Back To School: Supporting Working Parents

VALENTINA LWIN-BAILEY

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Valentina Lwin-Bailey

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This coming week sees the start a new school year for many children across Australia. Whilst there will be plenty of excitement and tears (not just from the children) here are some thoughts on how organisations can support our working parents.

 

Mind your bias

When we think of workplace flexibility for parents of school-aged children, there might be an immediate assumption to refer to mothers. Whilst mums may take on the primary caring responsibilities in most families, it is important to provide same opportunities for dads and secondary carers or parents who take active role in childcare responsibilities.

Of the 6.2 million couple families in Australia, 1 in 7 families (14.2%) are one-parent families and 1.7% are same-sex couples (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2022). So, let’s not assume that only mum needs time off for schools runs, or that working dads have all the support at home. Great Place To Work ®️️ organisations are cognisant of all variations of modern families and provide equal workplace flexibility for all families.

 

Asynchronous collaboration can be just as effective

In the new normal of hybrid work arrangements, and improving workplace culture, there’s been an increased focus on collaboration. We now accept that virtual and asynchronous collaboration can work just as effectively.

 

Asynchronous collaboration means that team members can communicate and contribute without an expectation of an immediate response. Everyone can work together on the same project using several available shared platform options (i.e., cloud-based or enterprise shared drive) at times when they can focus and be most productive. In the case of working parents, it might be in the evenings, after they’ve attended to their children’s needs. The key to success is having clear expectations and understanding on response times (i.e., must respond within 8 hours) and deadlines.

If you do require synchronous collaborative time, host meetings during core working hours when everyone can attend, rather than during peak drop off and pick up times.

 

It’s a give and take Benefits For All™️

Since we are discussing return to school the focus automatically goes to parents. In reality, workplace flexibility is a benefit For All™️. Great organisations recognise employees have a life outside of work and aim to provide equal work conditions regardless of home responsibilities so they can still achieve their personal goals and professional goals. As we encourage the workforce to adjust their attitudes and schedules to support working parents, also remind others that they have the same flexibility. For example, employees with elders can take time off to attend to their parents’ medical needs or run errands; employees without responsibilities for children or elders may like to take leave for volunteering work or may simply like to start and finish early/late based on their personal commitments or productivity.

And as for parents taking leave during the school holidays, there are others who appreciate tag-teaming annual leave schedule to benefit from holidaying during the low season to avoid children, crowds and premium prices on travel and accommodation costs. So, encourage your teams to forward plan and chat with others so everyone can benefit equally.

We wish you all a wonderful start to the school year, whether you are parents or not, there is always a great lesson learned when considering the home life of others whilst at work.

 

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2022, October 18). Labour Force Status of Families. Retrieved from Australian Bureau of Statistics: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-status-families/latest-release

 

VALENTINA LWIN-BAILEY

Valentina brings 25 years of experience in organisational development, people and culture, and teaching and training experience from across higher education, government and private sectors in Australia and Myanmar (Burma). In the past 15+ years, she has been focused on employee engagement, workplace culture, leadership development and strategic planning. Her recent HR leadership roles included heading up functional HR teams in large and complex organisations, including crisis management during the pandemic and political unrest. She exercises her passion for people development by teaching, mentoring and coaching young HR professionals in the areas of HR, management and career planning. Valentina is a strong advocate for full-person wellness, and achieves balance through yoga, outdoor activities, cooking and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Micro 10-29 Employees
  • Small 30-99 Employees
  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from