5 Ways Talent Management Can Support Working Parents
The first week of September always brings some exciting changes. Many of us stand around and lament the passing of another summer, prepare for the coming fall/holiday season and yes, begin the journey of another school year.
Back to school brings many challenges for both parents and employers. There are morning orientation meetings, half days to transitions your children back to a routine and new day care schedules. A 2015 survey by the Care@Work team found 51 percent of working parents report some level of back-to-school work interference.
Talent Management and Working Parents
5 Key Points
- Be open and transparent about your policies - The best first step to supporting your team and especially the working parents is to acknowledge that some flexibility is needed. Put out some clear guidelines and frame up how you will work with and support parents during this period. We talk a lot on this column about the power of transparency and this is another place where it will pay a large dividend.
- Be fair and equitable about flexibility - Managers want to give parents the room to support their families but do you offer the same to non-parents? Remember that family no longer means children and you have to be open to many non-traditional definitions. Everyone has some level of care that they provide outside of work to others and they may need flexibility at some point during a year to take care of some issue during traditional working hours (See Tip #3!). Make sure that your culture is built around accountability and you will be sure to bring out the best in your people.
- Embrace the changing working environment - We live and work in a much different world today than even just 10 years ago. Employees now spend more time working together via video conferences, work off hours on projects and stay connected via email, text and Slack at all hours. Employers who figure out how to be flexible and drive engagement are the benefactors of increased productivity and generally higher quality work products. Do not tie your team to a traditional 9-5 with an hour break for lunch.
- Keep a master meeting schedule – Like many topics on my column, this one crosses over to pure leadership. As a leader, take the time to ensure that your team has good visibility to the schedule of meetings, understands the cadence and how they fit in. Use Outlook to create a shared calendar or even post it on a Google Calendar. Make it easy for people to adjust and attend the right meetings.
- Keep good meeting minutes and an organized information base for reference - Many companies now allow any employee to review the meeting minutes for all but the most sensitive meetings. This implies a very high level of trust and will help associates feel like a real part of the team.
Remember to always support all your team members
As we discussed above, one of the biggest challenges is balancing these policies across a diverse work group. There can a perception that parents are getting special treatment. You will need to be aware of this and make sure that you manage it. Also, work with your leaders to ensure critical meetings can be scheduled to allow for later starting team members and give people the opportunity to get to a soccer game or two.
RESOURCE: Talent Management: A Guide for HR
Overall, your ability to engage your team, plan your work and enjoy your time together will be a multiplier on the team’s output.
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