Small Steps with Big Outcomes — Supporting Parents in the Workplace
From sleep deprivation to financial cost, parenthood certainly comes with an emotional and physical toll. Although this opener sounds negative, it is important to recognize the difficulties accompanying being a parent alongside the overwhelmingly positive experiences.
This can’t be overlooked in the workplace after parenthood, where often there is renewed vigor over a return to work. However, expectations and realities can sometimes be harsh between both the worker and manager.
Research from SkillsNow surveying 500 working moms offers us vital insight into working during and after parenthood. One in six working moms (60%) say they have more patience and empathy in the workplace, after becoming a parent. In fact, many moms actually feel their performance and job satisfaction at work have increased – but only if they were given the right working conditions.
Unfortunately, almost half of working moms (43%) feel they have experienced discrimination in the workplace, after becoming a parent. Whilst 39% say they are not being offered the skills development they need to progress.
Considering this, businesses must introduce provisions to support new parents in the workplace, ensuring both parties are satisfied and ultimately benefiting from the outlook parents can bring.
With two out of three women wanting more training and development following their parental leave, it is clear that further provision is required to suit these needs. In fact, many are simply not being offered the necessary training. Any desire to learn and progress from returning workers should be met with similar positivity from managers, particularly given how fast developments occur in the workplace and previous methods become outdated.
Training should be viewed as a necessity rather than a luxury. To ensure parents feel valued, flexible means of training including VR and digital options must be provided, only then can inclusive development schemes be created for those who wish to progress beyond their current position.
Combatting workplace discrimination
Nearly half of all working moms (43%) feel they have experienced discrimination in the workplace, after becoming a parent. This combined with 37% of women reporting a mental health condition diagnosis after parenthood, creates a significant problem to address. Both are damning statistics considering the percentage size and the extremity of discrimination, therefore action must be taken to combat this.
One means to do so is to raise awareness of the needs and the value of working moms within the workplace, offering various support options to help each employee.
Making use of productivity
With six in ten moms (60%) believing they have more patience and empathy in the workplace after becoming a parent, many moms actually feel their performance and job satisfaction at work can increase – but only given the right working conditions. Any improvement in outlook and productivity is significant for your business and a very helpful means by which to achieve goals ahead of schedule and increase workforce morale. Therefore it is also necessary to acknowledge these increases by showing your appreciation; small shifts in ways of working can mean a lot when utilized in the right manner or context.
Discussing and providing flexible working hours is now commonplace, and shows support and willingness from your business – particularly in adapting to the needs of new moms. Showing flexibility around office hours is a great start but furthering this thinking would be possible through introducing a benefits package, offering subsidies on childcare and healthcare provision; alleviating more potential financial or care issues.
It is apparent that parenthood can enable parents, in particular working moms, to add more perceived value to their work, revolutionizing their approach and ensuring productivity. However, discrimination and mental health issues arising from parenthood remain a threat in damaging their relationship with the workplace. As a result, the provision of flexible working hours, adequate continuous professional development opportunities, and other schemes can enable parents to feel adequately supported as they navigate the most significant months and years of their lives.
By Kat Jackman, CMO of SkillsNow.