A four-day work week & gender neutral parental leave: Nina Mapson Bone's meaningful work mission

A four-day work week & gender neutral parental leave: Nina Mapson Bone’s meaningful work mission

Nina Mapson Bone

If there’s one thing Nina Mapson Bone knows about her colleagues, it’s that no one wakes up in the morning thinking they won’t give the work day their best effort.

In fact, at Beaumont People, a recruitment firm founded by Nikki Beaumont, where Nina is Managing Director, there is always a premise that if things go wrong or there’s a miscommunication, it probably wasn’t intentional.

It’s this premise, along with cultivating trust between managers and staff, that has helped Beaumont People establish some of the most innovative and flexible workplace practices in Australia.

Speaking to Shirley Chowdhary on the latest episode of The Leadership Lessons, Nina shares how the company made the leap to introduce a four-day work week model for staff, based on a new set of productivity guidelines.

Nina explains that a “work for outcome” rather than a “work for time” mentality has completely transformed the working lives of everyone who works at Beaumont people.

“Now it actually doesn’t matter what you do, where you do it, as long as you’re meeting the productivity guidelines,” she tells Shirley. “It become meaningless, in terms of the hours you work or where you are doing it.”

In the podcast, Nina says that as long as employees are meeting their role specific productivity guidelines, they qualify for the four-day work week. So far, the model is working well at Beaumont People, where Nina says there was a worry the high performing team would burn out working five days.

Also under Nina’s leadership, Beaumont People conducted some world leading research into the notion of ‘meaningful work’ and built a tool where people can design their own meaningful work profile.

“People use the term a lot, but there was actually no definition of what meaningful work is. It’s just one of these terms that people bandy around,” Nina said.

What they’ve learnt through their analysis, is that everybody’s definition of meaningful work is unique, but there are a few factors that tend to matter to a lot of people.

“Having the trust of your manager is the most common factor of meaningful work,” Nina said. “People want a manger that trusts them and gives them autonomy. Culture was the second most common, and pay was actually significantly down the list.”

Nina Mapson Bone

In 2018, Beaumont People introduced a gender neutral paid parental leave policy for its employees, which everyone is encouraged to take when they become a parent.

“Both myself and Nikki (the founder of Beaumont People} are mums, we are both the primary breadwinners in our family and we both experienced it first hand – what it was like going through it,” Nina said.

“We did some research and some financial modelling which scared us because our demographic was very, very heavily in the female of childbearing age demographic. But we didn’t just look at how much it would cost us, we looked at how much it would cost if we had to rehire new people because we lost them.”

Nina says Beaumont People has had more employees take it up than they initially expected, and it’s been a really successful scheme.

“It doesn’t need to be about gender or which carer you are…it’s absolutely entirely up to you,” she said. “The policy is equal regardless of which role you fit into.”

“We’ve had far more people take it up than we anticipated, and it’s been great. Almost everybody that’s gone off, has come back.”

As for her personal philosophy when it comes to leadership, Nina says she think it’s best not to sweat the small stuff.

“I talk a lot about not letting the little things push you off course,” she said. “Have faith and confidence that if you keep doing the right things, then the results will come.”

Hear more from Nina Mapson Bone on this week’s episode of The Leadership Lessons, a Women’s Agenda podcast made possible thanks to the support of Salesforce. You can listen here, or subscribe via iTunes or Spotify.

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