As a networking company, we can easily default to thinking about connections – between us and our employees, our customers and solutions and ultimately, our company and the greater world. Central to all of this is taking an experience-first approach not only with our technology, but also understanding that the most important requirement for networking is simply great people experiences.
With this mindset, Juniper Networks is continuously focused on improving the lives of all our stakeholders and building an employee-first workplace that can support their professional and personal needs. It’s an ongoing task to understand the needs and priorities of our employees, because not only do they constantly change, but they differ across every individual – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.
Creating a Culture of Give and Take
Today, workplaces have the power and responsibility to empower change that allow employees to thrive both at work and other work environments, equally.
Recently, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts as a parent and business leader on the importance of creating a culture of give and take in the workplace.
On Channel News Asia’s Work It podcast, we discussed three key topics:
1. The secret sauce to being one of the Best Workplaces for Parents.
“To create a family-friendly environment, we need to understand that the approach in developing and designing a support structure or benefits package within a company needs to evolve. We need to recognize that benefits centered only around major milestone events like paternity or maternity leave for childbirth, albeit very important, are not sufficient. The reason is that parenthood isn’t a project with a defined start or end date. On the contrary, we all know that being a parent or raising a family is more of a lifelong endeavour with many different stages – so we need to evolve our benefits and the designing of these benefits to cater to that.”
“To address the demands of modern parenting in Juniper, we provide all employees and their spouses with access to platforms like CLEO for parental support. At the height of the pandemic, Juniper rolled out TaskHuman to provide coaching support for all employees, including parents.”
“We want to support working parents within our organization. People are already onboard, and we want to support them. Sometimes, parents or family caregivers at different phases of their careers are looking to switch to different roles and positions that better suit their changing lifestyles. This year, we’ve launched an internal talent marketplace called Junivator Career Connect (JCC). Within my organizations, the sales engineering organization in Asia Pacific and Japan, we’ve encouraged all our teams to leverage this platform, to create and share meaningful projects where we can provide the opportunity for employees to experience different roles – and spot hidden talents within the team.”
2. My own journey as a parent.
“A hybrid mode of working offered by Juniper is useful, empowering and allows flexibility – and this takes a lot of the stress out of daily life. Today, if I choose to work at home, I get to walk my son to school for 15 minutes – and that 15 minutes is precious to both of us because we get to really talk to each other before the start of our days. After that, there is still ample time to walk home and prepare for my first online meeting. That’s how Juniper makes it possible for me to be able to both have a fulfilling career and not miss out on my child growing up – these are some of the best years of his childhood – and I’m not missing out at all because of that flexible arrangement.”
3. Advice for fellow/new parents.
“One, understand that you’re not alone. There are a lot of people who have or are going through this themselves – reach out to people you know – your colleagues, friends or family members to talk through issues.
Second, leverage the resources you have, or your company provides. For example in Juniper, we tell everyone to leverage TaskHuman, or CLEO, these are the platforms that are readily available.
Thirdly, it’s also important not just for parents but for all employees nowadays, to do away with the mental picture that your career is a corporate ladder, a ladder that goes only one way. Nowadays, you need to think of it as a matrix. Sometimes, there are ways to advance your career or have a fulfilling career by looking at alternatives that better suit your lifestyle.”
Juniper’s New Internal Talent Marketplace for Employees
At Juniper, we are constantly looking for new ways to optimize benefits to support our employees as their priorities and demands change, and this involves encouraging development and providing internal growth opportunities.
In March 2023, we launched Junivator Career Connect (JCC), our new internal talent marketplace and career development platform. We see several long-term benefits including improved retention, increased internal mobility, greater cross-functional collaboration and exposure to newly discovered talent, and expanded organizational capacity through gigs. To date, over 50% of Juniper employees globally who have utilized JCC are returning users, and almost half have completed courses on the platform.
Although this benefit is not designed solely for employees who are parents, there are aspects of this that are highly beneficial for working parents. This includes helping parents find or explore any internal career opportunities that provide a more desirable working environment or hours, and even the ability to transition to a remote working arrangement. With the mentoring opportunities provided, young parents can also choose and seek out a mentor who has had previous experience in juggling work and kids.
Incorporating JCC is well-aligned with our overall strategy and provides another avenue for us to better engage and develop our talents. The platform also provides opportunities for employees to participate in projects that either utilize or develop their skills. This includes on-the-job training while providing a preview of what other roles outside their organization are like – helping to supplement any formal training the employee undertakes to round off or hone their skills.
Employees who feel engaged and valued are more productive and loyal at the end of the day. At Juniper, we truly believe that investing in our people is investing in the future of the company. That’s why we’re committed to helping Junivators and prospective talent explore their potential with us.
For more information, visit our Culture & Careers page.