7 Ways To Hold On To Return-To-Work Parents

In the modern world, it’s common for both parents to work.

With many employees now having to juggle professional and parental commitments, the workplace culture is shifting. More flexible and innovative ways of working are becoming necessary, and the FinTech sector is no exception to these developments.

98% of working parents say that they have experienced burnout. 63% of parents who are managers say they are worried about the impact their working hours will have on their relationships with their children. (1)

If these trends are ones you are aware of in your business, the following tips should help you take some proactive steps toward increasing your company’s hold on its return-to-work parents.

1. Understand that parental leave isn’t ‘time off’

Accenture offer new parents, including those who are adopting, 36 weeks of maternity leave on full pay. (2)

This may seem like a long duration. However, with caring for an infant being considered more stressful and tiring than regular employment in many respects, keep in mind that an employee returning from a lengthy parental leave may be experiencing extremely low motivation. Especially first-time mothers and fathers who may have taken a parental leave longer than traditional.

To combat this, sit down with returning parents and try to fully understand what it is they’d like to see from their return. From here, you can brief the team accordingly and formulate a training strategy that will help those returning from maternity or paternity leave keep well-informed

2. Embrace flexible working

Many returning parents combine work with ongoing care commitments, however this can only be achieved if they are being offered flexible working arrangements.

There are just as many benefits of providing flexible working for the employer as there are for the returning parent. There’s increased company loyalty, higher productivity levels, decreased operational costs with employees less likely to take sick leave or resign, and an enhancement of the company’s overall reputation through being a family-friendly workplace.

While both men and women are legally allowed to request flexible working, return to work mothers are considerably more likely to appeal to work part time or to a flexible schedule. However, studies have shown that part-time or flexible workers can often be passed over for promotions due to the stigma of them being considered as ‘un-committed’. The consequence of this is that many mothers returning to work could experience significant career setbacks.

So, not only should you embrace flexible working, you should address some of the cultural and social issues at play in order to encourage both sexes to utilise these opportunities. Aligning flexibility to the overall objectives of your business will ensure it is rooted into your company ethos.

3. Provide managers with appropriate training

Training line managers to have open and honest conversations about family circumstances and career development can greatly ease the transition period, and it helps create a phased return-to-work period that suits everyone.

Through mutual understanding and true empathy, managers can appreciate the complexity of return-to-work parent’s lives, allowing them to take an active role in supporting and encouraging staff — especially in relation to remote working.

4. Review changing needs

Take the time to do periodic reviews in response this major life change. The needs and demands of an employee can change over time, as can the needs of a job. A return-to-work review of these needs will help you assist the returning parent in adjusting the work to fit their new circumstances.

This will also ensure that there’s a good work-life balance and that productivity is greatly maintained, two factors that work wonders for employee retention.

5. Have check in days throughout the parental leave period

Check in days between the employer and the employee on paternal or maternal leave can greatly benefit both parties when it comes to their future return to work. It’s up to both to agree on the amount of contact, where and how this contact with take place (whether it be face-to-face, by email or over the phone), and who the employee is to be in contact with.

By keeping in contact, you can stay updated on their wellbeing, giving you the opportunity to provide additional support where necessary. You can also keep them up to speed with any relevant updates or changes happening at work. In keeping them aware of the happenings in the business during their absence, their return-to-work will be much less of an overwhelming process.

6. Identify new skills

After taking leave to look after an infant, many parents find themselves coming back to the office with a feeling of having been through some sort of intense informal training.

This is mainly down to the fact that throughout maternity or paternity leave, an abundance of transferable skills are developed. However, many companies fail to capitalise on them. These can include person-related skills, (perspective-talking), tangible skills (time managing), and personal skills, such as self-efficacy and resilience. Helping returning parents identify these unacknowledged skills will have considerable benefits on their wellbeing, performance and their overall satisfaction in the role.

7. Create a ‘return-to-work’ onboarding programme

Treat returning parents as new starters for the first week or so. Depending how long they have been out of office for, there may be new systems and processes in place, let alone new people in the business to get to know.

New parents will undoubtedly have new skills to bring to the business, but they will also need to take some time to brush up on the tasks that used to be second nature to them. By retraining and re-familiarising them with different areas of the business, they will feel more comfortable and step back into their job.

Adopting a mentor scheme can be an excellent way of onboarding returning parents, especially those who may consequently be working remotely or to a different work schedule than their cohorts. Senior members of staff can serve as excellent mentors and can provide advice to parents who are now faced with balancing their new work and life commitments. For the re-onboarding to be successful, you also need to discuss and set revised expectations. Before their return, determine what your own expectations are, and then formalise these together. So long as they are clear and realistic, both yourself and the returning parent will be coordinated and consequently achieve better results.

If you are looking to implement a return-to-work policy, or would like advice on how to become more inclusive for your returning parents, get in touch. Our expert consultants are able to provide you with advice and assistance to help you through this process.

[1] https://www.lawdonut.co.uk/business/blog/17/11/six-ways-employers-can-support-mothers-back-to-work?cmpredirect [2] https://mybumppay.com/best-companies-for-parents-and-mums-to-be/

Originally published at https://storm2.com on February 23, 2021.

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