas Eve, flea markets), first aid training, as well as babysitting services during various events. There is also a dedicated handbook for our Kiwi parents.’
“We try to make things diverse, in order to connect parents with each other and boost their skills. In addition, we encourage them to stay in touch with what’s happening at Kiwi.com if they so choose to, via active accounts to our intranet, email and/or Slack. Of course, not all of the parents decide to participate, however, we’re seeing that the number of parents attending grow.kiwi.com initiatives is steadily rising,’ says Nina.
Naturally, Kiwi.com wants its employees to stay with them as long as possible, and this scheme enables high levels of staff retention.
‘’It seemed natural that we’d want to give something back, after all, our employees have helped Kiwi.com grow quickly and successfully. In return, while their kids are growing, the Grow.kiwi.com program helps Kiwi parents grow in their new role as parents too, while staying in touch with us’’ says Nina.
How is the program perceived from the attendees?
We spoke to Barbora Štefkovič, our QA Tester about her experience with grow.kiwi.com. She mentioned that this program helps her not to feel like “a complete stranger”. Barbora wanted to slowly start returning to the company but regular work was out of the question as her son was still too young. ‘I didn’t feel like putting him in kindergarten, but I still wanted to contribute to the company,‘ says Barbora.
What do you like about being involved in the grow.kiwi.com program?
‘It gives me confidence to develop in different areas. Even though I’m not one of those people who only focuses on motherhood, it’s great that the workshops cover a wide range of topics; for example, one of the topics is creativity. That’s not something I’d consciously think about. There’s also contact with other mums, who I wouldn’t normally have the chance to talk to. They’re great, and we share similar opinions and views on various topics’.
Which grow.kiwi.com activities do you enjoy the most?
‘Mentoring, for sure. It’s been incredibly beneficial and has helped me a lot in my personal life. Like every mother, I have my dreams and goals, and it has helped me to see things from different perspectives. It has been very encouraging, and the questions have led me to a number of answers. I really look forward to the sessions! I love the English lessons and workshops as well and what’s really great is having a playroom for children in the office.’
We saw how the program benefits you as someone on maternity leave, but why do you think it’s helpful for the company to have such a program?
From my point of view, parents have a much more positive attitude to Kiwi.com as an employer. It gives women certain assurances that they have a place to return to. My friends often prolong their maternity leave because the atmosphere at their employer is not so favorable towards them and I’m glad that’s not my case (laughs).
Being at home with your child is sometimes mentally demanding and just returning to work for a few hours a week provides a bit of a break from this. I think it also simplifies the overall return to employment; the company clearly communicates that work and parenting can be reconciled with one another. Another great fact is that the program also involves Kiwi.com managers. A lot of people might not know what it means to be on maternity or parental leave, and it’s beneficial that you can work with them so they know what to expect from your teammates who become new mothers. Even if my child gets sick, it doesn’t necessarily have to be such a problem as there are different ways to deal with it.
Do you think that maternity leave has changed you as an employee?
Before my son was born, it was natural for me to work in the evening, at night, at weekends — now I have clearly defined times and very rarely work in the evenings or at the weekend. I appreciate my free time, my mental health and myself more.
As far as efficiency is concerned, I’m clearly focused on what I do and don’t run away from it. Motherhood has helped me to slow down and appreciate the here and now; for example, I’ve found it to be more efficient to abandon multitasking. I’ve managed to give birth and raise a child for the past three years, and what’s nice is that I know that I don’t have the extra stress of continuously worrying about my work, or returning to a team that has changed a lot during my time on maternity leave.
Nevertheless, I’ve certainly improved my communication skills. My child is not the only one who’s learning, because I feel that as a parent I’m learning things from my son too, especially when I see him learning and discovering new things. It’s a never-ending process of trial and error for him; he persists with things and doesn’t give up. That’s something he’s inspired me to do too. I’m pushing myself to not be fearful of communication and to not be afraid to ask questions. Motherhood is helping me not to be discouraged with initial failure and to keep trying over and over again until I get it right.