How companies of all sizes can support working parents
Published by: LifeWorks,
Working parents are increasingly prevalent in the workforce, so the need for a parent-friendly workplace culture is growing.
In the UK, 76 percent of couple families with one child have both parents working, according to the Office for National Statistics.
While big-name companies like Google and Facebook offer impressive parental benefits, smaller employers are still trying to find benefits that best fit their budget and company needs.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a global tech company to make working parents feel understood and valued. You can build a supportive workplace culture for parents, no matter your size:
Smaller companies run lean, usually with 50 employees or less. It’s difficult to provide generous paternity leave when you don’t have a big enough workforce to cover the slack. And you may not have the budget to cover the costs.
Solution: Provide employees with flexible work arrangements. Flextime and telecommuting are not expensive perks; they’re a strong business strategy.
With these benefits, you encourage autonomy, which has a positive impact on satisfaction and productivity. In fact, an April 2017 study published in Work and Occupations found employees with higher levels of autonomy at work experienced increased levels of job satisfaction and more positive effects on well-being than employees who worked with lower levels of autonomy.
Flexibility is especially beneficial for working parents. It allows them to coordinate with their spouse or child care services.
Incorporate flextime by making their attendance mandatory for a select few hours each day. The rest of the time, give them the option to work remotely. Alternatively, designate specific days each week that employees can choose to work outside of the office.
Medium companies face a unique challenge—building a workplace culture that encourages balance. You want to build an A-team as your company grows, but you might risk burning employees out if you aren’t clear about encouraging work-life balance.
You don’t want an office full of work martyrs, or employees who think it’s hard to take their annual leave because they feel guilty and want to prove dedication to their job.
Last December, HR Magazine reported that more than six million full-time workers in the UK had not taken their full annual leave allowance.
Solution: Don’t put working parents in this trap. They shouldn’t be forgoing their children’s dance recitals or burying themselves in debt to cover child care costs while working overtime.
Discuss each employee’s track record for taking time off during performance reviews to send a clear message—taking time away from work is encouraged.
This is especially true for working parents. Time off gives them a break from juggling work responsibilities and allows them to recharge.
Large companies are built on strong teams, and working parents are an essential part of that team. As your company thrives, you want your talent to thrive with you.
Parents shouldn’t have to compromise building their career for raising a family. Large companies can create training courses dedicated to empowering parents with career development opportunities.
Solution: Start a working parent career development course. Consult with employees on their professional goals, then write an action plan for them that fits their schedule. This keeps them engaged and motivated to grow with you, which boosts retention.
The fact of the matter is you can build a supportive workplace culture for parents, no matter the size of your budget or employee population. Doing so not only helps attract and retain working parents, but also it creates a happier, healthier workforce.