Author and social entrepreneur Riccarda Zezza was inspired to launch HR tech company Lifeed, after 15 years of working in management positions in the corporate world, where she was eventually demoted after having her second child.
She felt that the experience of parenthood gave her incredible new ‘invisible’ skills, but her employer saw it as a burden.
Lifeed offers digital training programmes to workplaces that harness the power of significant life transitions into professional skills development for the world of work.
Lifeed’s programmes are for parents with children under 18 and expectant mothers, and those who care for an elderly or sick relative. This year it also introduced a course for people who have gone through a crisis – such as the recent lockdown.
The programmes take place on a dedicated web app over several months, with participants recommended to input roughly 30 minutes per week, including reflections, writing tasks and real-world exercises.
Zezza has based Lifeed’s offerings on her belief that life experiences add value to an employee, helping to train unique soft skills.
As a result, many organisations have shifted their business perceptions on how people’s life transitions affect them as employees. Here are examples from three global businesses.
Siram Veolia – environmental practice consultancy
Siram Veolia has an average employee age of 45 years, with a large proportion being caregivers and parents outside of work. Their HR team were looking for new ways to support their employees to find the balance between the different roles in their lives, hoping this could boost wellbeing both at home and work.
The consultancy implemented Lifeed’s programmes for both parents and caregivers to the relevant employees and found good results both in and out of work, as hoped. When surveyed, 90% of participants commented that they found Lifeed as a successful way of ‘putting everything together’ in life and work, and 80% of participants now wanted to become an ‘agent for change’ in their company to highlight the value of life experiences, after using the programme.
CEO Emanuela Trentin commented: “We chose to offer Lifeed training journeys in our company in line with the spirit of bringing new worlds and ways of living together to get the best out of our employees. We found that collaborating for the common good favoured our company synergy.”
Accenture Interactive – global digital agency
The three pillars of Accenture‘s HR strategy are: Courageous leadership; Diversity training for valuing and favouring inclusion; and Female Growth. In line with this, the company were looking for ways they could engage the unique skills of parents at the business.
In 2018, they implemented the Lifeed Parents programme and found strong results from employees. When surveyed, they found that nearly half of the participants felt ‘more motivated at work because they see their experiences being valued by colleagues and the company’.
On top of this, 67% of participants confirmed they now felt that their learnings from parenting experiences had also been useful at work.
HR Manager Raffaella Temporiti, commented: “Lifeed helps to capitalise on the parenting experiences of mothers and fathers, as a training experience that fuels professional growth, as well as enriching and valuing the person, business and company”.
Enel – a multinational energy company
Enel has more than 69,000 employees across 35 countries and five continents. 26% of Enel Italy employees are between 30 and 40 years old, while 42% are over 50. 19% of these employees are women. Given their age and socio-demographic settings, they predominantly find themselves becoming new parents or looking after an elderly, disabled or dependent family member.
Enel Italy implemented the Lifeed Parents programme and found strong results when evaluating their employees afterwards.
Eighty-nine per cent felt they had improved their skills in the workplace, 89% felt they had more energy ‘across the board’, and 75% felt closer to their company. The most enhanced skills were communication, creativity, time management and networking.
The below testimonials are from anonymous employees who have taken part in the Lifeed programme, demonstrating some of the benefits from taking part:
- “This experience has made me want to stay on at the company even more than before.”
- “I’m stronger now. I no longer need to approach my different roles (mom, worker, wife, etc.) differently. I can put my whole self into what I do with no trouble at all and without dividing up my skills.”
- “I’ve seen lots of improvement these past few weeks… in intuition, understanding non-verbal language, empathy, mental and physical resistance and keeping stress under control.”
The below testimonials highlight some changed perceptions about the value of parenthood following participation in the Lifeed Parents programme:
- “Fatherhood has taught me to identify the essentials, to simplify and delegate, and to become laser-focused. I’m open to different perspectives on situations and behaviour. It can be both useful and positive because you can put things into perspective.”
- “I believe that we acquire incredible physical and psychological ‘powers’ with motherhood, as well as greater self-confidence and self-awareness; a mom is a guarantee, a pillar of the family, and for her company too!”
- “I think motherhood has simply amplified qualities I’ve always had, empathy first and foremost, because if you’re not tuned in to the problem/the other person, then you won’t come up with the solutions, creative or otherwise. And, if you have two kids you know it’s highly unlikely that what works with one will also work with the other….”
Lifeed recently conducted an internal test study on how people engaged with their Caregivers programme in the US and UK.
- 75% reported that they have increased their self-awareness and learned more about themselves
- 67% said that that content was relevant to their experience and life
- 78% felt they had gained empathy for themselves
- 78% of the participants reported that their engagement with the company would increase if they were offered the course like this.
Riccarda Zezza-CEO Lifeed and co-author of Maternity as a Master.