Family friendliness occupies a huge percentage of today’s workplace conversations. And for good reason.
Parents (past, present, and future) make up millions of employees; they’re a huge segment of the workforce. So ensuring they can work and have children is essential, not just for today’s organizational success…but for tomorrow’s as well.
But when it comes to employees with children, are we doing enough? “Family,” after all, is only one side of these employees…what about their professional sides? The importance of the latter can’t be overstated.
More Than Working Parents
Working parents are people; they have ambitions; they want to ascend the corporate ladder. And those desires and goals don’t cease to matter once titles of “director” or “manager” at work meet up with the labels of “mom” or “dad” at home.
When it comes to job satisfaction, parents aren’t measuring success by merely their ability to get TO work (and make no mistake – that’s a big deal), but by what happens once they arrive. Are they being challenged? Do they have growth opportunities? Do they see a future on your team? Four years of data from our Modern Family Index say all those things matter –and people are leaving jobs when they’re denied them.
Smart companies know this. Check out last fall’s Working Mother list of best companies. Most of those 100 companies — 92% — offer some help with child care (all of the top ten do). A full 100% offer flextime. And the vast majority offer telecommuting and compressed schedules – in most cases at double or more the rate of the general population of US companies.
But guess what? Equal numbers also aggressively support parents’ careers. The same “Data Snapshot” that shows “How the Top 100 are Outshining their Competitors” in critical ways like child care and elder care also lauds those same companies for providing career development, tuition assistance, and coaching. Nearly all – 98% — offer tuition reimbursement; 100% offer management and leadership training; 96% have made it a mission to identify high-potential women. And these companies are no slouches – we’re talking well-known industry leaders. Meaning they’re not only setting the stage for the business world, they’re also issuing a challenge to competitors.
Family Friendly Needs To Be Career Friendly, Too
The fact that such benefits are included in the Working Mother roundup makes a clear statement; that it’s not just family friendly that matters – but parent friendly and career friendly, too. And it reminds us we need to rethink what “family friendly” after parenthood really means.
It’s not only the ability to take care of children that requires focus. It’s also the ability to grow in jobs.
All the best benefits in the world will be hollow, after all, if the price for using them is your career.