At Personio, we care about each other and we are building a culture that supports everyone in being the best version of ourselves. Being part of the Personio team means that we care about our employees’ families just as much. We know exactly how challenging being a working parent can be, especially during those days, and how important it is to have an understanding and supportive workplace.
What does it mean to be a Personio parent and what building a ‘Family-Friendly Workspace’ looks like? We’ve got some first-hand stories from Marta Reiz, Marielle Habbel and Sebastian Kuhn for you.
Tell us a bit about your role and your journey with Personio…
Marta: I’m a Product Manager at Personio, having joined in 2019. Back then, we were over 200 employees and now we are 700! This journey has been amazing, I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world and enjoyed building Personio Payroll.
Marielle: I started at Personio on December 1st, 2020 as the Head of Customer Success, managing a team of eight full-time employees with the ambitions to double our team in 2021. My team looks after Personio’s largest customers and advises them on all things HR and Personio. I took a two year break to be with my two boys (Arthur, born in Jan 2019 and Louis, born in May 2016) and I was a bit nervous going back to work. I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to manage it all and felt quite a bit of mom-guilt and I was afraid I wouldn’t be the most desirable hire after having taken a two year break from work. When living in the countryside in Germany, one surely is an outsider as a full-time working mom of two and encouragement is limited. Luckily, none of this mattered to anyone at Personio and I slowly but surely regained my confidence throughout the interview and onboarding process after having accepted the offer. I do not regret going back to work one single bit and have truly enjoyed my time at Personio so far.
Sebastian: As Program Manager for the Job Posting Bundle (JPB), I’m part of the Product Team. I’m responsible for driving and managing Personio’s JPB initiative across all internal functions and teams involved, as well as relevant external partners. I really enjoy working in a cross-functional role which comes with the opportunity to work with a lot of colleagues across a wide range of teams.
In what way did your expectations and needs towards your employer change when starting a family and raising children?
Sebastian: My main need is flexibility. Having kids means that there are a lot of planned and unplanned additional tasks, especially if both parents work. Flexibility means I don’t have to stick to a standard working schedule, but I am the owner of my time and can shift around meetings or work time as needed. This doesn’t mean that I work less, rather when it fits mine and my family’s schedule. Additionally, I think I’m working more efficiently and prioritise more effectively than before being a parent. It’s helpful if a company establishes a work culture like Personio’s, which is centred around impact and is very results-oriented. My expectation towards an employer is that the needs of a parent are considered and taken care of. Additionally I expect that paternity is no blocker for personal career development, even if parental leave is taken.
Marta: My needs changed drastically. Having a four-month old baby requires a lot of dedication and following a rigid schedule is hard. Luckily, I was able to use the Parent’s Time to start earlier in the morning and finish at around 4 pm. With this flexibility, I am able to take care of my baby in the evenings and spend quality time with her, too.
What does being a family-friendly employer mean to you?
Marta: It means that your work is based on meeting goals rather than following a rigid schedule. Also, employers that are conscious about what it means to have small kids need to enforce the reduction of meeting times during the day and create enough room for employees to focus on work. Giving freedom to highly-professional and responsible employees can create great outcomes and a high productivity.
Sebastian: A family-friendly employer is providing the required flexibility and has a family-friendly mindset. My expectation towards a family-friendly employer is that they are actively seeking to constantly improve towards an ideal place for parents. Last but not least dedicated benefits are super helpful. For example, it’s super difficult to find a public daycare place in Munich and private places are expensive. Financial support is super helpful and allows families to productively reconcile family and work.
Marielle: Family-friendly employers understand that being a parent and working full time is a balancing act. There are times when your family needs you more than usual (when the kids are sick, school is demanding, etc.) and sometimes you are required to put in extra hours at work. As a parent you learn to prioritise constantly and you have to manage your time effectively. A family-friendly employer trusts you to get the job done in whatever ways possible. This could mean allowing you to start work a bit later than usual or taking breaks throughout the day to pick up the kids from school.
How do you balance both your family and your job and how important do you think your work environment is to help you overcome daily challenges as a working parent?
Sebastian: I try to balance family and work by working flexibly and when needed. I try to prioritise and it’s super helpful that everyone at Personio understands this need and is willing to adapt accordingly. It’s super important that the family (quality) time is not lost at the expense of working time. A balance across family, personal life, and work is a source of happiness and avoids additional stress. Hence productivity and creativity are improved.
Marielle: I very purposefully turn off my laptop and phone between 6 pm and 8 pm so that I get to truly enjoy dinner and the quality time thereafter with my family. I often return to work once the kids are asleep to finish off the day. I also take 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day while working from home to welcome the kids as they return from kindergarten or to eat a snack with them. It’s obviously important to work in an environment that supports and respects the choices you make and trusts you to get the work done.
After having been at Personio for only a week, I’ve joined the ‘Family & Caretakers’ group. As advocates of all Personio Parents, we aim to ensure that Personio is creating the most family-friendly environment possible.
Marta: Spending quality time with family is a big source of joy and happiness. Being able to have an optimal work-life balance empowers employees to give their best and feel grateful to the company. This flexibility is key to help working parents so we can be highly productive while spending time with our children.
How did your managers support you during lockdown and home office when you had to balance supervising and supporting your kids, but also doing your daily work?
Sebastian: My manager was very open and proactively asked how they could support me. It was super helpful that he pointed out that he doesn’t care about when, where, and how long I work, but what’s important is the result. This gave me the security to focus on family when needed.
Marielle: I consider myself to be very lucky, because we have a nanny who is with us 6 hours a day. During lockdown and with kindergartens closed, we had to extend the hours quite a bit which is obviously very costly. With Personio’s contribution, we were able to cover these additional costs and had someone who was caring for our children while we were working from home.
What is your advice for working parents when it comes to juggling work and life?
Marielle: Working full-time and being a parent is exhausting. Both of my kids are early risers (5:30 am party at my house) and I pretty much toast by 9 pm. I have a hard time carving out time for myself – either I’m too tired to get myself to do something, or I feel guilty spending the little free time I have away from the kids.
However, we are all just humans and without looking after ourselves, we are of no help to our children, our partner, or our employer.
Marta: Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and responsibilities, but you can handle it. Just believe in yourself and improve at prioritising: Go ahead with the most important activities and work smarter, not harder. Enjoy the little things in life and try to wear your best smile. You are now an example to your children, so show them how to face challenges with a sense of humour.
Sebastian: It’s hard to manage all of the important things in a working parent’s life, as our calendars are usually full from the moment we get out of bed until we fall asleep. That’s why it’s important to take #Ownership of your time and be open and transparent about it. Prioritise in between family and work-related topics, and don’t forget about yourself and your partner. When there is a conflict, be open to discuss and I’m sure there is a solution.
Career? Family? Can I really do both? Yes, you can. Have your family. Join ours.
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