Our approach to flexible work & our unlimited leave policy are practical ways in which we live our culture
Rapid Context is a research consulting organisation that was built on the premise that academic rigour and rapid delivery of high quality advice can enjoy each others company. We are passionate about rigorous and robust evidence, and about translating that evidence into policy and change.
Rapid Context has been built on a set of principles that privilege a feminist philosophy, and the knowledge that work is a significant part of someone’s life, but not the sum total of it.
We are cognizant of the need for work, worker and workplace flexibility and the importance of creating an environment that is inclusive of both the individual and the business’s needs.
For the business to operate effectively and successfully we need to consistently deliver high quality products and advice to our clients, both on time and within budget. We must continue to build our reputation as trusted partners. Trust in this context is developed through a high degree of reliability, credibility and intimacy (the ability to have honest and authentic communications) that together optimally balances both our client’s as well as our interests.
The policies and procedures of Rapid Context, as set out below, are aimed at ensuring that we succeed as a business and as an outstanding employer, and as an agent for achieving a good global society through evidence based local change.
Unlimited Paid Leave for Permanent staff (including Part time)
What is Unlimited Leave?
At Rapid Context we believe that Unlimited Paid Leave treats employees as individuals. Time off is a personal issue. Ask five people how much time off they need, and you will get five different answers. Ask the same person one year later, and you will still get different answers. Work styles and personal lives differ, both from person to person and year to year. Those differences have implications for the amount of time off people need in order to lead healthy, productive lives, and an unlimited leave policy gives them the freedom to adapt their time off to their circumstances.
We believe that time off allows employees to ‘free their minds’ and brings them back refreshed and creative. In this hyper-connected world, with smartphones and tablets tethering workers to the office on nights and weekends, the line between work and play has become so blurred that keeping tabs on hours is almost irrelevant.
People may assume that employees will take too much time off, or that people will be afraid to take time off. However in reality they respect the process, take time off and get their work done. Teams work together to create the right balance. Unlimited leave is about trust and empowerment. Its about practically leading the way in creating a good society.
Unlimited Paid Leave replaces all accrued leave provisions – annual, long service, sick leave, and time –in-lieu. Our team mates are trusted to deliver upon all project and task requirements during their employment, and therefore they are also trusted and encouraged to take the time off that they need, as much as they need when they need. The only guidance being a self-imposed and self-monitored idea of fairness to our client’s and team’s needs and reasonableness in your conduct. This enables a culture of self-policing and being able to work with the employer/manager to balance personal and business needs.
How do I notify of my intention to take leave?
All Permanent Staff (including part-time) are entitled to Unlimited Paid Leave. However, when you are planning a significant amount of leave (1 week or more) this needs to be approved by the Director in advance (via email), and, once approved, entered in to the shared calendar. This process assists with project planning and resourcing, and ensures that Rapid Context is still able to deliver on our commitment to clients during all absences. It is also fair conduct toward our fellow team mates.
When completing your time sheets this should be entered using the “personal leave” category.
What can I take leave for?
Unlimited Paid leave is personal leave, including for holidays, carer responsibilities, and community service.
How would I know if I’m taking too much or not enough leave?
Performance conversations occur on a regular basis (see section on ‘feedback and improvement’ below). This will also include general discussion about your needs, project management, and the company’s needs.
Rapid Context is committed to providing generous leave privileges that encourage work-life balance, optimal health and wellbeing, and increased productivity. Our leave policy is therefore intended to foster a work environment that promotes the building and sustaining of high performance teams, without losing sight of the realities of small business.
We trust that each employee is mindful of this balance.
Employees are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. They can also request an additional 12 months of leave. That is, your job is secure while you take time off to care for your child/ren.
Employees can get parental leave when a child is born or adopted.
Parental leave is leave that can be taken when:
an employee gives birth
an employee's spouse or de facto partner gives birth
an employee adopts a child under 16 years of age.
Employees are encouraged to apply for the Australian Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme. https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/maternity-and-parental-leave/paid-parental-leave
Rapid Context encourages employees – both permanent and casual – to return to work after taking parental leave in a mode that best suits them. This could include working from home, bringing baby to work, or working reduced hours. This is underpinned by a “see how I go” approach that enables you to scale up/scale down as required within the first 12 months following parental leave.
Unlimited Paid Leave can be used for carer responsibilities once you have returned to work following parental leave. In the first instance a discussion around timing for returning to work, individual goals, and help setting realistic expectations in terms of commitment and contribution will frame the year ahead.
How and when do I notify the need for maternity leave?
This is a personal choice, however staff are encouraged to inform the Director either verbally or in writing within reasonable amount of time so that your absence can be incorporated in to project planning and resourcing requirements. Ideally this would be at some point in your second trimester or when you have an adoption date.
How and when do I have the discussion about returning to work?
This can happen at any point before or during maternity leave.
Rapid Context encourages employees who have taken maternity leave to stay connected with the team. You will continue to be sent our monthly newsletters and invited to any team social events.
Traditional sick leave is replaced by our Unlimited Paid Leave policy.
How do I notify of sick leave?
The Director needs to be notified via email when you are sick and unable to work. Sick leave should be entered in to your timesheet using the “personal leave” category with a comment stating that you are sick.
A medical certificate is only required if you need to take ten or more consecutive days of leave related to illness.
Ongoing medical concerns that require substantial time of work should be communicated with the Director in writing.
Close down periods
Rapid Context close down periods:
Public Holidays in the State/Territory in which you reside
Easter holiday period (inclusive of Good Friday and Easter Monday).
Christmas and New Year holiday period: 24th December – 1st January (inclusive)
The purpose of close down periods is to provide minimum leave requirements. Casual staff are not expected to work public holidays or over close down periods, however these can be treated as ‘normal’ work days to accommodate flexible work arrangements, described below.
All employees are encouraged to work in a mode and location that best suits their need. This can include, but is not limited to:
Working from home
Working from the Rapid Context office
A combination of work and office
Predominantly working from home and coming in to the office for meetings
Your ordinary hours of work may be completed in a pattern of days/hours over the week that suit both you and the employer. This pattern is not fixed and can be altered to accommodate reasonable requirements of you or the employer.
This may include, but is not limited to:
A pattern of hours/days that repeats week to week
A pattern of hours/days that averages out over a four week period
A minimum number of hours per week with the ability to surge when required
It is expected that all staff will attend monthly team meetings, either in person or via teleconference/skype. Where possible it is expected that staff will attend relevant client meetings.
Children & Babies
Children and babies are welcome in the Rapid Context office, at all times and without exception. We aim to accommodate the needs of parents whenever possible.
If your child has an infectious disease, such as gastroenteritis or whooping cough, we ask that you are mindful of the risks posed to other staff and their children. Further information on infectious diseases can be found on the NSW Health website http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/childhood.aspx
Feedback and improvement
All staff are required to
perform all duties to the best of your ability at all times;
promote and protect the interests of the employer; and
follow all reasonable and lawful directions given to you by the employer, including complying with policies and procedures as amended from time to time.
The Rapid Context approach to performance management is based on the principles of developing high performance teams. Conceptually, this means we always hire people based on their potential (both demonstrated and organic) regardless of their background, colour, creed, religion, gender, disability, sexual preference or any other arbitrary discriminators.
We have adopted a high performance coaching approach to performance management. Coaches don’t coach twice a year or at set periods, good coaches are on the field all the time. They don’t interfere in how their players play the game, however, they bring out their best with expert advice, tricks and tips and through inculcating the importance of on-going education and training. Good coaches also enlist the support of the whole team to provide peer-to-peer coaching. This is done respectfully and in the spirit of high performance through empathy. Finally good coaches always conduct post game analysis and extract maximum value from both good and bad lessons.
We expect every one of our team members to provide high performance coaching to their peers when and where opportunities present, this may be after a client meeting, over a coffee or during planned reflection sessions. Additionally, senior members will be allocated junior members for mentorship. Team members with a special gift for coaching will be provided super coach training.
All staff are required to attend a formal performance review at the three month mark of employment (the end of the probation period). At this time a pattern of formal and informal coaching/performance management will be agreed.
Performance management discussions may include, but are not limited to:
How you are performing as part of a team
Individual performance and goal setting
Reviewing leave use
Areas for improvement
Specific coaching needs