mentoring for working parents

Working parents are a talent pool that employers can’t afford to ignore. Working parents bring unique skills to the workplace and organisations should provide mentoring and other support initiatives to ensure strong diversity, retention and gender diversity. 

What are the facts?

  • The number of families with both parents working full-time hours continues to rise.
  • 4 in 5 women have children by the time they are 45, yet 50% of the women surveyed said that they think having children holds back their career progression.

As employers struggle to recruit and retain top talent, they must support working parents to ensure they have the best talent. 

Mentoring for working parents is one strategy organisations can use to increase diversity, inclusion and employee retention. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of true workplace diversity, the value of working parents to organisations, the challenges they face, and provide helpful tips on how organisations can support them with mentoring and other initiatives.

Family using a laptop in a kitchen

The Value that Working Parents Bring: 4 Skills that Employers Want

Becoming a parent changes a person. They develop different skills that can only be learned through the experience of being a parent. Luckily, some of these skills are valuable in the workplace. Here are a few parenting skills that can be applied in an organisation:

Self-Management

Parents are excellent at self-management, which includes time management and multitasking. They know the value of time and the importance of completing tasks efficiently. Parents have learned the hard way what happens when they don’t get their kids out of bed, dressed, fed, and delivered to school on time. A little delay and their schedule can get disrupted. 

Crisis Management

Parents have perfected the art of crisis management. They know how to stay calm and be resourceful during a crisis. They are equipped with first-aid knowledge and are quick in their shoes to solve problems as they face general everyday issues and health concerns of their kids. 

Excellent Communication 

Parents know that the key to a healthy relationship is communication. They know how to set boundaries and negotiate when necessary. At the same time, they are excellent listeners and can express themselves clearly. 

Adaptability

Parents face challenges every single day. As their child’s needs change regularly, they need to be able to adapt to these changes so they can provide the best possible care. From changing nappies to teaching kids how to eat by themselves, helping with homework to teaching a teen to drive. Parents need to be on their toes and learn from their mistakes quickly. 

These are just a few of the parenting skills that can be useful in any organisation. 

 

3 Challenges and Biases that Working Parents Face

It’s not easy to be a working parent. The art of balancing a career and raising kids is not for the faint of heart. While raising children brings immense joy, the need to maintain a career can help fulfil one’s identity as an individual. Here are three of the most common challenges faced by working parents: 

Child Care

Especially for working parents of young children, there is a need for reliable child care. Even when working remotely, working parents need some type of kid coverage. This can come in the form of daycare, hiring a nanny, or other arrangements. 

Imposter Syndrome

Working parents are no stranger to imposter syndrome. Some days, they feel like they are on top of their jobs and are excellent at what they do. But on other days, they feel like they are an imposter trying to be the best employee and parent at the same time.

Unfortunately, due to biases, some employers will question the performance and productivity of working parents more than those without caring responsibilities.

Discrimination and Career Progression Plateau

Some co-workers might discriminate against working parents for coming in late or leaving early due to school drop off and pick ups or other caring responsibilities. When parents are on parental leave, sometimes they are “out of sight, out of mind” and might be looked over for promotion or career opportunities.

There are plenty of other challenges that working parents face in an organisation. The above-mentioned are just some of the common challenges they face. We know that working parents deliver value and have unique skills. But how can organisations support working parents to ensure they are attracting and retaining a diverse pool of employees? The next section will give tips. 

Unposed group of creative business people in an open concept office brainstorming their next project.

How Organisations Can Support Working Parents 

Fortunately, there are some things that organisations can do to support working parents. Here are a few tips:

Understand the Challenges They Face

The best way organisations can support working parents is to understand the challenges they face. One way an organisation can get involved is to conduct anonymous forums or pulse surveys where employees can share the challenges they encounter. This will allow the organisation to look at these challenges as a whole and without any prejudices. 

Revisit Policies on Parental Leave 

Sadly, several companies have outdated parental leave policies that aren’t supportive of modern families. Providing both primary and secondary carers leave is important to ensure both parents are supported to look after their children, and also to return to work. Paid parental leave is the third most requested workplace benefit. It’s also more important to women (27%) than men (21%) when joining an organisation. 

Build a Family-Friendly Culture 

Organisations can also support working parents by adopting a family-friendly culture. Nurture a business culture where the lives of working parents are welcomed and diversity is celebrated. This can be as simple as being friendly and understanding when children are crying or playing in the background of a zoom call, or arranging key meetings outside of school drop off/pick up time. 

Provide Mentoring Opportunities

Providing mentoring for working parents is another way organisations can support their staff as they transition through various life stages. Some organisations pair parents with a mentor as they are returning to work after parental leave to assist with the transition. Mentors can help staff to navigate through changes to personal values, and routines, and re-build their confidence to re-enter the workplace after some time off. Brancher provides a science-backed matching tool that supports staff mentoring and parents returning to work. 

By providing a mentoring program, employees can connect with other like-minded individuals where they can share their struggles and learn how they can overcome them. A mentor can provide them with the support they need to change their life and continue to excel in the workplace. 

The bottom line is, that when an organisation shows support, they can expect more loyal and happy employees. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our 90% matching satisfaction rate. 



References:

  1. Jennifer Baxter. (2023, May). Employment Patterns and Trends for Families With Children. Australian Government, Australian Institute of Family Studies. https://aifs.gov.au/research/research-reports/employment-patterns-and-trends-families-children

  2. Marija Lazic. (2023, May 20). Retirement Statistics for 2023: 15 Important Facts You Should Know. LegalJobs.io. https://legaljobs.io/blog/retirement-statistics#:~:text=13.,average%20retirement%20age%20every%20day.&text=People%20who%20were%20born%20in,passed%20that%20age%20by%202030

  3. DTTL Global Brand and Communications. (2014, January). Big Demands and High Expectations The Deloitte Millennial Survey. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-dttl-2014-millennial-survey-report.pdf

  4. Jennifer Parris. 6 Common Challenges for Working Parents. FlexJobs. https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/challenges-for-working-parents/

  5. Unum Group. (2020, December 11). What Workers Want: Time Off, Flexibility, Paid Leave. Unum. https://www.unum.com/about/newsroom/2020/december/work-perks#:~:text=Although%20both%20men%20and%20women,rates%20due%20to%20the%20pandemic.&text=Some%20perks%20rose%20in%20popularity%20since%202019

 




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