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How corporate organisations can support working parents

What actually matters

Corporate Family Responsibility (CFR) has become an critical index for determining the quality of an organisation’s human resource management and practices, particularly the important aspect of supporting working parents in an age of highly prevalent dual-earnership among familieso.

Coupled with the global decline in gender differences in labour market, it is no longer a hearsay that the ratio of female to male employment is highest in Sub-saharan with women occupying about 46.4% of the labour force (World Development Indicators, 2019).

While the focus of this piece is not to prioritize any gender role over the other, the unique role that women occupy in the society, often places them in a state of dilemma on how to effectively balance work roles with family responsibilities which include parenting and child upbringing.

As such, the need to support working parent particularly the women become imperative for 21st century corporate organization.

Working parents describe individuals with the noble responsibility of childcare and work demands.

Working parents manage the responsibility of ensuring the care of their children or dependents that are integral family members, in addition to meeting up with occupational the demands of work. Such family responsibility is so sensitive that it cannot be neglected as it affects individual work concentration.

This decision could even affect the choice of occupation or employee retention or account for high human resource turnover in an organisation.

Therefore, it becomes imperative for employers to ensure that working parents do not just have a comfortable environment to work, but also prioritization of their job satisfaction to guarantee the achievement of organisational turnover and business bottomlines.

This paper proposes four (4) major strategies by which corporate organisations and employers can support working parents. These are:

1. Humanistic management

Leading with a human face means respecting employees’ humanity, and not treating them as mere ‘tools’ to be used for achieving productivity. These employers recognize that each employee must be treated with dignity.

It becomes imperative for employers to ensure that working parents do not just have a comfortable environment to work, but also prioritization of their job satisfaction to guarantee the achievement of organisational turnover

With such disposition, employers practise human-friendly approaches to work such as allowing for remote or flexible work regime, paternity or maternity leave, and fair and just remuneration/reward system, promotion of decent and non-toxic workplace, and incorporating work-family needs such as those having to do with parenting or meeting up with employees’ family concerns.

Emphasis should be on promoting saliently quality of work rather than quantity of time spent in the workplace. Thus, engendering a strong work-life balance. This will encourage openness of employees to their employers whom they come to value as friends, and not just bosses.

2. Offer family friendly welfare packages

The welfare of employees reflects the level of morality of any organization. Consequently, organizations should ensure the well-being of their employees and promote upward projection of their social status.

Desiring the good of their employees, especially working parents, employers need to initiate support programs to promote employee welfare.

Since working parents, particularly in dual-earner families, are mostly overwhelmed by childcare responsibilities, support that alleviates such burden will be most rewarding for the collective good.

Organizations could consider onsite childcare support, meal at workplace; take home meal vouchers, incorporation of childcare benefits, offer wellness account to cover for family care by expanding eligibility for medical care to cover family dependents, paid work or sick leave, and compulsory family vacation program.

Read also: Leadership and organisational philosophy

3. Payment of just wage

An exhaustive work demand with so little a wage will endanger the morality of working parents. Thus, have a ripple effect on employee efficiency and overall performance, affecting organizational growth.

Therefore, organizations must as a matter of conscience and goodwill, pay her employees, especially working parents, wages that are commiserate with the demands of the work.

Should the organization not have the resources to fulfill this moral duty, employers can offer employees the opportunity to work on part time bases in order for them to invest time in other roles for additional pay. Also, payment of remuneration as at when due and, proper plans for improved wage or bonuses in times of economic struggle is also important.

4. Encourage association for working parents

Allowing working parents freedom to association will offer them opportunity for mutuality of support with minimal or no cost to the organization. It will afford working parents’ power to negotiate certain benefits.

This will suggest that the organization has the interest of such sensitive category of workers at heart thus, while establishing a sense of job security among working parents. Working parents will develop a sense of ownership and recognition of the fact that the growth of their organisation has a direct impact on their own growth as well.

Thus, employees, through the association, can motivate each other and propose different support programs for themselves as well as reprimand unprofessional behaviour that could endanger collective progress.

Thus, the need for corporate and employer support for working parents cannot be over emphasized. For organizational advancement, employees must be treated with dignity and accorded supporting the welfare of employees is a major determinant to working parents’ job satisfaction.

Therefore, employers must initiate family friendly policies and welfare programs to ensure working parents work-life balanced.

Kolo, a Sociologist, is the Research Manager at the Institute for Work and Family Integration, Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached on +2347038097730 OR [email protected]