On April 18, fashion company Kendra Scott announced it would close its corporate headquarters the Monday after Mother’s Day in observance of the holiday. Retail, customer service and distribution employees will be paid time and a half, in keeping with the company’s policy for other corporate holidays.
Beth Ley, Kendra Scott’s vice president of total rewards and home office HR, shared the company’s reasoning for the move — along with other commitments Kendra Scott has made to support mothers and other caregivers — in an email interview with HR Dive.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
HR DIVE: How did the idea for the paid day off following Mother’s Day come about?
BETH LEY: We believe our Kendra Scott family deserves to feel supported, celebrated and successful in all their endeavors—both in and out of the office—whether it be as parents, friends, spouses or dog-moms and dog-dads. We wanted to make a bold statement to our entire Kendra Scott family to remind them to take time for themselves. As a company that is comprised of 96% women (many of whom are working moms) this seemed like the perfect way to stand behind our message of encouragement for employees to take the time for self-care.
Can you tell me more about the company’s Mother’s Day Personal Time Off Fund? How does it work and how are the recipients chosen?
The Kendra Scott Mother’s Day PTO Fund was established in hopes of giving moms some much-deserved time off. Entrants were asked to capture a photo or video that showed off a real-life mom moment, and 50 winners were selected based on their submissions. Winners received $2,000 each to cover child care (or any other need) so they could take personal time off and focus on self-care and well-being.
What other ways does the company support mothers and other parents?
Kendra, a working mom herself, has always maintained that she never wants a parent to “miss a soccer game or dance recital.” We have always leaned into flexibility and will continue to do so. In addition, our paid parental leave policies apply both to full-time and part-time employees. We also offer fertility and adoption benefits. At our home office, we have a gym, a smoothie bar, nail salon and kid’s playroom, which add to our sense of family, community and self-care.
Further, in honor of our philanthropy pillar, each employee has paid time off to volunteer for local organizations that are near and dear to them. As a result, we have been able to pour thousands of hours of service into our local communities each year. As a brand, Kendra Scott supports mothers and parents through various philanthropic initiatives year-round, and we focus our giving in three areas: health and wellness, education and entrepreneurship, and women and youth empowerment.
Women were heavily impacted by the pandemic, and many left work due to the stresses related to caregiving. Was Kendra Scott affected by that and what measures has the company taken with regard to retention?
It was incredibly disheartening that many women were forced to leave their jobs or reduce hours during the pandemic due to a lack of child care and home-schooling requirements. At Kendra Scott, we were so lucky not to see this happen because we as a company listened, were flexible, and adapted based on what our employees needed. We provided support through virtual parenting groups and other virtual classes like yoga and meditation. Kendra herself made a sizable donation to our Family Fund, through which employees could request grants to help cover the unexpected increased cost of child care. We continue to engage and retain our workforce by offering personal and professional employee development and a work environment where people feel empowered to show up as their full selves, have the tools to do their best work and have a true sense of belonging.
What kinds of valuable skills do caregivers bring into the office?
Many of the qualities that make people great parents and caregivers also make them amazing co-workers and friends. I have found that becoming a parent has sharpened my ability to show empathy, to actively listen, to practice patience and calm in times of stress, and to pivot and reprioritize quickly.
Being a parent is an incredibly humbling experience. You realize more than ever how little you know and that you must be open to learning new things each day. Bringing that learner’s mindset to work and being open, curious and flexible is key to professional growth as well.