Life as a working parent has changed drastically in the last few years. The global pandemic and changing economic climate have made a significant impact, both good and bad. Parents are balancing more than ever before, and it’s made the work-life relationship more stressful.
A recent American Psychological Association (APA) study found that 72% of working parents were stressed based on disruptions and uncertainty about school and childcare schedules.
In addition to childcare uncertainty, LendingTree reported that parents have also seen a 41% annual increase in childcare costs for center-based services. Other research shows that parents are more stressed than non-parents about other issues as well, including money (80% compared to 58% of non-parents), the economy (77% compared to 59% of non-parents), and housing costs (72% compared to 39% of non-parents).
With all these things considered, how do we support parents and keep them engaged on our teams? We’ve compiled our top tips for attracting and retaining parents in your workforce.
Top 5 Tips for Supporting Parents in the Workplace
1. Be flexible
Appointments, field trips, sporting events, sick days…parents are juggling a lot. Give them grace and space to take care of their responsibilities. If their work is getting done, provide the flexibility in how and when they get it done. If you’re able to offer flexible hours, parents can be just as or even more productive outside of the traditional 9 to 5. Allowing parents to take off for a doctor’s appointment or daycare pick-up makes a big impact and builds loyalty.
2. Get your priorities straight
Family is more important than work. When you as a company support this value, it encourages your employees and will help build a culture of trust and higher performance. When your employees don’t need to choose between work and family, you will relieve a burden you may not realize is there.
3. Understand what matters.
Ask the parents at your workplace how you can support them best. Each parent may have different preferences or may be in a different season of parenthood. For example, provide a comfortable mom’s room for your team. By asking how you can be supportive, you can understand them better. A potentially small change could make all the difference to the parents on your team.
4. Be considerate of their time
When a parent is out due to maternity or paternity leave, vacation, or a personal/sick day, protect their time away. Don’t bother them while they are trying to unplug. Often my coach has kicked me out of the office because of a sick child. She encourages me to be fully present with them. Another coworker on our team was on maternity leave. Our coach and team members divided up her responsibilities, so she could navigate this major life adjustment with her family uninterrupted.
5. Be Respectful
Honor the moms (and dads) on your team—not because they gave you life, but because they are awesome employees who bring new ideas and a solid work ethic. Don’t disregard their contribution. While they may require more flexibility in this season of life, they bring a myriad of experience and skills to the table.
When you treat your moms and dads right while they need that extra support, I guarantee you’ll have a much more dedicated and invested employee.