How can you retain your working parents?

In today’s workforce, the presence of working parents, particularly working mothers, has surged to an all-time high, reaching 70% according to a recent article from Korn Ferry.  While this surge signifies significant progress, the reality for many working parents doesn’t align with this optimistic outlook.

Unfortunately, mothers, in particular, often find themselves grappling with the dual responsibilities of maintaining their careers and childcare. This can become increasingly more challenging if their current company can adequately support their staff.

The risk of losing top talent looms large and companies with robust benefits packages for working parents have become increasingly more desirable. It’s clear that society is evolving, and the expectation for working mothers to return to traditional roles is fading away. So, what should organisations be doing to retain working parents?

Tools that can help you support your working parents

We certainly don’t have all the answers at Harvey John. However, here are some of the ways we support working parents here at Harvey John:

  • Core Hours: One key aspect of our approach is recognizing the importance of aligning work hours with school schedules. Having the flexibility before and after our core hours allows parents to handle drop-offs and pickups without added stress.
  • Hybrid/Remote Working: We offer all our employees the option to work in a hybrid or remote capacity. This flexibility proves invaluable to our working parents. It reduces commute times and grants them the ability to manage their work from the comfort of home when necessary.
  • Quiet Workspaces: We understand the need for a peaceful work environment, which is why we’ve designated a quiet workspace in our office. While this area is available for all employees, it can serve as a sanctuary of sorts for our working parents who often crave moments of peace amidst their busy lives.
  • Emergency Situations: Life is unpredictable, especially as a parent. When a nursery or school calls with news of a sick child, it’s perfectly acceptable for our parents to attend to this emergency and then work from home for the remainder of the day if they were in the office.
  • Medical cover: Here at Harvey John, we give cashback medical cover for all staff. It also covers up to 4 of our employee’s children up until their 24th birthday. This gives our parents some peace of mind when it comes to doctor and dentist visits. They know they have some support when it comes to payments and can opt-in for even more coverage.

Here are other suggestions to effectively support working parents for the companies that can do so:

  • Flexibility with Deadlines: Companies can exhibit understanding by extending deadlines when parents encounter unexpected childcare challenges. This flexibility can significantly reduce stress and help parents maintain a better work-life balance.
  • Realistic Childcare Options: Recognising the diverse childcare needs of employees is crucial. Employers can explore options like childcare subsidies or referrals to affordable local providers. If this is not possible, implement flexible working arrangements to enable parents to navigate the cost of childcare.

What do our working parents have to say about life as a recruiter at Harvey John?

We spoke to a few of our working parents to see how the support at Harvey John has helped them…

George Trudgill, Associate Director

“My commute to the office is an hour each way. The ability to be able to work from home enables me to work an extra 4 hours each week. This is a real career benefit for a working mum in a busy role. It was great to be able to work from home for a full week when I first went back to work. Knowing I was only 10 minutes away if my daughter needed anything when she started nursery.

Recruiting our Candidate Engagement Manager, Dani has also been invaluable to our accountancy team (a team that is largely composed of part-time working parents!).  She was open to flexing her role from focusing solely on candidate management to proactively sourcing candidates. This has meant that both Callum and I can share our workload when we are on reduced hours and provide continued candidate and client support on Fridays.”

Dani Prior, Candidate Engagement Manager

“When I first started working at Harvey John, my non-working day was a Friday to accommodate my childcare plans. However, when my childcare situation changed and I needed to reorganise my work schedule, there was no issue with changing my working days. Unintentionally, I’ve had to change my days once or twice since! There has never been an issue with it, though, and I’ve never had to stress about it. It’s this type of flexibility and adaptability that our business has which makes life easier for me as a working parent. And having flexibility around the core hours means I’m available to speak to candidates at times that might be better for them, especially those who are also parents!

Callum Mckenna, Associate Director

“As a recruiter, it’s so important to be yourself. The flexibility Harvey John gives us around being a parent means I can be just that. For example, once I had my son, I was still able to work full-time. By moving the hours around to suit our family schedule and considering childcare costs, I created a workday that worked for everyone. I can now drop Teddy off at nursery and start later and work later. This is especially helpful when there is the odd evening call that a client or candidate may ask for.”

Support your working parents and they’ll support you

As the workforce continues to evolve, organisations must adapt to meet the needs of their employees, mainly working parents. 

The preliminary findings of our Accountancy Benefits survey reveal that flexible working arrangements are the most valued perk. By instituting policies that promote flexibility, empathy, and assistance, companies can retain valuable talent and establish an inclusive workplace that accommodates all, irrespective of their family circumstances.

And finally, if you’re currently working in an accountancy practice, we’d love to hear from you about what your employer is doing in the form of company benefits. By completing our 3-minute survey, you’ll receive our exclusive report on what you should be expecting.


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