‘Tis the Season . . . to Course-Correct!



As the year comes to an end, there is something to celebrate. More and more industries are seeking out real-time solutions for bringing families back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. This year alone, we’ve seen tech, hospitality, and financial services begin to ask and answer the essential question of the year: “How will we do better by our families?” And they are being rewarded for the effort with talent, loyalty, and longevity; enthusiastic recruits looking to join the ranks; and the warm glow of positive media attention.

The newly enhanced parental leave policies and soft-benefits signify more than just a trend toward family friendly practices, they signify that these industries and their leaders are exploring, in earnest, the genuine cultural shifts that will support the challenges of back-to-work after baby (and beyond). This focus on employees’ needs and the nuances of what it means to be back to work after baby are both pro- and re-active. Not only are employees asking pointed questions about parental leave and return(retention), but job candidates — young, unmarried, childless job applicants (recruitment)— are asking, as well. Companies who don’t have supportive policies that allow for a long-term future will soon find themselves functioning in a talent vacuum.

Elizabeth Donnelly, Credit Suisse’s head of benefits for the Americas, is hearing a lot about leave during the recruitment process.  “I was surprised by the number of individuals—and these are people just entering the workforce—who wanted to know what our child care leave policies are. It came across loud and clear,” she said in a recent Washington Post piece, “Wall Street firms are banking on better family leave benefits to compete for talent.”

Credit Suisse heard what candidates were asking and course-corrected. They did not simply develop a policy and check it off their list. They listened to what top talent were asking, took time to understand the implications, and began shaping new policies to ensure that in the now omnipresent challenge to attract, retain, and engage the most desired candidates, Credit Suisse continues to lead. In addition to their increased paid leave, up to 20 weeks from 12, Credit Suisse is also offering to pay for an employee’s nanny and infant to go along on business trips, and will be introducing “parental leave coaches” to help alleviate the stress of on- and off-ramping.

This is what it looks like to really, truly, listen and pave the way for a new generation of talent.

At the It’s Working Project we know about the serious business of listening. It’s what we do. We’ve been listening to parents across the country who have shared their personal experience of back-to-work after baby in the US. These parents have told us time and again through our Portrait Project what we need to know (and what we’ve shared) about what is broken and easily fixable about back-to-work after baby.

We’ve listened.  We’ve quantified the data. We’ve created qualitative insights and made sense of trends. And we’ve taken our full-spectrum view of returning to the workplace to HR departments across the country. Forward-thinking companies are taking note and, like Credit Suisse, changing course not just on policy, but on culture.

The brightest new talent in our workforce is ready to start something amazing, including their families, and we must—all of us—listen to what they are saying they need to give their best, at work and at home

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