As an employer, you should be providing the working parents within your business with the flexibility, support and guidance they need to have the right work life balance. If you think there is room for improvement, then make sure to incorporate some of these things into your policies and your processes to give your employees the support they deserve.
Revise Your Parental Leave
The best place to start is to firstly revise your parental leave policies. You should look at what other companies in the industry are offering, as well as what other industries are offering, whilst of course always making sure you’re meeting all legal requirements as a minimum. Although you shouldn’t stop here, as providing just what other companies do or the legal requirement is likely not catering for the needs of your employees specifically. So, having this as a base, and then building on top of it to cater to the needs of your employees, is really important.
Provide Adequate Offboarding and Onboarding
Something important to provide for new parents in the workplace is adequate offboarding and onboarding when they are leaving for and coming back from maternity leave. The process of leaving and coming back can be overwhelming, and as they have so much on their plate already, you should do what you can to support them through the process. You should take the time to talk to their management and ensure that the handover process is carefully managed in the run up to their leave, so they can leave confident their role is in safe hands.
When they come back, providing them with another sufficient handover and support whilst they settle back in is important, again to make them feel comfortable and to take the element of stress away from them. Overall, as management, you should be more engaged with your employees who are about to leave or are coming back from their maternity leave, to ease the transition and to make them feel settled.
Have Open Discussions About Flexibility
Every workplace is different, and so are the employees, so what employees at one company want in terms of flexibility can be completely different to others. That’s why you should have regular open discussions about flexibility in the workplace, finding out what you can do to make working life easier for parents. You may have some components you need in place in order for the business to function properly, for example all employees being available between 10am and 2pm to ensure that internal communications or client communications can run smoothly. However, in terms of flexibility outside of these hours, as well as working from home, have conversations with your employees and find out what they need from you. Again, this will differ depending on the industry and the nature of the business, but the most important thing is to keep an honest line of communication between yourselves and your employees and remain flexible to their needs.
Create A Parental Support Group Within The Office
If there is a large community of parents within your workplace, then it would be worth asking whether a parental support group within the office would be useful. Providing a space for employees to talk about the day to day challenges as a working parent not only provides some support, but it could give them the space to generate ideas about how the company could be more supportive. This might not be something that your employees want or would find useful, and that’s absolutely fine, but putting the idea out there would be beneficial. You could have meetings once a month, or more often if people would find that useful, to provide support to parents who need it. Juggling being a parent and working can be very difficult to navigate, and in terms of the working side of things, no one will understand it more than the people working in the same company as you! So, consider setting this up and speak to your team about whether it will be useful, as it could make a big difference to working parents in your workplace.
Create An Outcome Based Working Model
One of the best things that you can do to support working parents is to create an outcome based working model. This is focused on results rather than the time that is put in. A very productive employee could complete the work they need to within 4 hours, whereas another employee could procrastinate and be at the desk for 8 hours doing the same task. That’s why your working model should be outcome based, providing employees with realistic tasks, targets and outcomes for the week or month depending on their job role, then they know exactly what they’re working to. This encourages employees to drive for success and develop personal outcomes, as well as improving well being and often a more productive office. The outcomes you provide don’t need to be limited either, you could provide necessary outcomes and then additional outcomes and then provide bonus schemes for the employees that go above and beyond.
Offer Family Friendly Benefits
In your benefits scheme, offering family friendly work benefits is a great thing to do. From family planning advice to mental health support, providing workplace self-care budgets, health insurance and actual events for families to attend like pantomimes or fun days, going out of your way to show you care about your employees, their families and their wellbeing is important. Again, this isn’t about just ticking a box or keeping up with what other companies are doing, but genuinely caring about your employees and what they find valuable from their company.
We’ve introduced a wide range of different ways that you can support working parents in the workplace, from new parents right through to providing support for the families of your teams. Every business has different budgets when it comes to these things, but you should be making an effort to show you care and doing what you can within the means of the business in order to show that. It doesn’t always take investment either, for example things like flexibility and working from home doesn’t cost the business anything but can make a huge difference to your employees and their families. Whether your business is in the hospitality industry, recruiting, credit insurance, teaching or anything in between, providing your employees with adequate support and compassion as parents is so important, to help you retain fantastic members of staff who are assets to your business.