The Big Share

New Transparency Identifies Parent-Friendly Workplaces

Two years ago, we sat at the White House Summit for Working Families listening to company leaders such as Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein share how their companies were striving for working families. A few, isolated cases were actually hitting home runs for working families.

It was good news. But there were many women, in the audience and elsewhere, who were hearing it for the very first time. And as consumers, none of us were sure how to access that information again. Such an event inspired our founding of the It’s Working Projects’ Portrait Project, a mosaic of compellingly candid portraits of new parents in the American workplace. Our comprehensive view is possible through the sharing of personal narratives by parents, the honestly of which which uncover a rich depiction of American families navigating work and parenthood.

But we were certainly not the only ones.

It has been only two years, but the landscape is shifting. As family-friendly workplaces receive more ink on their maternity and paternity policies, organizations are sprouting up with the goal of sharing what the leave and back-to-work experience really looks like. These organizations are pointing out those workplaces which are true to their commitment of supporting parents’ returns to work (and to what degree) and others who are not. Thanks to these organizations’ research, we now have both qualitative stories and quantitative data. Websites are launching with transparency and community as their goals, some going so far to suggest where a new parent would want to work or what pivot they should make.

It’s the big share. And it’s going to keep growing.

It is a far cry from the guessing game that women very recently had to go through to figure out what might work for them. Or the well-intended but often misguided whisper-down-the lane (and we all know how that game goes.) Instead, information can now be honest, candid and openly accessible.

THIS is what we’ve been waiting to see (and read and share!).

At the It’s Working Project, we know that workplace culture is one of the defining aspects of how a new parent views his or her return to the workplace. A supportive boss and a family-aware work environment can make all the difference between an employee who stays (and thrives) after their parental leave, and one who leaves. Fairygodboss helps women by sharing company statistics and real stories, so women (and men) can see how their company compares. It assists women in making more confident job decisions, and introduces them to others who can give them advice and the inside scoop. At Glass Ceiling, women are benefitting from articles and interviews, start-up advice for women entrepreneurs and workplace know-how from experts in the field. And at InHerSight, women are rating their workplaces, looking at score cards and finding their match.

Expectations are changing, too. This is what progress looks like. Although it may be unfamiliar to older generations, a generation of millennials are taking the helm in more management roles in more organizations, and this is the change they seek.

In order for this change to take hold, we need people who are focused on creating better work environments for parents. It’s not about soapboxes anymore, it’s about transparency and proactive progress. Today we at It’s Working Project and the organizations mentioned above are squarely focused on real change and real-time approaches to a pervasive problem. Perhaps this will be addressed legislatively in the future, but until now we have only ourselves on which to rely.

Let us continue to make information transparent and more greatly available to one another in ways that can be useful, meaningful and certainly sharable! We invite you to share your story with us at the It’s Working Project’s Portrait Project. Add your honest perspective of what the back-to-work experience looks like for families today.

People are talking. Workplaces are changing. And we are getting there together.

Oh The Places We’ve Been!
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