In the lead up to the National Inclusion Week we asked our Supermums and our wider network about what makes an inclusive workplace for parents.
In summary, we found, it’s one that can foster a healthy team culture and working environment that accommodates people’s working patterns and location, accepts and supports the reality of parenting struggles, alongside continuing to empower and invest in their career development.
Encouraging open and regular communication is important especially when there is a remote and/or office culture to ensure everyone feels included and there isn’t a them and us culture.
Here are a few ways you can foster an inclusive environment for a flexible workplace
If you are working with a team remotely and/or in the office prioritise team interaction – as a manager you could run daily catch ups in the morning using video to help team members feel connected, complimented by a more informal ‘water cooler’ chat with each person, and an ‘open instant messaging’ policy for any queries or problems. Picking up the phone is always a great way to connect and just ask the questions you need and get the answers you need.
Encourage peer support
Encourage team collaboration and foster a Centre of Excellence approach to encourage team members to talk to each other more where they need specific expertise. We use Chatter and encourage team members to pick up the phone to ask advice of each other throughout the week which they actively use and benefit from.
Make the time to get together
If your team works remotely or out on site quite a bit, arrange weekly, fortnightly or monthly get- togethers in the office to co-ordinate team meetings and team socials. If your workers are more remote arrange a happy hour virtual drinks or a retreat once a year where they all go away for a week.
Monitoring and working towards team goals can be achieved through reports and dashboards in Salesforce sharing transparency around work activities and achievements. It’s a great basis and platform to review and share success, brainstorm solutions and work towards team goals.
Creating an online community using tools such as Chatter, Quip or Slack can be used to communicate achievements, share problems and plan actions to keep dialogue open.
When people work flexible hours or across time-zones it’s important to find a time for meetings that works for everyone involved without compromising their flexibility. This can be bit of juggle sometimes but once it’s confirmed, make it a condition of the job role to manage expectations. If your team meetings are always on a Friday, then make sure a new recruit is available on this day when you make your next hire, so they know what’s expected.
Create a parents group
Create a Parents Group to create an empowering place for parents to discuss their situation, aspirations and challenges in the workplace. Amy Henderson CEO & Co-Founder of Tendlab specialises in working with Parent Groups in the US . Find out more here: tendlab.com
We are keen to engage with companies that support inclusive work places and are looking to hire talent. Talk to our recruitment team: http://supermums.org/recruitment/