Alex Yastrebenetsky is an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Cincinnati and founder of InfoTrust, an award-winning digital analytics consulting and technology company helping marketers use data to make smarter decisions. As the leader of a company that focuses on giving back to the community as its "why," we asked Alex how he recognizes National Working Parents Day. Here's what he shared.
September 16 is National Working Parents Day, recognizing the incredible work and superhuman work-life balancing act that employed parents undertake daily, often without support or appreciation from colleagues, bosses or even their kids! But as the leader of an organization that employs parents, it's within your power to change that.
Many entrepreneurs I know lead organizations that go above and beyond to give back to their communities and the world at large through generous donations or even by solving challenges in developing nations.
However, business owners may be overlooking an obvious way that we can give back to our communities: by supporting the working parents we employ. After all, does the fact that they are gainfully employed mean that their families don't need their presence, care and attention?
If, as a leader, you genuinely care about making your mark on society, I encourage you to include employees and their families in the worthy communities you support.
What's the best way to integrate benefits for working parents into your company culture? That's up to each company leader. But offering family-friendly benefits has its own reward in the form of loyal, productive and engaged employees.
Here are four ways our company has found to support working parents:
1. Revamp maternity and paternity policy
As we considered how best to support employees with families, we asked our Lean In Circle for recommendations. We decided to offer 12 weeks of fully paid maternity and paternity leave.
Is it scary to offer this much paid leave? You bet it is! However, if you have a great company culture, a thorough recruiting process and an A-team that's highly engaged, I can testify that it's a smart move.
If you're a leader who cares about children's causes, a generous parental leave policy is the ultimate expression of that concern. Because of you, a baby can spend the first three months of life being cared for by his or her actual parent(s). The needs of this child are no different than those of other children you support in your local or global community. Even better: It is entirely within your power as a business owner to provide children with that invaluable advantage.
2. Respect time as a scarce commodity
The biggest struggle for most working parents is feeling like they never get enough time with their kids. During the workweek, employees likely spend more waking hours with you than with their children. So--are you genuinely supportive of children's causes if you schedule after-hours training sessions that working parents must attend?
Consider this: In just 35 hours per week, highly motivated employees can outperform those working 40+ hours. Realizing this, we schedule training sessions during the workday and let employees know the reason behind it.
3. Consider extreme employee benefits
I'm a firm believer that great benefits help retain the top talent that drives our success.
We provide lunch daily to all employees working in the office. Why? Because we want our team to sit together and break bread. We want introverted engineers to talk with extroverted marketers. Our daily lunches foster unbelievable team spirit and collaboration.
There's a time advantage, too: A catered lunch means that working parents don't need to pack one. I have three kids and, let me tell you, our mornings are hectic--having one less thing to do is fantastic. Besides, not going out for lunch means that working parents can sometimes leave early to beat traffic and further maximize family time.
4. Support non-parent employees, too
When the topic of family-friendly benefits comes up around other leaders, I often hear the following concern: Won't employees without children feel marginalized or feel that parents with kids get preferential treatment? Here's how I address it.
Entrepreneur and life coach Tony Robbins defined six fundamental human needs: certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, growth and contribution.
To build a truly world-class organization, it's critical to understand and support the needs of every team member. Employees with children often have a dominant need for love and connection with them. Employers who help parents meet that need have a strong chance of retaining those employees.
But what about employees without children? Dig into what drives them to discover their dominant human need. For example, if Bob's need is significance, support him by coordinating speaking opportunities and paying for his travel. Or, let's say your employee Mary is an athlete. Her need is likely growth. Give her flexible time off to attend competitions and feel fulfilled. Similarly, if Kate has a strong need to contribute, put her in charge of organizing community service projects.
As an entrepreneur, your company is a blank canvas. Embracing the six human needs provides you with the unique opportunity to express your creativity in designing a $100,000,000 masterpiece instead of a $20 motivational poster. Supporting your community means supporting employees who are members of that community, which is a great way to lay the foundation for your priceless masterpiece.