Danone: why caregiving matters

With over 100,000 employees, Danone are committed to globally investing in their talent. They have devised a range of flexible policies that truly support and value people throughout key life transitions.

It started through the launch of their first Global Parental Policy. For the past few years, they’ve offered consistent support to all employees from pregnancy right up to the baby’s second year of life. After seeing the positive return on investment, the company was then keen to apply this same method to other parts of the workforce. They are currently implementing a package that focuses on supporting family caregivers. These initiatives have quickly become a best practice for parental policy within the HR industry.

“After implementing our parenthood policy 8 years ago, 100% of Danone mothers are now returning to work after maternity leave. 40% of promotions go to those same mothers too. What’s more, our birth rate currently sits at 7%. That’s 11 points ahead of the Italian national average (currently at -4%)”. It’s what Sonia Malaspina, HR director South Europe Danone Specialized Nutrition, had to say about the policy. Lifeed (previously known as MAAM) has been a part of the policy since 2017. To date, we’ve focused on taking expectant mothers and new parents on a learning journey to value this unique life transition.

Highlighting the value in life experiences

“Thanks to the program for new parents, we’ve seen incredible and measurable growth. So many skills have improved. Skills such as priority management (+35%), decision making (+15%), delegation (+35%) and managing complexity (+10%) as well as empathy (+35%) and mental agility (+20%)” continues Sonia Malaspina.

These statistics show how the knowledge and skills of a caregiver can also improve management skills. It’s why Danone are now extending initiatives to caregivers too. It’s an opportunity to value and support employees that look after elderly parents, disabled relatives and dependent loved ones.

Caring for someone means that each day you are using skills that are essential in the workplace too. Skills such as problem solving, time management, empathy and mental agility. These are the skills that employers want the most. They enable people to keep a competitive advantage over machines. 

– Lifeed CEO and founder, Riccarda Zezza