Working Parents and How They’re Dealing with Time

The stress and uncertainty brought on by a year of the COVID-19 pandemic has left working parents struggling to find a child care solution that not only meets the expectations of their employers, but also the social and educational development of their children.

A new survey of working parents done by Bright Horizons revealed that over three-quarters (78%) of parents whose children are not in a child care centre or school setting are worried that their child is missing out on social and other developmental opportunities. Almost half of parents (46%) with a nanny or in-home care provider agree that a child care centre or school setting would provide more opportunities to socialise with other children, and 4 in 10 believe it would provide educational opportunities (41%) and/or more engaging activities (38%) for their child. On the other hand, two-thirds (67%) of parents with children in a child care centre or school environment feel their arrangement supports the social development of their child.

In light of these results the CEO of Bright Horizons, Stephen Kramer said: ” Working parents have spent the past 10 months being very nimble, pivoting on a daily basis as the world follows the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. But after almost a year of living, working and caregiving from home, parents are in need of a consistent, reliable child care solution that enables them to focus on their work while keeping their children safe and healthy and also supporting the social, emotional and intellectual growth of their children.”

According to the aforementioned survey, the majority of parents (97%) with children in a child care centre or school setting feel their arrangement allows them to focus on their work. The survey also revealed that most parents (89%) whose children do not attend a child care centre would consider this option for their child in the foreseeable future. The inability to juggle parenting and work (34%), along with children becoming increasingly bored at home (29%), are the factors that will weigh most heavily in parents’ decision to enrol in group education settings.

There is often talk about the “balancing act” of managing work and parenting, which assumes that the solution is a combination of compromise, multitasking, and choosing an understanding employer. But there are limits to compromise, and multitasking is exhausting. And we do not all have the good fortune or opportunity to choose a flexible and understanding employer. Even if we do, this choice can be undermined by the inherent demands of the work or the realities of who gets promoted, whose role is made redundant, and who gets pay raises.

Empathising with and supporting your employees with children during these difficult times can help set up your organisation for long-term success. Not only can it help you retain top employees, but it can also help these employees be more productive and can improve your employer brand and broader brand perception. Here are a few specific examples of ways employers are supporting working parents at this time, along with best practices your organisation can consider. Not every organisation will have the financial resources to offer a full range of support, but some of the practices outlined here can be implemented regardless of company size and resources.

Top employers offer working parents added support

Some technology companies and other larger organisations have recognized that overseeing virtual learning is challenging even for the most tech-savvy parents. To support parents during the ongoing pandemic, Accenture partnered with Bright Horizons, the childcare provider, to offer employees access to small-group, part-time school day supervision at a subsidized cost. Other organisations such as Microsoft and Bank of America are also offering this benefit to employees.

Bank of America is also offering employees benefits such as $100 in childcare reimbursement per day and virtual experiences for school-aged children. School-aged children of employees can participate in tutoring, virtual field trips and after-school programs through the non-profit online learning tool, Khan Academy. Working parents also have access to an online hub that features information about childcare, virtual education resources and opportunities to connect with other parents.

Citigroup is adding new employee benefits to help working parents balance their day-to-day work and virtual learning. The organisation is offering employees discounts on test preparation and tutoring services to kick off the new school year. Employees can receive assistance with finding an educational caregiver to supervise their children’s online learning and if they prefer small group learning, they can be matched with other families and educators.

Supporting flexible scheduling

The uprise in remote work since the initial COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 leaves many individuals wondering whether they’re ‘working from home’ or ‘living at work.’ In the absence of set times in the office, employees across organisations are often taking a different approach to their working hours. Some start the day earlier or work later than they did before the pandemic because they don’t have to spend the extra time commuting. Others need to take a break during the day to help children with virtual learning or to run an errand for an at-risk relative. Due to this shift, employers should consider placing less emphasis on gauging success based on showing up at a certain time and instead embrace flexible, employee-driven scheduling.

Starting with new hire onboarding, encourage employees to block time on their calendars when they might have personal conflicts – such as supervising virtual learning or preparing lunch for their children. Foster a culture in which this type of time blocking is widely accepted and employees do not face negative repercussions for not being available at specific times. Encourage new hires to speak up as soon as possible if they’re struggling to balance their home and work schedules. This can help you identify solutions to set up for immediate success your new employees who are working parents, rather than only having this discussion if the employee’s performance noticeably suffers.

Rethinking performance reviews

Many employees who have faced challenges with juggling work and parenting responsibilities are concerned that this balancing act will lead to poor performance reviews. Google, for example, suspended performance reviews due to the pandemic in March and recently decided to reinstate them. In a recent survey of 870 Google employees who are parents, many indicated they expect the upcoming assessments to show that their job performance suffered in recent months. Others are asking Google for an option to opt out of this review cycle, which determines raises and promotions.

Other organisations are taking different approaches to performance management. Facebook suspended its usual performance ratings in early 2020. Instead, all employees who exceed expectations will receive bonuses. Facebook and other tech companies like Netflix and Google have also implemented performance management initiatives such as providing constant feedback, the ‘Keeper Test’ (in which a manager is asked, ‘Would you fight to keep that employee?’), and separating performance reviews, salary discussions and peer reviews.

A recent survey from Willis Towers Watson found that 66% of employers are not planning to alter performance expectations or career development and promotion processes for workers dealing with childcare issues. Whether employees are working parents or not, they have spent the past six months adapting to this new normal while doing their best to perform well in their roles. The unusual circumstances surrounding the pandemic need to be taken into consideration during performance reviews. This might mean setting up more frequent, informal check-ins instead of formal annual reviews for the time being or having a more open, two-way conversation rather than gauging success based on measurable numbers. By showing understanding, companies demonstrate that they truly care about their employees, not only generating higher productivity in the near term, but also strengthening employee loyalty in the long term.

In conclusion, about 41% of US employees between the ages of 20 and 54 have a child at home, meaning two in five employees are currently managing work and childcare or education in one way or another. By understanding the strain the pandemic has put on all employees – including working parents – your organisation can put a plan in place to better support your team, retain employees and drive results that will support long-term business success.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/time-management-tips/
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210119005073/en/Working-Parents-Prioritize-Social-Development-in-Considering-Pandemic-Child-Care-Solution
https://qz.com/work/958747/the-eisenhower-box-helped-me-balance-parenting-and-work/

Developing Better Apprenticeship Programmes

As economies recalibrate from the shocks imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders in the public and private sectors are swiftly trying to reimagine how people should navigate the labour market, whether it is an apprenticeship, mid-level or corporate level management.

Among other things, the economic tumult has exposed a clear disconnect between higher education and workforce development. In this new age of precarity, consumers will need sure-fire means to acquire the skills necessary to become productive employees, while employers will require reliable information to compare and hire the right talent. 

This has motivated providers, non-profits, and policymakers alike to create new models and mechanisms that will increase trust and accountability between education providers and employers and allow consumers, employers, legislators, and investors to navigate the postsecondary marketplace with confidence.

The Education Quality Outcomes Standards Board (EQOS) has created a robust Quality Assurance Framework in order to address these key issues. By pioneering a universal, outcomes-based standards framework for postsecondary education and training programmes, EQOS is strengthening the connection between higher education and workforce development and empowering all stakeholders to make informed choices.

During 2020, EQOS launched a number of partnerships with innovative postsecondary providers to pilot the Quality Assurance Framework by collecting and reporting their student outcomes data. During 2020, EQOS launched a number of partnerships with innovative postsecondary providers to pilot the Quality Assurance Framework by collecting and reporting their student outcomes data. The framework provides a clear, consistent way to compare the results data of all kinds of postsecondary programmes. Having that data allows learners, states, employers, and others to identify and support the most successful programmes.

There is strong evidence that work-based learning helps to equip young people with the skills that can improve their employability and ease the transition from school to work. Onsite work and mentoring are the core of the training model that today’s entry-level workers need in order to build and sustain lifelong careers. Strategically designed apprenticeship programs aggregate, monitor, and streamline the changing inputs and relationships required to promote workers and pave paths of sustainable employment. University graduates have become unemployable in some countries, even while jobs go unfilled.

Businesses worldwide lack skilled workers, even as unemployment—particularly among the young—is high. Too few skilled workers means that projects sit idle and revenue growth falls short of potential. Therefore, an apprenticeship combined with on-the-job training programmes make good sense for companies that need middle-level skilled workers.

An apprenticeship that involves mentoring provides young people with the frame of reference they need to forge a sustainable path, including networks and training resources. Hybrid training, from one-on-one development to being on the job, bridges school and the world of work. Programmes keep individuals motivated and plugged into hiring employers.

Not only does an apprenticeship help equip a workforce with the practical skills and qualifications needed within an organisation, they can also contribute to the productivity, growth and overall success of a business. Here are four ways a business could benefit by getting on-board apprenticeship programmes:

Career-focused development

Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for employers to develop, nurture and grow a more qualified workforce aligned to their future strategy. Using a combination of best practice, theory and on-site application, leadership and management capabilities within your business can be improved, so that your people will lead in new and improved ways.

Additionally, they also provide an effective way to ensure the future leaders and managers of your organisation develop the right skills to contribute to the growth and improvement of the business. After all, leadership and management are key to helping businesses achieve sustainability.

Greater innovation

Apprenticeships can help all types of business, big or small, across a range of sectors harness fresh new talent. As apprentices come from a range of diverse backgrounds, from aspiring managers to those with more experience under their belt, new innovative ideas and approaches are often brought to the business which help drive it forward.

Additionally, throughout an apprenticeship, individuals are encouraged to develop creative thinking skills and strategies, enabling them to think outside of the box. Leaders are responsible for the environment they create; they are the role models of the behaviours they want in their teams.

Therefore, it goes without saying that leadership and management development is a key driver in embedding a culture of innovation into an organisation.

Increased staff loyalty and retention

Investing in the development of employees can have a real positive impact on the morale of the workplace. Apprentices have an appetite for development, and when given that opportunity, they are likely to be more eager, motivated and loyal to the company.

This motivation and positivity from business leaders will cause a radiating effect amongst other employees, meaning the whole business will benefit as a result.

Additionally, offering existing staff the opportunity to develop through a leadership and management apprenticeship demonstrates that you are willing to invest in their future. This can help employees to see their job as a career and prolong their time at the company, increasing retention.

Improved bottom line

Developing staff through apprenticeship programmes can generate a real return on investment for many businesses. An apprenticeship is a great way to grow your team while keeping staff costs down, proving to be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff due to lower overall training and recruitment costs.

Additionally, as staff become better skilled and gain greater understanding of the wider business throughout the programme, confidence and independent thinking will develop. This can contribute to the generation of new ideas and suggestions such as improvements to business processes or strategies. Which, in turn can have a positive impact on productivity and efficiency in the business, thus reducing costs.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2021/04/06/tracking-outcomes-toward-better-apprenticeships/?sh=649293113252
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/building-back-better-with-apprenticeships
https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/About/Blog/Article/Apprenticeships-a-valuable-approach-to-developing-your-workforce.aspx

Morale Boosting Through Little Gestures of Recognition

Rewarding employees for a job well done undoubtedly brings benefits not only for their morale but also for the organisation. Awards and recognition are perfect ways to celebrate milestones, paving the way for a supportive work culture. In fact, 44% of employees offer peer to peer recognition when they have access to the right tools, according to a culture report by TINYpulse. The report also says that 20% of all employees are willing to go the extra mile when appreciated by their colleagues.

Loyal clients and long-standing employees can be acknowledged through service awards, performance awards and milestone gifts, say experts at Inkwell Global Marketing. In these trying times, what can managers do to keep their employees motivated?

The Impact of Positive Employee Morale

Firstly, it leads to an increase in productivity and efficiency in the workplace. When employees genuinely enjoy the work atmosphere, they are pushed to work more efficiently and productively. Whenever employees have high morale, they will enjoy going to work and on top of it all, their quality of work is much higher.

Second, when employees have positive employee morale, they give the company a competitive edge. Think of this way, if your company is facing bankruptcy then one of the easiest ways you can pull through that crisis is when employee morale is high. Your employees will put their heads together and will strive to avoid the apocalyptic end of the company.

Positive and high company morale will lead you to attract and retain top talent. Employees will feel far more likely to remain loyal to the company when they have a good and healthy work environment which in turn leads to higher employee morale and that positive energy will help attract and retain talent.

Lastly, positive employee morale helps reduce costs. Think of this domino effect: high employee morale helps reduce workplace accidents which leads to fewer absences and helps lower stress which then leads to less paid time off.

In addition, prior research suggests that helping employees feel more valued and supported is important not just for those individual employees’ wellbeing, but also for the organisation as a whole. Studies have shown that when employees are more satisfied with their organisation, they are more productive and less likely to leave, and that recognising and empowering employees can increase motivation and improve performance across the organisation.

Clearly, symbolic interventions can be effective. But to maximise their impact, it’s important to customise these efforts to your organisation’s unique context. Research suggests that there are a few key factors managers should consider when trying out low-cost symbolic awards:

The Messenger

One of the most important considerations is who the award will come from. Management should consider where there might be current gaps in feedback — perhaps employees do not interact much with the beneficiaries of their work, or with senior leaders in their organisations — and should prioritise notes of appreciation from these groups. Especially when interaction is limited due to remote work, studies suggest that positive feedback from key stakeholders is likely to be particularly essential to keep socially-driven employees motivated.

Timing

It is also important to think about when the symbolic gesture is likely to make the biggest impact. For employees whose daily workflows have become increasingly stressful and unpredictable during the pandemic, daily recognition of the impact of their work could well be effective, while in other environments, daily feedback may start to feel forced or repetitive. In addition, research on the Fresh Start effect suggests that recognising your employees can be particularly impactful at key temporal landmarks. For example, a thank you note sent at the start of a new quarter or positive feedback delivered at the conclusion of a major project can serve as a booster shot of motivation when employees need it most.

Make It Public

Private feedback is appropriate in some situations, but public recognition — such as awarding certificates during a team meeting — can often be a cost-effective way to motivate the entire team. Public recognition can feel more impactful to the recipient, and it can also boost motivation among all employees, including those who aren’t recognised themselves. In one field experiment, when thank you cards were publicly awarded to the three top performers in small work groups, researchers found that performance increased not just for the top performers who received the recognition, but for all members of their group. This may be because witnessing a colleague receive accolades could compel other employees to improve their own performance to measure up. However, another study found that recognising employees publicly led to negative social comparison that reduced performance among non-awardees — so it’s important to consider both the positive and negative signals that public awards can send to employees, and adapt your messaging accordingly.

Details always Matter

Your employees can tell the difference between a rushed job and genuine appreciation. To make sure your symbolic interventions are well-received, it is important to pay attention to the details. For example, in our studies, the letters of appreciation were signed in ink by a direct manager and mailed to employees’ homes. A blanket email would no doubt have been much less effective. Another study found that employees were significantly more productive after receiving a physical, non-monetary gift that when they received small financial gifts. Employees reported feeling more valued when they could see that their employer took the time and effort to choose, purchase, and wrap the gift, and so they increased their own efforts in return. In conclusion, symbolic interventions such as thank you notes can also make a real impact — without the potential downsides of cash rewards, and with little to no cost to the employer. During these exceptionally challenging and stressful times, a bit of appreciation can go a long way.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.perkbox.com/uk/platform/recognition/boosting-team-morale-using-recognition
https://www.villanovau.com/resources/hr/employee-recognition-techniques-boost-morale/
https://connecteam.com/boost-employee-morale/