Working parents need 3 core skills to ‘thrive’ at work and at home: Adaptability, Flexibility and Resilience

We’ve all heard the expression “Got a job to do? Give it to a busy person (aka: mum).” But just how much can one busy ‘hands on’ mum or dad handle before the juggling balls begin to fall and bounce all over the place? How is your corporate culture contributing to the success or failure of your working parents’ ability to respond to the ever changing needs of their family and job?

Organisations who strive to help their people achieve their maximum potential ‘get it.’ It means providing employees with the necessary tools, support and training to be Adaptive, Flexible and Resilient to cope with the ups and downs of life being a ‘worker’ and a ‘parent’. Here’s some tips to help your organisation build resilience, adaptability and flexibility amongst your working parents:

1. Find out how many parents work in your organisation (include ‘carers’ who have responsibility for others). Survey them: find out what their needs are, what they are limited by and what would make a difference?

2. Get a parental leave policy and checklist in place – support employees to prepare in advance for parental leave and their return to work rather than sanctioning a ‘winging it’ approach.

3. Create a flexible work policy that has a ‘how to’ process for managers and employees which provides details on how to plan, negotiate and implement a flexible work arrangement that works for all.

4. Build resilience by offering coaching and other training support to your working parents. See our coaching service and start a ‘working parents group’ or a ‘carers network’.

5. Sponsor training that supports parents to develop their ‘career after kids’, keep the talent in your organisation and avoid ‘brain drain.’

6. Drive a performance culture that values flexible and adaptive thinking – clients expect it, staff want it and managers need the ‘know-how’ and encouragement to deliver it. Being adaptive is how organisations can stay ahead of the pack and this means being flexible in relation to how, when and where work is delivered and by whom. For working parents, time is always of the essence and many will strive to find more efficient and effective ways to get their job done in order to make sure they’re home in time to pick up the kids. So let them! What manager doesn’t want a more time efficient and effective employee?

7. Encourage co-operation and understanding of working parents circumstances between teams and managers. After all, every employee may find themselves in a similar situation one day where they require care or to care for another. HR play a key role in championing this co-operative spirit as they are often the gateway between employee and manager when return to work arrangements are negotiated.

8. Provide access to tools and experts to help support the return to work transition for employees and managers.