Is it the next big thing?

Posts tagged ‘Maternity’

Is the term Parental Leave in need of a rebrand?

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One of the key challenges employers face in business is when valued employees take what is currently referred to as “time out” or “parental leave” from their professional career. In many cases it’s treated as a “taboo” with most being conscious of having a gap on their CV that may be viewed as a career break and is almost never discussed in a business context. Yet going on a course to develop our skills is seen as a great move, something which is highly valued by employees and employers alike.

Let’s turn this on its head!

Amongst the top reasons why parenting is so challenging, tiring and fulfilling are the fact that it’s constant and involves learning and immediately applying new skills (many of which you may not consider your strength (in a business context)) “on the job”. Imagine that, your company sends you on a sales course that is never going to end, there is no break from it, you can’t prepare, delegate or fast track. Irrespective of how well you take to it, your new skills will inform the development of new life coming into the world and as such will have consequences for you to deal with. A scary thought.

Yes, there are the obvious “time management”, “patience” and “productivity” skills, which are developed as a necessary requirement of Parenting, but we could all do with honing these irrespective of our specialism. What about the other areas that not everyone considers to be their strength? and in a professional environment some would run a mile from, but in developing as a parent you have no choice but to learn and apply, like:

Sales – skills required on a daily basis to parent a child from the age of 1-2 years old. What are the closing techniques that will successfully persuade your toddler (or older) to choose to process all of the functions that enable them to independently eat their meal, for example, or let you put on their coat, or co-operate in any way?

Performance Management – skills required on a daily basis to parent a child from the age of about 3 years old. What are the key performance indicators of a three year old? How will you measure them and what actions are you looking for as an indication that a reward is due to be awarded or revoked. What method will you use to communicate this and how will you ensure your child understands and is motivated by this process?

Conflict Management – required to parent children from the age of about 2-3 years old. How will you resolve and help your child to resolve conflict with another? How will you deliver news to your child that they don’t want to hear in a constructive way?

Supplier Management – which supplier will you select for your child’s education/ other skills development? What criteria will you use to select and how will you monitor whether it is being successfully delivered? What action will you take if it isn’t being delivered?

Add to that an array of other skills, like Networking, Leading, Events Management, Catering, Confidence Coach, the list goes on. (We can see why parenting is so challenging and indeed why many view going back to work as a break! That way we only need to focus on the skills we feel more comfortable with and consider ourselves successful in!)

Why are we not harnessing this phase of self-development more in the workplace?

Parenting could be viewed as a way of learning and developing ourselves, but most don’t view it in this way.  Instead, the application of new skills is simply viewed as a necessary part of getting things done and swept under the carpet by all, as generic “parenting challenges” that make us so tired.

But is everyone actually missing a trick? Could raising awareness of the learning and development experienced by parents be harnessed more by companies? What if companies decided to change how it’s viewed as part of recruitment and learning and development processes?

 Is the term “Parental Leave” in need of a rebrand?

What if the language around parenting was to change?

What if instead of “parental leave” businesses decided to offer a “parenting skills development” sabbatical and use the “keep in touch” days as an opportunity to review how to apply parenting skills in their profession?

What if, for candidates that are also parents, a portion of their CV and interview process were to be spent exploring rather than avoiding their parenting experience and reflecting on how it has ADDED TO their portfolio of skills in the workplace? Would a different, more respected approach from society create an energy shift that would fill us up rather than drain us of confidence and energy?

Would a rebrand like this, along with an accessible portfolio of truly part-time (3-day a week) working strategies like Jobsharing, reduce key recruitment and diversity challenges?  It’s certainly food for thought.  Perhaps you know of organisations that have already turned it on its head? I’d love to hear your views.

If you’d like to find out more about successful family friendly strategies and support for those who choose parenting and career, please check out http://www.ginibee.com

Jobsharing Top Tip #3: Trust Your Partner

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In my blog post earlier this year I wrote about the importance of Trust in achieving speed in business which feeds into productivity, effectiveness and cost. This is the third trait when it comes to successful Jobsharing, not only in terms of creating a functional partnership but also in realising the advantages of Jobsharing both on a personal and an organisational level.

A common concern is “how can I trust that someone else will do as good a job as I will?”, “how can I trust someone I don’t really know?”. Having Jobshared successfully and unsuccessfully I have experience of this and how it can break down, so I reflected on my own experience and also the experiences of senior level Jobsharers I have come across in my research. To help portray the mindset and successful habits that support this characteristic, I’m going to share with you three crucial quotes I have come across in my research.

It’s a Conscious Decision

“You have to just decide to trust the person because if you don’t it’s just not going to work. It’s a bit like jumping into a swimming pool and you hope it’s full of water, if it’s not going to work you need to know fast” (Polly Payne & Ruth Hannant, Directors of Strategy at Department for Business Innovation & Skills)

This is the underlying mindset of a successful Jobshare partner, also demonstrating the simplicity of the change that needs to happen for Jobsharing to become mainstream; away from suspicion and doubt and towards trust. It’s a conscious decision to trust from the outset made by the Jobsharer and one that won’t be without risk, but will be an informed decision based on whether the benefits outweigh the perceived risk.

Give yourself permission to trust another at work so you can have the work life balance that you need. Only then, will you be able to truly benefit from the Jobshare; your days off really will be days off, you will develop a shared approach and communicate more effectively, you will learn from each other, you will deal will difference constructively.

Demonstrate Trust

Another important quote came from senior level Jobsharer Deborah Bronnert:

“Always be available to your Jobshare partner on your non-working days, never be available to anyone else” (Deborah Bronnert, COO at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and previous Jobsharer)

This is a crucial habit to get into right from the start and certainly one which I believe contributed to the breakdown of my previous work partnership. Ensure a full and complete handover and then trust your partner to deal effectively with any and all outstanding or related actions or conversations. If you take over responsibility on your non-working days, this can be extremely damaging not only for demonstrating and acting with trust towards your partner, but also in terms of setting the precedent for taking the time that this work practice creates for you to focus on other things.

 “Any big decision on one of the other’s days that we haven’t talked about before we will always ring each other. We wouldn’t make a decision that changed the direction of something without consulting the other person” (Polly Payne & Ruth Hannant, Directors of Strategy at Department for Business Innovation & Skills)

This demonstrates the crucial trust and respect needed for a Jobshare arrangement to work, being available for a short consultation phonecall from your Jobshare partner, at your convenience on your non-working day, is very different from opening up a direct line of contact to another work colleague. When working a high profile, senior level role and spending spend quality time on things outside of work is no longer mutually exclusive, being available occasionally to your jobshare partner is not a chore but simply an enabler to this lifestyle.

 

How Can You Help?

If you are interested in learning more about how Jobsharing could help you or your organisation please contact sara.horsfall@ginibee.com or register at www.ginibee.com . If you’d like to help improve our understanding and awareness of perceptions about Jobsharing please take some time to complete this short survey at bit.ly/ginibee_survey

In my next blog I’ll be talking about Acting with Integrity, the next successful habit of a Jobsharer.

 

Jobsharing Top Tip #1: Know Yourself

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This is the first of a series of posts looking at the fundamental components required to create a successful Jobshare partnership.

To “Know yourself” might sound a bit cheesy, but it’s true, when creating a shared identity with another, it’s important to delve beyond our skills. Whilst compatible skills are important, they are not fundamental because we can have the same skills as another but be unable to create a shared identity together. In fact, our attitude is more fundamental than our skills, which I touched upon in my previous post “It’s All About Trust”.

So stripping everything back to basics, whilst behavioural profiles are great at modelling our actions in a particular environment, to Jobshare successfully you need to be mindful of what drives each others behaviour, starting with your own.

So, the first and most fundamental piece to understand when considering a Jobshare is self-awareness, take a step back and really reflect on your motivations. If you haven’t yet considered a flexible working option then it might be a useful exercise to simply reflect on how you currently spend your time to at least check that you’re happy it’s right for you by asking yourself:

“How do you spend your time?

What are the 5 things you spend most of your time on?

What are the reasons you spend your time this way?”

If you’re considering a Jobshare then you may have already answered these questions and decided that you need to make a change, so well done!. In this case, to make sure you are going in the right direction, be mindful of: Do you know what you want in your life? Why do you work? What makes you feel good at work?

Once you know this information about yourself you can articulate it to a potential partner and vice versa.   Not only will this help in ensuring a compatible match but further down the line knowing this information and importantly, being mindful of it, will help you to have a fulfilling career and also to manage your interpretation of each others behaviour in the context of what you know about your motivations.

So in a nutshell

To establish an effective partnership, you need to understand who is coming into that relationship and fundamentally, that means understanding yourself. Self-awareness is critical, if you don’t know your own motivations, you can’t conceive how you are different to others. Therefore achieving results by working with others is made more complicated.

In my next post I’ll be exploring the next natural step which is to be aware of difference. We are all different and guess what, it’s a GOOD thing. Tune in next time for more on this.

If you’d like to anonymously help to increase understanding of peoples perceptions of Jobsharing, please complete our short survey at http://www.bit.ly/ginibee_survey .  Finally, if you’d like to explore Jobsharing as a career option with a work life balance, you can register at http://www.ginibee.com .  Until next time.

Should Jobsharing be part of Leadership Development?

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In a survey carried out last year by TLNT, Communication and Humility were voted as key traits of effective leaders.  Similarly, in accounts of Jobshare success we hear about the need for effective communication and humility.  Why therefore, is Jobsharing not integral to leadership development in our workplace as opposed to an exception to the rule?

Currently, Jobsharing is occasionally considered as a last resort when someone (usually a parent) wants to return to their role part-time after maternity or paternity leave.  Instead, I believe Jobsharing should be an essential part of leadership programmes within organisations, an important part of investing in people and a practical way of honing key skills which every organisation could benefit from.   Imagine a workplace where as part of your leadership development, or personal development you were expected to spend a period of time as part of a jobshare, either with someone in a different department /outside the organisation  /someone more senior who is phasing their work schedule for retirement.  Would this make for a more versatile and diverse workplace, encouraging collective intelligence and employment programmes for employees throughout their career?

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