How flexible are your working practices?
Research shows that 46% of people in the UK want to work flexibly, yet there are only 8.7% of jobs are advertised as such. This doesn’t just apply to women. 47% of fathers say that they wish to reduce their hours or move to a less stressful role. There is also evidence that 30% of employees would choose flexible working over a pay rise, yet just under half of employees say flexible working is not encouraged in their workplace.
Many organisations, particularly small to medium-sized businesses, find it a challenge to keep women once they start having families. Part of the challenge is making sure the policies and procedure about maternity and paternity leave are clear to line managers and put into practice by them, particularly around the KIT (keeping in touch) days and being in regular contact during the leave period.
So what can be done? Having a flexible working policy is a good start. Some employers have started introducing parental coaching to help both new parents and the organisation adapt to their new identity and to think through what would work best for both parties, making sure any obstacles can be overcome.
In addition, it can be useful to have a senior person in the organisation who has made a successful return to work to act as a role model in this regard to new parents in the organisation. Companies who have introduced this type of ‘mentor’ role have found that it has helped managed expectations from both the employer’s and the employee’s perspective.
If you want further information check out the Working Families website. They have carried out research and have written some useful guides – https://www.workingfamilies.org.uk.
If you are facing some of these challenges why not talk to us. We’d be delighted to talk them through with you.