21. November 2023

Why is everyone talking about… working parents?

Personio Pulse: This Week in HR - 3

Welcome to Personio Pulse: This Week in HR, where each week we take a look at the latest trends in the world of work, what you need to know about them and what they mean for you as an HR professional. 

This week we’re covering how to make the workplace more equitable for working parents.

What you need to know

Parent or not, we all know that caring for the needs of a tiny human is a hugely important and time-consuming activity — one that can be particularly challenging alongside a career.  

Indeed, a new report from Work, Me and the Baby (WOMBA) uses two years of research to expose the barriers working parents face, alongside the challenges organisations face to create equitable and inclusive workplaces. Many of those barriers are attributed to lack of policy flexibility, and can lead to an increased gender pay gap after workers become parents. 

But there’s good news: the report identifies 12 actions within organisations’ control that can help create positive change for working parents in the UK. See its recommendations here.

What others are saying about it 

Helen Sachdev, director at WOMBA, said: “Leaders need to focus attention at this stage by introducing equal and extended parental leave policies and flexible working models. These need to be introduced within an aligned culture and supported by organisational practices. Both parents need to feel they can use the arrangements without detriment to their careers.”

She added: “It’s critical that leaders widen access to what has traditionally been regarded as ‘policies for mums’ and create a culture in which all parents can fulfil their caring responsibilities and progress their careers.”

What that means for you

It’s indisputable: inclusive arrangements that make work sustainable and equitable for parents increases retention, increases gender diversity in leadership, and boosts profitability. Luckily, there are several things HR can do to drive those results:

  • Consider implementing “child sick days”: This means working parents won’t need to take a PTO day to care for an unwell child. For example, Personio allows 5 extra days per employee on top of regular Paid Time Off.  

  • Provide safe spaces for parents to connect: Set up Slack or Microsoft Teams channels where parents can discuss challenges and share advice. Set up an Employee Resource Group (ERG).

  • Build policies that work for your business: Would a work-sponsored childcare facility make it easier for employees to be present and productive? What about flexible work schedules for parents? Or a babysitting allowance for company events?

  • Advocate for parents in your organisation: The WOMBA report emphasises that its recommendations should be followed not only by HR and people leads, but by the board. Leadership buy-in can be the make-or-break factor in building an inclusive culture for parents. 

What else should I read? 

That's all for this week's edition of Personio Pulse: This Week in HR. Check back next week as we continue to dissect the latest trends impacting the ways we work. 

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Anna Jager-Elliott

Anna Jager-Elliott

Anna Jager-Elliott is a Senior Content Strategist at Personio. She enjoys watching trends emerge in the world of work and writing about how they'll affect our day-to-day experiences.

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