Welcome to the next blog of our Series: Parents Returning to the Workforce.
In our previous blog Why You Should be Recruiting Working Parents, we covered how hiring working parents and implementing family-friendly policies can add to a company’s diversity initiative and help to retain top talent. The final blog of our series will cover how to attract and retain valuable working fathers.
Today, millions of working fathers are the sole earners for their households. It can be difficult for them to escape the pressure to be present, and successful at work and home. With limited hours in a day, choices are made between attending meetings and family events.
Many began work committed to excelling their careers by working long hours and sacrificing to get ahead. Once the “workhorse” standard was set, it is challenging to scale back without jeopardizing everything invested to reach that level of success.
It usually takes years to realize the fruits of those long hours of labor. When those years of hard work finally start to manifest into financial gains, reputation, influence, and marketability, working dads are incentivized to remain on course. But does that course align with their personal goals?
Harvard Business Review conducted a survey of working fathers feeling professionally torn. The exercise identifies what motivated men during different phases of their professional lives.
Participants were asked to rank three categories of career priorities at their current position. Then repeat the process for what motivated them in their past, and what they anticipate their priorities will be 10-20 years in the future.
- Security, income, advancement
- Interesting work, accomplishment, helping others
- Flexible work with independence and time for life
The results of the study were surprising – many found they hadn’t adapted their careers to their changing realities causing feelings of uncertainty and dissatisfaction.
How can companies stay current with the shifting priorities that come with parents juggling a career and family responsibilities?
To recruit and retain top-performing working dads, make it easier for them to avoid burn-out and achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Be a Father-Friendly Employer
Build a family-focused company culture. Fortune 500 companies with reputations for supporting employee’s life priorities include ABC, Google, IBM, Colgate, and Virgin. These companies have offered a range of flexible practices and policies designed to help people balance their professional and work lives.
Introducing a balanced company culture in the workplace doesn’t need to be complicated. Implement a few practices that work for your organization and staff. You may find attracting top talent is easier after adding some of these exciting perks to your job descriptions.
Here are a few ways to introduce work-life balance that are working for other companies:
- Offer flexible or remote work
- Ask managers to focus on productivity instead of hours
- Encourage breaks during the workday
- Regularly review workload
- Allow employees time for volunteer opportunities
- Offer more paid time off
- Special assistance for childcare costs
Providing benefits for maternity, paternity and shared parental leave encourages parents to balance work-life and parenthood regardless of gender.
A successful work-life culture is adopted from the top down. Executives and managers should leave the office at a normal time, take time for vacations, and set reasonable expectations for assignments.
Building a family-friendly workplace and instituting small changes that encourage employees to pursue a balanced work and personal life will improve company morale, avoid employee burnout, and retain valuable company knowledge.