One of the best ways to recruit great people is to keep your doors open to candidates whom other employers are excluding for reasons other than merit – such as working parents. Here are some ideas for how a growth firm can develop family-friendly work policies. First, publicize the option of flexible/reduced hours. Openness about these arrangements will reduce the stigma associated with them. Many people stay quiet about their modified schedules because they don’t want to send a message that they prioritize their career below their family. Second, specify if a job can be executed with non-traditional hours. For some working parents, inflexible office hours is a deal-breaker, but asking it right away during an interview can send a bad message to a hiring manager. Third, offer training on how to manage people with non-standard schedules. This requires clarity in communicating priorities, time-requirements, deliverable formats and a necessary level of detail. Fourth, ensure employees with flex schedules are treated the same and are given equal opportunities as standard employees. Promotions should also be blind to hours worked and, instead, based exclusively on how much value the employee is adding. Consistently working long hours should be considered a sign of inefficiency, poor time management and propensity to burnout. Fifth, promote a fitness office. You’ll make it easier for people to work a full day by designing the office to promote fitness while working, rather than slotting in fitness as a 20-minute activity before work. Finally, give both parents the option of parental leave. The typical parental leave policy says that the “primary caregiver” can have four months leave. In most cases, that’s a woman. If dads were encouraged to take longer parental leaves, it would help with work/life balance for both men and women.
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