In this video we explore what a smooth return looks like. The video is split in two parts, in the first part we look at a smooth return from the perspective of organisations, in the second part we look at the perspective of parents.
Part 1: Organisational Perspective
Equipping Line Managers for a Smooth Return
Understanding Policies and Statutory Rights: Line managers should be well-versed in the organization’s internal policies regarding maternity, paternity, and parental leave, as well as the statutory rights of the returning employees. This knowledge enables them to navigate conversations appropriately and support a smooth transition.
Opening Conversations: Line managers should proactively engage in open conversations with returning employees to understand their needs and expectations. Creating a safe space for dialogue allows managers to accommodate individual circumstances and explore creative solutions.
Cultivating Compassion and Understanding
Recognising the Transformation: Organisations must acknowledge that becoming a parent is a significant life event, impacting individuals physically, mentally, and emotionally. Approaching the return with curiosity and compassion allows managers to support employees effectively.
Considering the Whole Employee Experience: Beyond the leave period, organisations should foster a positive and supportive environment throughout the entire employee journey, encompassing the pre-leave phase, the leave period itself, and the return. This holistic approach promotes employee well-being and retention.
Part 2: Parental Perspective
Shifting Perspectives: Embracing a Changing Landscape
Inclusive Language Recognizing that the transition back to work after parental leave is not solely a concern for mothers, but for all parents, regardless of gender or family makeup. Organizations should use inclusive language and consider the unique experiences and challenges faced by each individual.
Sharing Responsibilities and Communication
Partnerships and Teamwork: Parents should engage in open conversations to determine how responsibilities will be shared at home, considering factors like job priorities and support networks. Breaking away from traditional gender roles fosters equality and effective management of work and family obligations.
Supporting Dads: Organisations need to support fathers as they return from parental leave, acknowledging their desire to be more engaged and present in their children’s lives. Flexible working arrangements and support systems can help create an inclusive work environment for all parents.
Planning and Confidence Building
Early Planning: Parents should engage in early planning, including dry runs of the commute and ensuring childcare arrangements are in place. This preparation instills confidence and allows them to focus on work during their first day back.
Addressing Childcare Needs: Understanding the quality and reliability of childcare arrangements is crucial. By securing trusted and suitable childcare options, parents can have peace of mind, knowing their child is well-cared for while they return to work.
We’d love to know your thoughts on these topics, so please do feel free to either send us a message or an email.
My colleague Sarah Turner and I have been busy creating content highlighting the importance of organisations providing support for working parents. As part of this, we created this video series exploring the entire journey of maternity leave, from before the leave starts, through to preparing to return and then the first few months back at work. If you or your organisation would like to understand more about how to support your employees as they take parental leave, please get in touch.
This blog post is a collaboration between Maternity Coaches Laura Duggal and Sarah Turner. They are working together, sharing their experiences and bringing the best of their joint advice and knowledge to you.