Mother's Day Series: How Work Policies Attract the Best Talent
I’m a mom of two little girls and a business professional. Many women give up one of these two titles in order to be successful in the other. I didn’t want to and luckily didn’t have to because the organization I work for sees the value in working moms. Organizations who value top talent have learned they must change their work policies in order to be competitive in today’s marketplace. Many people dread hearing the word Millennials, but I believe many of these policies would have been appreciated by older generations, especially those who might be working parents.
Telework is permitting your employees to work from home. Companies have a variety of policies on this from being able to do it full-time to part-time to as needed. In my book, it’s a no brainer. If you hire and train quality employees, you should be able to trust them to get their job done no matter where they prefer to work. Being able to work from home drastically cuts down on the time that parents are away from their children by eliminating long commutes into work. In addition, parents are able to multitask using their lunch break to do a load of laundry versus sit in the cafeteria waiting for the time to pass.
Flex Time is permitting your employees to work a schedule that is helpful to them. This might be leaving early for bus pickup and checking back in later that evening or something similar. Employees will be more vested in your company if they know they have your understanding and support in balancing their work and personal commitments. Pending the nature of your organization, there may be a better window for flex time or if the work is task based, perhaps it doesn’t even matter.
In my opinion, the days of sick and vacation time should be a thing of the past. I much prefer paid time off (PTO). Instead of limiting someone to 5 sick days and 5 vacation days, why not let them choose how to use the time. Does it really matter if your employee is sick, wants to go on vacation or just needs a break? It shouldn’t. They earn the time, so why not let them use it the way they want to. Moreover, isn’t it better to know someone wants a day off in advance versus them calling in...cough cough...sick?
Having gone through an emergency c-section, I honestly cannot fathom how companies would not provide maternity and paternity leave. In addition to taking care of a new bundle of joy, you also need to take care of yourself and your partner. Companies of choice realize this is a small price to pay in order to get a healthy, happy employee back. Parents are very appreciative of the time and often coming back at the top of their game despite the restless nights. The primary caregiver, which is often the mom, needs at least 6-8 weeks, especially if she has had any issues with her labor and delivery. The secondary caregiver needs a minimum of two weeks. If their partner has a c-section, they are unable to drive for two weeks and babies have appointments within a few days of leaving the hospital. I came back to work so appreciative of the time I had away that I was ready to dive back in and was actually excited about it.
Just as these policies support new and working parents, they attract the best talent to your organization. Employees, especially parents, value flexibility in the workplace. If you trust your employees, it should be a no brainer to give them the independence to work in whatever way enables them to perform at their best, whether that be through telework, flex time, PTO or giving them adequate maternity/paternity leave. The workplace is evolving rapidly, and we as employers need to keep up in order to stay competitive in attracting, engaging and retaining top talent to our organizations.
If you are a young professional reading this, feel confident to discuss these topics with your employer. Be honest about what you need and how you feel.
If you are an employer, determine what would work well inside of your organization. You shouldn’t feel you need to do all of these tomorrow, but think about what steps you can start to take to make yourself an employer of choice.