How to Successfully Hire, Integrate, and Retain Working Parents

working parents
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It’s time to go back to school! While most people come back from vacations and progressively return to their usual professional life, some people might be coming back from parental leave after the life-changing event of the birth of their child. They can be in two situations: retrieving the job they had before leaving or trying to start a new position.

Either way, you might be left with a lot of questions and doubts regarding the way you should handle this situation. But fret not! Here are a few tips to guide you when dealing with working parents.

Why working parents would be a good fit for your company

It is not unusual to see recruiters choose other candidates over working parents because of the common belief that they are less performant, or that they would need special treatments to successfully join your workforce.

Sure, their needs may be different than those of your other employees, but that doesn’t mean working parents are not as good as any other candidate—or even better ! Here are some outstanding qualities which make working parents excellent hires.

Multitasking and adaptability

When a baby joins a family, it doesn’t go unnoticed. New parents have tons of new things to do simultaneously and have no other choice to get them done but to be organized and to multitask.

In fact, their brains tend to “split in two” thinking about their baby’s needs and all the other things they used to think about. So multitasking implicitly becomes part of their daily life, whether it is at home or at work.

But make no mistake, multitasking doesn’t make them less efficient than other employees. On the contrary, they probably organize their day and prioritize their tasks twice as fast as anyone else would do because they do it all the time. With all the duties that come with becoming a parent, working on two tasks or more at the same time is a piece of cake.

Similarly, new parents tend to develop great adaptability skills. In fact, who better than a baby to put you in situations you are not used to and for which you must quickly find a solution? Because of this life-changing event they are going through, working parents master adaptability like no one else.

Altruism

Taking care of someone other than themselves—especially when this person relies entirely on them—gives working parents a greater sense of selflessness than they used to have—or any other non-parent for that matter.

Altruism is a quality you should look for when adding someone to your workforce. By sympathizing with their team members, or by showing them they are here for them, working parents will naturally bond with their colleagues.

Ambition

After completely devoting themselves to their children for several months, back to work parents can be more ambitious than non-parents, probably because they want to take care of themselves, and pursue their own goals after putting their career on pause to take care of their children. This can be very beneficial for employers because it could make working parents more involved in their work.

In short, working parents make excellent employees and you should definitely not disregard their application during your recruitment process.

How and why should you adapt your policies to match working parents’ needs?

Now that you know how awesome working parents are, you probably want them to be part of your team. However, as outstanding as they might be, working parents do have different needs and expectations and it is in your best interest to meet them.

Because they can prioritize their work in no time and they are able to multitask, working parents can be an asset for you. But work is (unfortunately) not the only thing they need to take care of, which is why most of them seek out a way to arrange their own schedule. They might want to come earlier so they can leave earlier or have the afternoon off and catch up on their work during the evening. In most cases, you can trust that they will get the work done, no matter the time of day, which is why you should let them do so. You can always make sure they deliver by looking into their work and making sure they bring the results you expect from them.

And working parents aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a more flexible schedule. In 2018, more and more employees are after this perk, and more and more employers are willing to offer it. So, why not be one of them? As long as performance follows, you shouldn’t force any employee to follow strict working hours. In fact, while it can be a necessity for working parents, it is always a good thing to offer flexible arrangements to all your employees, no matter what their situation is. It will improve their work/life balance and make them more engaged to you, to their work, and to the company.

Final Thoughts

Integrating working parents to your staff is easier than you might think. They tend to be strongly committed people who are willing to do their best to succeed. The best way to make their transition back to work smoother, as well as to avoid potential tensions, is to offer everyone the same flexibility opportunities. Give it a try! You’d be surprised how much your company will benefit from it.

Morgane Bergonzi
Communication and Public Relations Manager