Working and parenting are often seen as an incompatible duo. It not just needs high commitment levels but also drains off your energy. You are required to juggle well between meeting your professional and personal commitments such as taking care of your children’s necessities while getting your job done as scheduled.
However, choosing one over the other is (almost) impossible. Since working at office and keeping a tab on their children’s movement is an obligation for most parents. Is there any way HR leaders can help support working parents?
Imagine the worst case scenario, wherein your four-year old son is having fever and you are required to attend an urgent meeting with the C-suite. While you can hand over the responsibility to take care of your child to your partner or hire services of a nanny/domestic help. The problem gets further exacerbated when your partner gets an urgent call at work too, and no nanny is available during such times.
During such situations, who is to be blamed? Chances are, parents have to take all the blame for choosing work and leaving their children unattended.
To prevent such happenings, companies can help working parents by offering benefits that will balance the demands of their working and parenting lives. Research shows that parents (both mothers and fathers) with children are more professionally productive than those who do not have children (both men and women).
Multinationals such as Microsoft and Google have realised this advantage and become leading organisations to build childcare centres, parenting funds, and others perks for their employees who expand families. If you do not want to be left behind, here are several ways to develop HR programs for working parents in your organisation:
Promote flexibility at work
The foremost and simplest step you can do to support working parents is by offering flexibility at work. Whether it is an option to work remotely, share job between co-workers, or draw limits on overtime, HR leaders should accommodate parents’ needs for both planned and unplanned events related to family.
If on one of the days, your employee calls and informs that they will be coming late to work, as they need to attend their children’s school events, kindly allow them permission to do so. As long as targets are met and deadlines are not missed, you can always manage time and meet schedules.
Offer paid parental leave
Modern parenting requires not only mother’s sole involvement in nurturing and caring for the child, but also father’s dedication to upbringing. When parents need leave to attend to their family/child concerns, they often have to apply for an unpaid leave.
This means the more days, they stay off work, the more salary cuts. This condition can be devastating for single parents. As a leader, you need to shift your perspective about working parents in your team.
While they need money to raise their children, they need time to bond with them as well. Thus, an organisation can help them in the process by offering paid paternal leave for all employees. Not only will this bring them ease, but will increase retention and reduce attrition rate as well.
Create affinity groups
If many of your employees are working parents, you can encourage them by creating affinity groups within the organisation. In the group, everyone can share issues and ideas related to work and parenting, while supporting each other through the phase.
Whether it is a group created to help mothers adjust themselves at the workplace after giving birth, or a group to assist fathers with pre-teen children, affinity groups are a great way to empower working parents.
Towards the end, working parents should not be seen as a cost-to-the-company or a burden that will affect company’s productivity, but as a new force that will boost your company’s efficiency. This mindset and change in approach will not only be beneficial for working parents, but would also contribute towards better employee retention and attract more talents to a growing family.
Read also: Decoding the DNA of an Engaged Employee