Whether out of a desire to retain employees or concern for the welfare of your employees, there’s a lot that companies can do to support new parents.
Giving birth, or partnering with someone who has, not only takes a physical and mental toll. It’s also expensive, straining on relationships and overwhelming. People in that state don’t always do their best work. Here are a few ways you can support your new parent employees to help get them back on their feet:
Provide Flexible Working Hours
The pandemic taught many companies a valuable lesson—that their employees can be trusted to do their jobs, even when they’re not in the office. Talent doesn’t end once a person becomes a parent. To keep that talent in your company, it’s important to be flexible. Providing working parents with laptops and allowing them to work flexible hours can help you retain talent and get the best out of your employees.
Redefine “Sick Days”
By now, most of us have heard the phrase, “I need to take a mental health day.” No one knows as well as a new parent what that means. When you’ve lost hours of sleep throughout the week, not only are you tired, but your immune system is compromised and your brain is not operating at peak capacity. As a leader, help new parents understand that their paid sick days can be to look after their newborn. Offer mental health days for new parents. Codify and help normalise mental health days.
Offer Career Development
In one study, 2 out of 3 working mothers said they wanted career advancement training. However, these same women often get overlooked. It’s important not to make assumptions about what working mothers want. Listen to what they are saying. If they want to keep pursuing their career to greater heights, it will benefit your company. Offer them the career development they’re asking for.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
At some point, someone decided that a woman was recovered from childbirth after six weeks. Most mothers would tell you this isn’t true. In fact, a new study has revealed that it can take up to a year to fully recover. We aren’t advocating for a year’s worth of paid maternity leave, but we are strongly suggesting that 60 days is the bare legal minimum—and really not even that. Keep in mind that a healthy, normal baby won’t sleep through the night until about four months old, and that will be a 7-8 hour stretch, maximum.
Parents are sleep-deprived for the first few months of their parenting journey. This can feel like torture. They may be dragging themselves into work, but they aren’t bringing their best selves. In fact, there’s evidence of emotional contagion from people who are regularly less expressive and less happy than normal.
Supporting new parents in the workforce is the humane and financially savvy thing to do. If companies can learn to give a little more time and flexibility, you’ll retain new parents and help them enjoy long, successful careers alongside their parenting life.
If you’re looking for help managing your team, OLAM Group is here. We are your outsourced HR experts and can help with HR projects or ongoing services, depending on your company’s needs. Please reach out to schedule a call so we can talk about how we can help you and your company run more smoothly.