The workplace—tech specifically—hasn’t always been the best place for parents. From mothers hiding their pregnancies in fear of losing their job to parents being forced to quit because there wasn’t a healthy balance between parenting and their career. Though these things are being addressed now, with many companies changing policies and workplace dynamics to accommodate parents, there’s still a stigma associated with being a working parent.
So, what can you do, as a Customer Success Leader, to help ease the burden on the working parents on your team? This guide will give you the strategies you need to help support and empower them in their career.
1. Encourage flexibility
This one always tops the list because working moms and dads can adapt work schedules to accommodate parenting commitments. Allowing your employees to choose when they can work helps them be more productive and will enable them to take time off for their kids without feeling guilty.
2. Opt for a hybrid work model
Design a work pattern that allows parents to combine working in the office with remote work. Allowing your employees to have freedom about how often they can come in the office (or if they want to come in at all) lets them work in an environment that best supports their parenting and career needs.
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3. Set goals and outcomes instead of work hours
As a customer success leader, you can ask your team to focus on achieving goals and outcomes instead of being strict about work hours spent in the office. Encouraging an outcome-oriented mindset will help employees develop productive work habits; employees who are sure about their tasks would need fewer meetings, memos, and chats and can finish their work without any distraction.
4. Do not judge productivity based on availability
Build a culture that respects time off. As their leader, remember that parenting is a 24/7 job, whereas customer management is not. As the CS leader, set a precedent of coming on time and leaving on time. Do not let over time be seen as being ‘more productive.’ Adopt quality over quantity of time spent in the office work model. Inform your team that EOD means don’t respond to emails, messages, or office calls. Unless there’s a fire (which that’s very likely not the case), respect employee privacy on weekends, and do not break family-time boundaries with office work.
5. Create a safe environment for open communication
Create an environment where your employees feel safe telling you about their commitments inside and outside the workforce. You can do this by proactively asking them if anything is coming up for their child(ren) that they might need to take some time off. Depending on what works best for your team, you can set aside time to ask them about their obligations every week, bi-week, or month. If you didn’t previously have an open communication culture in place, it might take some time before your team members are entirely transparent with you. But eventually, they’ll feel safe enough to communicate with you without you needing to take the initiative.
6. Help them prioritize tasks
When you send them emails, categorize each email’s subject line with a clear, “Need ASAP,’ ‘Required Next Week’ or ‘To be done but not urgent’… etc. This will help working parents decide how they want to prioritize their tasks without overstepping their work-life boundaries.
7. Create and nurture organizational support groups
Create resources for all working parents within your department by helping them build and nurture social groups. This will foster loyalty among the workforce, and it is a proven fact that employees who develop social bonds at the workplace stick around. So creating a community for all the working parents of your department will benefit you in the long run.
8. Check availability
Before sending meeting notifications in Teams or Slack, check your employees’ availability. Give those out of the office the chance to catch up by sending them recorded versions of the meetings; schedule catch-up calls per each employee’s schedule, and tread carefully with scheduling office calls during non-working hours and weekends unless your employee is okay with them because that’s what works best for their schedule.
9. Set an example
A flexible workplace? Open communication? Setting boundaries? All these are incredible ways to help the working parents on your team feel empowered, but your intentions will fall short if you’re not setting an example for them. Your employees are more likely to utilize the support system you’re setting up for them if they see you following the same principles.14
Creating a family-friendly culture in your department doesn’t have to be challenging. If you want your team to feel supported and empowered, you need to create a support system that you’re following. Ultimately, you want to lead with empathy. Understand that every employee, including yourself, has family commitments and looks up to you to help them find that work-life balance. So be the change they want and need.
Anshi has over 12 years of experience in demand generation, digital marketing, and managing global teams. In her prior role as head of marketing operations for a high growth US healthcare tech organization she transformed marketing from cost to revenue center.
Published May 24, 2022, Updated November 16, 2022