How employers can show support for parents to be
4886 The NurtureFirst Team - Sep 21, 2016
Announcing your pregnancy at work should be a positive experience, however in a recent government survey more than 77% of mothers asked said they had a negative – or possibly discriminatory experience – during pregnancy, maternity leave and/or return from maternity leave.
Concerns about the impact of a career break, however minimal, are real and many mothers feel they are overlooked for promotions because of their pregnancy. So how can HR teams and business leaders allay their employees’ fears, reduce workplace stress and encourage an inclusive and non-discriminatory environment?
This graph shows how employees are currently being supported by their employers:
Source: SCVO Workforce Survey 2015
By supporting employees and their families before, during and after pregnancy you’ll establish a welcoming company culture, and improve retention of female talent in the process.
Here are a few ways you can show support:
Flexible working isn’t unique to working mothers – it’s becoming the norm in the workplace for a reason. Employees in the UK have a legal right to request flexible working and research shows that 76% of employers in the UK now offer some form of flexible working. Employers who embrace it are better able to attract and retain top talent – 65% of flexible workers are satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance.
Promote or discuss this with your mothers-to-be; be approachable and accessible and they will thank you.
Promote employee benefits
HR departments work hard to secure excellent employee benefits to retain what many employers deem to be their most important asset – their workforce. However, the promotion of these benefits to their employees can stumble.
The most effective way to promote your employee benefits is via consistent and regular communication, and having all appropriate information to hand about each benefit you offer, including direct contact details of your provider.
Family benefits, such as baby healthcare products, are an excellent service and it’s important that your employees understand the value they receive by working with your company.
Encourage support schemes
Announcing your pregnancy and navigating the transition to maternity leave - negotiating your leave, your return and your cover - can be a daunting prospect.
That’s why some organisations have started to introduce support schemes. Recruitment firm, SThree, has a Maternity Buddy scheme, for example – where expectant employees are teamed up with a ‘buddy’ who has been through the system and can advise and support on all aspects of the journey. Schemes like this enable employers to better retain their female talent, and can enhance HR’s activity.
Help with the handover
Make sure the handover process is as effective and efficient as possible for all parties by establishing a structured process. That means creating a simple checklist and timeline for employees to use, and slotting in meetings in the run up to maternity in case further support is needed. Cover should be sought by HR, while responsibilities outlined by the employee. This will help to manage stress for the mother-to-be, their teams, and HR!
And the welcome back
Whether it’s been 3, 6 or 12 months, the return to work must be handled appropriately for the employee – whether that’s a decrease in hours for a short period, or arranging a shadowing fortnight to ease the employee back into the workflow. As with the handover, a simple process should be in place to reintegrate the employee back into the workplace. A successful reintegration boosts employee confidence and loyalty to the business – and don’t underestimate the logistical and emotional elements your employee is battling when they first return to the office; your support will be welcomed with open arms!
If you’d like to hear how we can help you provide for your employees with tailored policies for parents-to-be, then get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our team on 0800 6444 355