5 ways to help new parents return to work

By July 29, 2016 Management & HR

Bad Moms, starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn, was released this week, and the movie nicely sums up life after parenthood, hilariously detailing what many working parents deal with on a day-to-day basis. Sleepless nights, grueling mornings, and long commutes can make for even longer days – especially when you’re trying to get through a full workday.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKCw-kqo3cs]

Returning to work can be a high-stress time for parents. It can also be stressful for employers if they don’t have the right plans in place for a smooth transition.

There are a multitude of ways that employers can help to make the back-to-work transition easier, and the good news is they’re all pretty easy.

Here are 5 that are super easy to implement, with great long-term benefits.

Stay in touch.

Initially, new parents are wrapped up in adjusting to parenthood, but as time winds down, they’ll appreciate being kept in the loop. Communicate regularly leading up to an employee’s return so he/she is aware of any changes that have taken place in their absence, or if they’ll be preparing for a shift in their role, whether it be in the form of a new manager, new department, or added team members.

Working from home.

Flexibility has become somewhat of a non-negotiable for people looking into a new job, but not everyone works the type of role that can accommodate telecommuting regularly. Speak directly with your employee about what whether flexibility or working from home would help with their transition, and remember that great people are usually good at doing their job well no matter where they’re doing it from.

Practice empathy.

Parents returning to work are dealing with an entirely new lifestyle, which includes a long list of responsibilities that require handling before and after work. Leaders who are empathetic toward their employee’s personal commitments will find that empathy returned in respect and productivity. Show leniency if an employee requires coming in or late/early, and work out solutions that suits both sides to moderate stress and work levels.

Extended maternity leave.

Many companies offer top-ups to help parents get into the swings of things. But for some, extensions to their federal leave would probably do wonders. The result is healthier and more productive employees. Think about offering an extension before solidifying a start-back date and do so at least three months in advance to be sure your contract hire can stay on longer.

Plan for a smooth handover.

Returning to work is a transition for your whole team, and an employee on leave is the one facing the biggest transition of all. Work with your contract hire to create a plan to help your returning employee understand their new projects, priorities, clients, and business initiatives. Document new procedures and plan for introductions to new team members to help create a smooth handover, and schedule check-ins so that your employee can speak to you if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Being an employer of choice in today’s competitive market means that you need to set yourself apart from the competition. Standout employers offer perks to their employees based on what their people value – and flexibility and support are big factors when potential talent are looking into new a new role. Plus, helping your best employees transition smoothly after a break is a great retention strategy, and demonstrates that you offer a positive working environment.

 

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