Parental leave in Company: The actual situation
After parental leave is before parental leave, right? Not correct. If it was always that easy, we would have already taken a huge step towards the perfect working world. Unfortunately, the opposite is often the case:
Young mothers do not think with anticipation about their planned return after parental leave, but with concern, accompanied by such nice symptoms as stomach rumbling, insomnia and simply fear. The dual responsibility - mother and working people - is already in the lead like lead in the stomach. And she is by far not the only concern.
Typical worries of mothers after parental leave
Typical questions that mothers tend to grapple with instead of simply saying: “Yeah, finally getting started again in my business environment. I'm happy for that!" are:
- What happens if I can not do justice to one of the two areas?
- Maybe I missed too much and can not keep up with my job?
- What do I do if these two areas of life can not be reconciled?
Not only for the mothers themselves, this means a high stress burden, it also harms the company in a sustainable way, if their mothers are driven only by driving forces. The good news: As a company, you can actively do something to ensure that you can re-enter the business and thus have the valuable potential that many other companies give away.
One thing is clear: the mother who returns to the company is no longer the woman who left it a year or two ago. As well as your company itself probably is not the same anymore. Maybe there was a change or two or three.
The mother definitely had at least one significant one. And not only is it perfectly okay, it's even very good. Change and change are the only constants in our world. Therefore, it is not crucial that there was a change - but how the stakeholders handle it.
5 tips to prepare for getting back after parental leave
In order to make it easier to get started after parental leave, parents should also prepare the company for it: These 5 tips help:
1. Preparing for Change: Checking Goals and Values
First of all, be aware that the worker has changed, has new goals, maybe new values, and now sets her priorities differently. As a company, you can actively support your employee to reposition herself. It starts with the fact that it is best to contact her a few months before the planned return and to ask her questions that she should answer for herself.
Many mothers feel left alone on the way to re-entry and are unsure of what to do for good preparation. But it is also important that the young mother reconsiders her time resources, which also protects you as an employer from short-circuit reactions and spontaneous failures of your employee.
2. Have Plan B and communicate clearly
For a child can do a lot differently. The mother should then prepare herself organisationally and emotionally, because only then can she communicate clearly and return relaxed to the workplace, since all eventualities are provided with a plan. For example, she should ask the following questions:
- Is full time still possible?
- Is the childcare secured?
- What happens when the children's birthday collides with the meeting?
It's easier to live with a Plan B in your pocket!
3. Using new skills and strengths in a meaningful way
A child and a changed family conception challenge new people - and this challenge often develops strengths that are also valuable in the professional environment and need only be properly salvaged and used. Studies even prove that the skills one would want for managers are often found in mothers.
But instead of being motivated to do so, young mothers often experience something quite different back at work: they would rather not be too much at first, who knows if they can even cope with a new task ?! Mothers are at best treated with kid gloves, in the worst case they are actually downgraded and given additional side blows when they express the desire for job adjustments in the form of hours reduction or the like due to the new private situation.
4. Signal that you are up to new tasks
This can happen unconsciously and without evil intention. The colleague, who used to sit in an office with her mother, secretly worries that she's always the one closing the store in the evening. But she does not think that the work for the young mother goes on after work, while she can go to sports herself.
The boss really wants to do something good for the young mother and not put too much pressure on her, thus denying her a promotion or a new position within the company. That is an honorable intention, but it does the opposite. Instead, encourage your mothers to consciously prioritize and treat them with respect when they do. Give more responsibility to a mother when she signals that she is ready to do so - the managerial skills that she has in her everyday life can also benefit your company. Because if a person finds his suitable task, that is quite a win-win situation for all.
5. Think about possible changes
Perhaps in the course of the first few weeks, it becomes increasingly clear that the young mother is no longer comfortable with her job. Remember, their priorities and values have most likely changed.
She may have previously worked in human resources, but now she no longer feels able to truly do justice to people and could have more potential in marketing. This is where communication helps. In the first few months, make regular appointments in which you discuss your employee and specifically ask if and how you can assist. Important here: It must not come across as if you wanted to control them additionally.
Conclusion: Companies should fully exploit the potential of parents
Many companies give away the potential because they still leave young mothers alone in their situation. After parental leave is before parental leave, right? Not correct.
Instead, try to understand, understand, promote, and challenge the situation of the young mother. In this way, you not only create real added value for the company and employee loyalty, you also create a unique selling point on the job market, which unfortunately still lags behind in many places.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965962422
English version: ISBN 9783965962439 (Translation notice)
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