This article is authored by Raksha Yadalam and Jett Hayes.
Returning to work after parental leave is challenging for both, working parents and employers. With the challenges and lessons brought forward by the pandemic, many employees are going through a period of reflection and realignment of one’s personal and professional goals. Companies everywhere are facing major talent shortages due to the great resignation. Moreover, the circumstances are so demanding that many businesses see a significant turnover rate among returning parents.
It is now even more important to ensure that your employees return to work smoothly after parental leave. Whether it is into the office or into a work from home arrangement, companies can employ a few practices that can help new parents stay motivated and perform well after a period of parental leave. This is not only beneficial for employees, but also helps you as an employer improve staff retention and engagement.
Anticipate The Challenge
When it comes to parental leave, both the employer and the employee must recognise that this process will provide a unique set of challenges; ones that you can take care of with open communication and understanding. New parents may be top-notch professionals, but this is their first time juggling work and parenthood, and as a result, they may feel overwhelmed on their first day back after parental leave.
Remember to stay in touch with your employee while on their parental leave, send them gentle reminders about their return to work dates and set up regular meetings to discuss any challenges or requirements while on the job.
Once back, arrange a meeting and speak to your returning staff about any resources they may need to work better. Communicate openly and discuss what works best for both parties.
Keep Your Work And Meeting Arrangements Flexible
Employers need to understand and be receptive to new working parents’ needs during the initial period of their return. Juggling work and parenthood can be tricky, even if the child and parent are in good health. Employers should be open to part-time or flexible work arrangements during the adjustment period.
Try to avoid arranging meetings too early in the morning or towards the end of the day. With a newborn at home, mornings can be difficult. At the same time, if a meeting runs beyond its scheduled time, childcare centres can charge parents for being late. It’s important for employers to discuss their work schedule with new parents, in a way that allows them to show up – fully engaged and productive.
Provide Coaching For Reporting Managers And Returning Employees
Returning to work after parental leave is a challenging process that HR managers should handle with care. Providing coaching for both, your managers and your returning staff can help make this process smoother. Coaching can help manage expectations and allow managers to better communicate and deal with issues. Moreover, it helps create a sense of understanding between both parties.
It’s important to provide coaching that’s specific and specialised for this situation alone – Career Money Life offers return to work coaching for new parents and for reporting managers. We have flexible, customisable coaching programs that may help, you can learn more about it here.
Provide Child Care Assistance
Access to reliable, safe, and low-cost child care is critical for new parents going back to work. Companies can help by financing part of the costs associated with daycare, providing a crèche at the office, or offering some other kind of resource or referral service. Even if it isn’t directly linked to job performance, knowing that their children are well cared for will help a new parent stay engaged and perform better.
Check-in Regularly And Deal With Any Grievances That Arise
Keep checking in with the employee from time to time to ensure that they are comfortable and are able to perform their duties well. If the employee is experiencing mental health issues related to their parental leave or working arrangements, refer them to your company’s EAP program. Career Money Life offers both psychological and career counseling services for employees via our EAP program. This can help employees manage and deal with their mental wellbeing both at work and at home.
Create Positive Parental Leave Experiences For Your Employees With Career Money Life
For your employees – having a child, be it their first or fourth, is always a unique and life-changing event.
Retaining talent is becoming a major priority for human resource teams everywhere. Employers should understand that equal assistance for all workers – including returning parents – is not only the right thing to do ethically, but it is also crucial to prevent workplace discrimination and, therefore, encourage employee loyalty and engagement.
Contact us to learn more about our customisable parental leave program to help you manage the entire parental leave and return to work process – before, during, and after.