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Bite-Size Insights: How can leaders encourage working parents?

Nov 17, 2020 | 00:00

00:00 00:00

Episode Description

As we continue to navigate the strains and challenges of the new work environment, one group that we don’t talk about enough is parents. On this bite-size, we’re focusing on what leaders can do to encourage working parents and improve their engagement during this time.

Joining us to offer her expertise on this topic is Megan Nail, VP of Total Rewards Practice at our friends, FirstPerson Advisors.

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Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Hey, insights, listeners Nicole here. And thanks so much for joining me for this week's bite-size insights, empowering people, leaders with best in class information in 10 minutes or less as we continue to navigate the strains and challenges of the new work environment. One group that we don't talk enough about is parents.

So on this bite size, we're focusing on what leaders can do to encourage working parents and improve their engagement. During this time, joining us to offer her expertise is Meghan nail VP of total rewards practice at our good friends. At first person advisors

being a working parent has never been easy, but I don't think we could have imagined how hard it would be. To be a working parent during a global pandemic, as a working mom. Of two boys, 10 and 13. I know, I didn't see it coming. [00:01:00] I'm trying to balance my day job of being a vice president of total rewards practice at first person with being a mom to two kids.

And it's been a big challenge and I'm not alone. Great Dan's or another HR director captured it perfectly. He said, employees thought summer's coming. We'll have school in the fall. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but now the pandemic is continuing it's extended into fall. It's extending into winter.

And most likely even beyond the short term toughing and out approach is just not sustainable. And this truly matters. I believe that strains on working parents is a challenge to be collectively addressed as employers and to community. When you're looking at engaging your employees, this is something that cannot be ignored.

We can't simply put the onus of solving these problems on overstretched [00:02:00] employees alone. We have to come together to address these challenges. We know from a study by the Boston consulting group, that 60% of parents in the us have not found alternative care following school in daycare closures, or even cared for virtual school in other situations.

Parents have nearly doubled their time, spent on education in household tasks during the period of the pandemic. And we know that women are disproportionately handling the childcare and household tasks. On average women currently spend 15 more hours on domestic labor each week than men. And it's having a big impact on women potentially leaving the workforce.

Twenty-five percent of women are considering leaving the workforce due to their inability to manage demands at home and in the workplace. So it has a big impact on all of us. All [00:03:00] parents are worried about their work performance, their mental health and their children's wellbeing. And this directly impacts their engagement, performance, and productivity at work. I think we can relate to this. I know I've been distracted by my kids and not been able to focus. My attention is divided between so many different areas. There are the constant interruptions and the pressure and stress about your kids' learning and their overall wellbeing. During the quarantine period of the pandemic.

I was so worried about being able to meet the demands of my job and being on zoom calls all day and making sure that my kids were eating healthy, getting time outside and exercising and just taking time to learn what they needed to learn during that period. So what should employers do to increase engagement of working parents during this time?

First employers should [00:04:00] communicate, prioritize and be flexible. So consider allowing for alternative work schedules, such as windowed work, which allows employees to establish certain times throughout the day that they're focused on work. And other times when they can truly focus on being a parent or their other responsibilities.

There are so many considerations when offering flexibility, but we know that employee burnout, when trying to manage both responsibilities at the same time can lead to overwork and disengagement. It's really important that everyone communicates when they're available for meetings in collaboration and when they're not available and they're attending to other responsibilities.

It's important to keep accountability, to actually complete the work that is needed for your company. And it's also important that everyone not just working parents have flexibility to balance both of their personal [00:05:00] life and their work life. A second option is intermittent leave. So sometimes leave of absence can actually be a great relief to employees.

And the department of labor actually encourages intermittent leave for childcare purposes. So think about offering leave or schedules that are arranged around hybrid virtual or in-person school schedules. So your employees could take intermittent leave on virtual school days so they can focus on their kids' schooling.

And then work when their kids are in-person for school. It's important to think about accommodating needs, such as drop off or pick up at school. We know many parents are driving their kids to school versus risking additional exposure on the bus. And we also have employees who are working around other caregivers schedules.

So that's another way that you can use intermittent leave or PTO options. There are also other creative options, such as parenting co-ops in parent pods, [00:06:00] bringing together groups of kids for virtual schooling and activities. I've experienced firsthand that sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes if you're bringing more kids together, it can lead to more chaos. But then in other ways it may help. Finally, sometimes engagement is just about the little things and for employers to provide resources for kids to help keep them busy, whether it's over. Fall break, winter break, or just during the normal school year.

Things like scavenger, hunts, puzzles, virtual tutoring, and camps, and daily fun challenges can really help to provide resources to parents who are overstretched and often burned out. So whether you're thinking about creative options, such as these flexible schedules, intermittent leave, no matter what you do, this truly matters.

We cannot simply put the onus of solving these problems on overstretch and employees and know that what you do as an employer to engage your working parents during this [00:07:00] time will have a lasting impact on the trust and relationship you have with your team in the longterm. This is your opportunity to truly make a difference.

So don't miss it.

Thank you so much for joining this week's bite sized insights. I hope that you learned something new. If you're looking for more in-depth content amplify recently launched a new webinars series each week. We're talking with experts for a 23 minute webinar on topics, like how to make a business case for HR, fostering, remote cultures, developing your talent and creating practices of gratitude.

To register simply go to That's E M P L I F E B I N a R.