To achieve a truly diverse organization and promote an inclusive culture, organizations need to recognize how they may be misunderstanding and handling underrepresented job seekers that face marginalization.
Historically, working parents, particularly mothers, have faced challenges and discrimination. Employers with unconscious biases think about how a working parent may not be able to fulfill their duties as effectively as a worker who doesn’t worry about childcare, a sick kid, or a sudden call from their child’s school principal. Will a parent working from home suddenly have a child pop up on the screen to disrupt a video conference? Will that parent suffer from low productivity because they’re exhausted from juggling parenthood and their career?
When you allow these concerns to cloud your judgment during recruitment, you lose out on the opportunity of hiring highly skilled talent. Many people excel at their jobs thanks to their experience as parents, which has allowed them to sharpen their multi-tasking and time management skills. And working parents can become even more valuable when their unique needs and challenges are understood and supported. Here’s how you can hire and empower working parents:
Communicate with your workforce
Working parents often hesitate to initiate conversations about their needs as parents out of fear of negative perceptions. Leadership should normalize conversations by engaging with employees that have children. Ask them about their struggles, empathize, and demonstrate your desire to find solutions. These conversations also send a clear message to the entire workforce that the organization supports the needs of working parents. It helps you build a positive company reputation, promoting employee engagement and retention. Talk to HR regarding processes and policies that may be limiting your recruitment reach or putting working parents at a disadvantage.
Be flexible with processes
The most resilient organizations are flexible. Provide job seekers the option to be interviewed face-to-face or through a video call. Be flexible with your scheduling so that both parents and currently employed workers don’t miss the opportunities to demonstrate why they’re a good match for the position; this may involve accommodating out-of-office interviews or meeting off-hours.
Revisit your policies
Do your current policies include family-friendly options or benefits? Think about how you can better accommodate working parents, such as offering flexible work schedules, work-from-home options, childcare benefits, and paid family leaves. Consider creating a program that promotes mental health, which would provide working parents and other employees with counseling services.
Offer support and empathize
They say that parents all belong to the same club and understand one another’s challenges on some level. However, you don’t have to have your own children to show compassion for those who work and also raise their kids. Understand that a working parent’s child may be heard in the background when you’re in a video call. They may even make an appearance. Understand that emergencies will happen, and the parent may have to leave suddenly; troubles, distractions, and personal problems are not exclusive to working parents.
Every parent has a different story. While one must work to support their child’s needs, another parent may choose to work. Therefore, it’s important to recognize how each parent has different motivators and struggles and to be accommodating and supportive of achieving work-life balance.
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