10 Ways To Support Working Parents in Your Organization
New parents have a lot to contend with, and that is before considering their relationship with their managers. Employers need to support their workers through this huge life event, at the same time that they need employees to be reliable and motivated.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a painful transition period. With the right incentives and guidance, your team may even come out stronger.
How do you do this? There are numerous family-friendly policies and benefits your company can implement. Here are ten ways to support working parents within your workplace:
1. Create a Supportive Work Culture
The obvious way to incentivize working parents is to provide specific care and benefits unavailable to other staff. However, if your workplace isn’t supportive, parents may feel unable to claim them without shame.
Encourage a positive attitude towards parents, showing support through work emails or social media. Family-friendly policies are only effective if the workers use them, so make your support known!
2. Support Flexible Work
One thing that all working parents value is flexibility. There is no denying how much work goes into raising children. It is effectively a second job, especially if a child becomes sick and needs additional care.
It can make a significant difference in their gratitude, which will see returns as productivity. Support for family-friendly policies and healthy work-life balance benefits employees and employers alike.
3. Pay Your Workers Appropriate Amounts
If your business isn’t paying salaries in line with the average family costs, you will likely push staff into other jobs. Supporting working parents with liveable wages helps them cover the various costs of raising children.
Luxury benefits are great, but sometimes the best thing managers can do for their employees is improve on the basics so that they can afford to put their child in daycare.
4. Provide Easy Access to Childcare
One of the best things you can do for working parents is to provide childcare on-site. Of course, this isn’t possible for all companies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer childcare support in other ways.
Partnerships with childcare businesses that result in discounts for your employees could prove hugely helpful.
5. Place Emphasis on Paid Leave
The United States is one of the only developed economies that does not guarantee its workers paid leave. For parents, time away from work is a must when they welcome a new child into their lives, but they can’t sacrifice their wages.
Paid leave is the perfect way to support your workers, ensuring that they can care for their new family members without sacrificing financial benefits.
6. Ask Working Parents What They Want
The best way to understand your workers is to communicate directly with them. Many employers will look outside of their company to answer their problems but neglect to ask the very people these programs will affect.
Make the most of the relationship between managers and workers by asking them specifically which programs would support them most. It will give you direct insight into their priorities and show that you care, which is invaluable for an employer.
7. Check in on Working Parents Returning from Leave
If you do offer parents paid leave after the birth of their child, your efforts shouldn’t cease once they return. Paid leave is a great start, but parents often feel a culture shock when they return. Many parents will leave their job after returning as they discover their priorities now rest squarely with their children, not their job.
Luckily for employers everywhere, this doesn’t have to be a certainty. Have your managers check in with parents consistently throughout their first year back. It might sound excessive, but you need to understand that their whole life has now changed.
Returning workers require professional guidance, and you can provide it simply by showing yourself to be an empathetic employer. Your efforts will reap the rewards with loyalty.
8. Introduce Family Health Insurance
Parents worry about their children, especially when it comes to them getting sick. Providing your workers with an insurance plan as part of their employment can soothe some of the most common worries parents may experience.
Indeed, employees are more likely to stay at a job if there is employer-sponsored health coverage. If they know they can account for their children’s health, they can focus their professional efforts on their work.
9. Offer a Staggered Return to Work
The introduction of a child into anyone’s life can truly turn it upside down. By providing your employees with a staggered return to work instead of all at once, you minimize the culture shock of swapping diapers for diagrams.
Staggered returns could also increase the chances of your workers staying with you for longer, knowing that they have the support they need from a flexible work program.
10. Prioritize Work Into Clear Categories
Finally, it is time to reconsider how you talk about working with the new parents on your team. Though it might seem hard to accept, you are no longer their top priority. If a lot of your work is messenger or email-based, consider adding specific labels to indicate when you need the task completed.
Managers could carry this out simply by adding deadlines to tasks or categorizing them as ‘urgent’ or ‘not urgent.’ It is only a small change, but by being more specific with your expectations, you help parents to organize their time better. This will benefit both employer and employee alike.
There are numerous ways to incentivize working parents to join your company or stay on once they return. If you aren’t sure which would benefit your team the most, ask the parents on your team. They have lived the experience!
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