Managers are under more pressure to proactively lead their teams and sharpen their leadership skills. Leadership development programmes are great, but they can be time-consuming and expensive. Need a simple way to boost your management skills to attract dedicated, committed and productive employees?
Look no further than the parents in your team! Give them flexibility. Be flexible yourself and show your team just how productive it can make you. One very easy way to do this is to discuss flexible policies such as Shared Parental Leave in the first year of their child’s birth, or Parental Leave for any parent with children under the age of 18:
Quick reminder of what this is all about…
The basic idea of Shared Parental Leave is that it can be taken by mothers or fathers (together or separately) in the first year of their baby’s life. New parents can take up to 52 weeks leave, and could be eligible for 37 weeks of pay (statutory or topped up by your company, it depends on your internal policy).
Your HR team will take care of the policy and the application process, but it’s really useful for managers to be aware of how you can help support, especially as the conversation will usually start with you – listening, being open to suggestions and showing support will do wonders for your relationship with your team.
3 things to bear in mind:
- Be prepared! If you have expectant parents in your team (yes, this includes fathers-to-be too), or someone on maternity leave, it is more likely than you think that they may be considering applying for Shared Parental Leave. Reports in the press about low take-up may lull you into a false sense of security that your team members won’t apply – however we work with parents across all industries and at all levels - who are considering or already discussing the process with their managers – are you ready for this discussion? Read more about it here.
- Shared Parental Leave allows parents – both mothers and fathers – to spend more time as a family and to bond with their children during the first year of their life. Encouraging and supporting your new parents during this time can help boost health and wellbeing levels and decrease stress. The importance of this can’t be underestimated!
- Desire for flexibility and time with family is higher up the agenda than you may think - 80% fathers and 78% mothers say that achieving a satisfactory work/life balance is still the biggest challenge (Cityparents survey). Consider how you may well protect long-term loyalty and retention through short-term flexibility.
Last month we hosted a webinar to discuss the reasons why more new parents are not taking up Shared Parental Leave – see the blog here to find out what’s happening in this space.
So what’s Parental Leave then? Is that not the same thing?
No, it’s something parents are entitled to take any time until each child is 18 – so not just limited to the first year of their child’s birth. So many people don’t realise you are entitled to this. You can take 18 weeks in total and a maximum of 4 weeks per calendar year and it’s unpaid. It’s a UK statutory entitlement. Read more about it here.
You may be wondering why having knowledge of this will make you a better leader – several surveys have revealed that many employees value flexibility over pay – this survey revealed one quarter of respondents felt this way, and also revealed that ‘36% of respondents would need at least a 31% increase in their salary if they were to waive flexibility at work’.
Is it easier and more cost-effective to have a 20-minute discussion about family-friendly policies or increase salaries by 31%?
Talk to us about how we can help upskill your leadership population in this area: email@example.com