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May 27, 2015 / Molly Moseley

4 tips for a parent-friendly company culture

Nearly 97 percent of married couples with children have at least one employed parent, and 60 percent have both parents working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means the American workforce is full of working parents. Hiring parents is unavoidable, but it can also be highly beneficial. Parents can make outstanding employees for a number of reasons.

Last week we talked about the impact being a parent can have on job hunters, and explored scenarios in which parental experience could be an asset in a job interview. This week, let’s look at the other side of the equation. It makes good business sense for employers to hire folks with kids, but also to provide the support and flexibility they need to be both good employees and good parents.

First, let’s consider why parents make great employees. For starters, the financial well-being of their families is riding on their jobs, so parents have a vested interest in doing their best. They also tend to be loyal to companies that treat them well, wanting to avoid the frequent job-changes that can undermine a family’s stability. And, as we explained in last week’s post, parenthood can help people develop skills that are highly useful in the workplace – including organizational skills, flexibility, compassion and patience.

Our question to you is, once you’ve hired one of these great working parents, are you doing enough to keep them? Your employees with children are working for more than just a paycheck and benefits. They’re striving to create a stable, secure life for their families, and companies that help them do that are more likely to earn their loyalty and best work.

The good news is your company can meet its business goals while creating a parent-friendly culture – one that provides employees with children the support they need to excel at work. Here are four steps companies can take to retain and support parents:

Leverage technology

With the right technology, an employee working from a home office can be just as effective as one working in a cubicle down the hall from your office. And more than one parent has fired off a work email or two on his or her smartphone while sitting in the bleachers during their child’s ballgame. Use software and hardware to allow workers with kids to access important work-related documents and tools from anywhere. LinkUp provides our employees with the tech tools they need to work remotely whenever they need to. The move ensures they can take care of personal matters while also fulfilling their work obligations.

Practice time and location flexibility

Establishing policies that allow parents to work from home at least some hours a week, or to arrange their work schedules around childcare needs, can help them worry less about balancing home and work obligations and spend more time getting their jobs done. LinkUp, for example, allows our employees to manage their schedules to accommodate children’s appointments, illnesses and activities.

Be forward-thinking with leave and benefits

While at least six weeks of paid or unpaid maternity leave are common at most companies, consider expanding your leave policy to encompass fathers and new adoptive parents. When you’re crafting benefits packages aimed at attracting top employees, keep in mind parent-friendly options like wellness programs, health club memberships, childcare support, identity theft protection for families, free health clinics and access to personal finance advisors.

Realign your company’s culture and mindset

Even though there may be more parents in your workforce than non-parents, bias against parents can occur in any corporate environment. Encourage the mindset among management that results – not hours – are the objective. As long as employees are meeting their work goals they should be able to take a few hours off for family obligations without repercussions. Trust employees to manage their time wisely.

How does your company support employees with children? What advantages have you found in hiring parents, and how do you help keep them happy and working hard?