Paternity Leave at Appian
Ciao! My name is Claudio Di Gregorio and I’m an Account Executive at Appian based out of London in the UK. As an Account Executive I look after our Retail and Consumer Goods customers. On a daily basis I speak to new and existing customers to understand what their objectives are and learn how we can support them with our capabilities and offerings. Alongside myself we have Solution Consultants, Customer Success and Industry Leads who make sure our customers are successful. Life at Appian has been going great since I joined back in January 2021. The company culture is unlike any other. In fact, one of my favorite benefits that I’ve been able to take advantage of recently is the paternity leave policy which allows all new fathers to take 12 weeks off in the first year of their newborn.
Just the start
I'd say that changing jobs while knowing that such a big event in my life was going to happen was somewhat of a worry at first. No one knows exactly what to expect from your current employer, but when you are interviewing for a new company many questions arise; for example if your new employer would expect you to work during paternity leave? Or might they prefer a candidate who isn’t going through such a life changing event? During the interview I felt very comfortable with the recruiter, recruiting manager and all of the other managers and directors I interviewed with. When I shared the news that my wife and I were expecting a child everyone was very happy, complementary and supportive.
As soon as I started the new job in January I was asked when I wanted to take paternity leave. In the back of my mind I thought I was going to have 2 relaxing weeks… little did I know what was waiting for me. My son Lupo was born in late February and right away HR reached out to let me know that I could also take advantage of the new policy of 12 weeks of paternity leave, even if it was going to be effective as of March.
A team that provides comfort
It’s one thing to know about a policy or benefit that a company provides but another to actually feel totally comfortable using it. Like I mentioned earlier, I was nervous to be changing jobs at such a big time in my life but the people at Appian made me feel excited to take advantage of paternity leave. My manager was very supportive, suggesting I should absolutely spend time with my family. So at first I took 2 weeks which were absolutely incredible, but then I took an additional 5 weeks in the summer. Those 5 weeks were truly magical. Francesca, my wife, is the main carer of our son and of course a mom and son have a special bond. However, after spending so much time with them in those 5 weeks it was incredible to see how much stronger the bond between myself and Lupo grew.
Many firsts and special moments
I hadn't realised how smart babies can be and those 5 weeks together as a family were truly special and unique. There were many 'firsts' in those weeks as well. Lupo’s first flight, first laugh, first time sitting up and rolling over, first time eating solid food and more. These would have been experiences and moments that I wouldn't have witnessed first hand if I hadn't taken the time off. My wife also took advantage of the policy by making sure I did my fair share of work with Lupo. In fact if I slept in or tried to sneak a nap after lunch she threatened me and said she would call Appian HR to let them know that I wasn't doing my paternal duties (LOL). Jokes aside, being able to help her during the day was also a big part of this. Covid made things harder and we had little help, so giving her those extra hours of rest was really important.
As a whole I feel much more part of my own family because of the paternity leave policy at Appian. It might sound silly, but pre and post pregnancy a lot of focus is put on woman and child (and that's absolutely right) but as a father you can feel somewhat alienated. Having had the opportunity to take so much time off allowed us to put the foundations to really grow all together as a family and involve me in many aspects of bringing up our son.
I never gave much thought to Paternity Leave, mostly because it seemed that 2 weeks off was simply the standard in the UK, but having the ability of taking more time off is an absolute luxury that fathers need to take advantage of. If you’re about to become a father or even changing careers in the midst of this big life event, I encourage you to be transparent and sincere about how you feel with your coworkers, and pay attention to the way your new employer makes you feel about it. Good luck and happy parenting!