7 ways you can better support working parents in your organization
Help your organization’s working parents and caregivers find better work-life balance. Use these 7 tips to get started.
Working parents face unique challenges in the workplace, often compromising and reprioritizing their time to fulfill all of the commitments on their plates. Organizations – and managers in particular – must demonstrate empathy and support for working parents to enable them to be successful in their dual (or sometimes myriad) roles.
Doing so benefits both the parent – by having the flexibility to get their work done when it works for them – and the organization – by attracting and retaining top talent.
Ready to better support working parents and caregivers at your organization? Here are seven practical ways to get started.
1. Offer flexibility with work hours
It’s clear: The traditional 9-to-5 work schedule wasn’t designed with working parents in mind. From morning school drop-offs to after-school activities, parents often face competing priorities when it comes to their kids' schedules.
One way to support working parents here? Offer flexibility as to when and where work gets done, AKA outside normal working hours.
“Clear and open communication with my team ensures that I’m available for meetings and discussions, but it also frees me up to manage my dad duties.” - Peter Majeed, Director, Customer Success at Qualtrics and father of two
“Clear and open communication with my team ensures that I’m available for meetings and discussions, but it also frees me up to manage my dad duties,” shared Peter Majeed, Director of Customer Success at Qualtrics and father of two. “I find that simply blocking out time in my calendar allows me to start work a little bit later and take time in the afternoon for the school run.”
Also, keep in mind that flexibility looks different for every working parent.
“Parenting at Qualtrics enables me to be there for my children each day,” said Laura Zapala, Manager of Talent Acquisition at Qualtrics and mother of three. “In the morning, for us to have breakfast together and chat about the day ahead; in the evenings, to hear all about their days and be there for bath and bedtime.”
2. Respect employees’ work-life boundaries
For Jules Cantwell, Director of Revenue Operations at Qualtrics and father of four, life is a balancing act. Thanks in part to the flexibility Qualtrics offers, Jules aims to keep the balance between work and family as best he can.
“With four kids and busy jobs, I won’t lie, life is pretty hectic, but also full of joy for my wife, Laura, and I.” - Jules Cantwell, Director, Revenue Operations and father of four
How does he do this, exactly? He shared the three steps he takes to be present with his kids in the moments that matter:
- Do what it takes to get the job done during the week, but never work on the weekends.
- Be home in the evenings to help with suppertime and bedtime, even if it means going back online later on.
- Block his calendar from 8:15 to 8:45 AM every morning to be there for his favorite time of day: porridge time and the school run.
3. Be clear about your parental leave policy
According to a recent survey of working parents (and those who are considering parenthood) at Qualtrics, one of the top challenges of being a working parent is a lack of clarity on parental leave policies. In fact, half of managers surveyed (50%) said they were unclear or very unclear about the parental leave policy.
“50% of managers said they were unclear or very unclear about the parental leave policy.”
What does this mean for your organization? Do an impeccable job of communicating and explaining your parental leave policy over the course of the employee lifecycle. That means, talk to new hires about it; remind employees of it during benefits open enrollment; and encourage managers to have open and transparent dialogue about what the company offers.
Why? So your employees can reap the benefits.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have the backing of my manager and Qualtrics and take one day’s parental leave per week,” shared Rosie Warren, Principal Analyst, Sales Training & Enablement at Qualtrics and mother of two.
“Taking every Monday off has just been a game-changer for me. [My advice would be] to communicate with your manager around what’s going to work best for the team and for the business, as well as what makes the most sense for yourself.”
“I have a lot to be grateful for,” added Margherita Ciantia, Senior Customer Success Consultant at Qualtrics and mother of two. “[I’m grateful] to those who fought for paid maternity leave here in EMEA, to our leadership team who encourage and promote mobility within the organization, and to our managers who enable us to be very flexible and support us with our day-to-day challenges with kids.”
4. Offer working parent benefits to all caregivers
In the same survey of working parents (and those who are considering parenthood) at Qualtrics, 78% of employees said the benefits granted to working parents should also apply to any type of caregiver, including those supporting an elderly parent or grandchildren.
Given that the vast majority of employees support the expansion of benefits to all caregivers, it’s an easy win to take action on this insight and support caregivers of all types at your organization.
“78% of employees said the benefits granted to working parents should also apply to any type of caregiver.”
5. Start a working parents employee resource group
Any parent will tell you raising children truly takes a village. And many rely on their fellow working parents at work for community and support.
Our advice? Be intentional about building a community by starting an employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to working parents. An ERG can help ensure all working parents at your organization are welcome to join and find the support they need.
Have an ERG, but not sure how to get started fostering the community? Here are some ideas:
- Host networking events to help members meet other working parents, such as morning coffee chats or lunch-and-learn events
- Facilitate presentations or roundtable discussions with working parents in leadership on work-life balance and prioritization
- Invite guest speakers to host talks on mental health, mindfulness, resilience, and other topics ERG members are interested in (hint: ask them!)
6. Plan company events for children
Another great way to support your organization’s community of working parents is to plan events for kids – whether they’re onsite, online, or a mix of the two.
These events can include:
- Holiday, seasonal, or regional events (that feature guests/entertainers in the office’s native language)
- Sessions for kids about what your company does
- Office visits when your office reopens; plan to hand out company swag, too
7. Ask working parents what they need – and take action on those insights
From our research, we learned that working parents’ top challenges are:
- Minding children/home-schooling during the day
- Dropping/collecting kids from school or childcare
- A heavy workload and/or the need to attend meetings/work outside of core hours
By asking for feedback, your organization can identify the unique challenges your employees face – and determine how to take action.
Remember: Always action the feedback your employees give you. Doing so not only demonstrates that your organization cares about their well-being, but that you also value their ideas to make your organization a better place to work – for parents, caregivers, and all employees.
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