Parent Coaching: New Twist on an Old Perk

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New Twist on an Old Perk:  Parent Coaching

Family leave is not new—but some companies are helping top talent take full advantage of their time with Parent Coaching.

“I want to stress the importance of being young and technical.  Young people are just smarter.”  Once young, Harvard drop-out Mark Zuckerberg is now a father, and qualifies as older and more tired.  For many young parents, the all-night zeal of a start-up is not as appealing as a stable income and hours to match.

As companies continue to compete to hire and retain talent, more businesses are making efforts to reach employees where they live—literally.  As Millennials age into families and a structured idea of how to strike a work/life balance, HR managers are getting creative with benefits.

Women continue to rise in the workforce and the punitive, career-killing treatment once meted out to women who sought careers and motherhood is subsiding.  As talent pools thin and diversity issues strengthen, more companies are lending a hand, instead of encouraging new mothers toward the door.

A recent article in The New York Times discusses companies that support parents as they transition into parenthood and strive to remain productive in the workplace.

Being professional—and being a parent 

Flat hiring pools mean HR managers and recruiters are searching longer for the right fit for open positions.  When talent cannot be onboarded, critical business needs are not met.  The recruiting cycle lengthens, taking more time and budget.

Because the recruiting cycle is so expensive, retaining the right talent is a high priority.  When a key employee leaves, the cost of replacing them can easily figure between one and two times their salary.  The loss to productivity, company culture, and institutional legacy is serious.

To combat that loss, companies are changing direction on old attitudes that encouraged workers interested in work/life balance to lower their career goals.  Instead, companies like Kohl’s, MetLife and Etsy are experimenting with programs that support—rather than suppress—the real-life goals of their workers.

What does that look like?  Company assistant programs look different, but many contain components that include:

  • Coaching:

    Parenting coaches are available to parents on an ongoing basis.  While parenting coaching is not new, it usually comes into play when parents are overwhelmed, going through divorce, or dealing with difficulties or a child with disabilities.  Corporate parenting coaches help parents become more proactive by helping them discern their own needs, and parenting goals.

  • Goals:

    Everyone agrees that parenting is a big job.  A parenting coach helps parents decide which tasks and responsibilities can be shifted and shared—and what type of time parents absolutely want to spend with their newborn or older children.  Parenting coaches talk about flexibility and adaptability, and how to get there.

  • Delivery:

    Parenting coaching works one-on-one, with couples, and small groups.  Developing a relationship with a coach prior to the birth of a child helps parents understand their future roles better—as parents and valuable workers.

Getting there

We talked about perks earlier.  Generous family leave and other perks build engagement.  More than just improving your retention figures, engagement builds your brand, boosts productivity, and improves your company profile to the community and future employees.

Initiating benefits around your family leave policy takes planning and the right vendors.  Building a new benefit and then letting it wither from lack of use cheats your company of earned goodwill.

When your program, features, and coaches are in place, roll out the benefit to all employees. Offer tips, education, and reminders of the availability of the program.  Consider expanding it beyond parenting transition to other forms of change.  Consider options like caring for an aging parent, chronic illness, moving through grief, downsizing, or preparing to retire.

As they say, change is good.  It is also often unavoidable.  Helping employees manage change, remain flexible, and live with less stress is a winning option for workers—and your workplace.



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