The Importance of Champions

Often, internal champions - individuals or groups determined to bring PFML to their business - successfully make the case to senior decision makers and are critical to putting a policy in place.

Individual champions can strengthen their case by building a coalition of support. The more voices - especially influential voices - gathered in support of PFML, the more compelling the case to senior decision makers.

"Our prior and current HR leads were the main champions. They are really passionate that this is the best place to work and knew that we couldn't say one thing and do another." – Consumer goods company

How to Identify Champions

PFML champions can include anyone from senior, influential roles like the head of Human Resources or general counsel, to employee groups like millennials or working parents.

When seeking champions, look for:

  • Women and men – Both can be equally successful champions for PFML
  • Roles outside the HR department – HR leaders spearhead some, but not all, internal campaigns for paid family & medical leave. Also look to other functions for champions such as Legal and business unit leaders
  • Aligned incentives – People whose job mission would be supported by PFML implementation (e.g., Chief Culture Officer) can make strong champions
  • Personal connection – Individuals may be particularly passionate about PFML if they have a personal need or connection to the benefit (e.g., is a working parent, has a team member about to have a child, is a caregiver for elderly parents, took advantage of a PFML benefit at their previous company)

Company Examples

A large company recently implemented paid parental leave after the U.S. General Counsel championed the cause with senior leadership. She found vital support from the company's European head of HR, who was shocked that the U.S. did not provide this benefit, since paid parental leave is established across Europe.

A large company implemented paid parental leave after the policy was championed by the company's Millennial Voices group, a team of Millennials charged with helping the company attract and retain the next generation workforce.