Keeping Your Parent-Employees from Quitting

July 7, 2021 | 135 views

Keeping Your Parent-Employees from Quitting
Keeping Your Parent-Employees from Quitting

During the pandemic, businesses and employees navigated their way through some tough scheduling conflicts. For employees with children, it meant juggling online learning and work responsibilities. For employers, staff child care burdens meant losing nearly one-fourth of their employees, a large portion of them women. This attrition was a dilemma for both parties by reducing household income for parents while limiting scheduling options for business owners.

Separate from pandemic concerns, staff management has many challenges. Some of those are legal limitations on whom we hire. You cannot hire only people without children, for example (it is illegal in some locations to ask about family structure before hiring). Yet, businesses must find good matchups of employees who can meet the needs of their workplaces.

The problem is fairly clear. Parents can’t be working for you and with their children at the same time. But we want them to conform to our scheduling needs in the most valuable ways. But the solutions are less clear. How can you prevent valuable parent-employees from quitting?

First, reevaluate actual needs. Examine why you are covering your shifts the way you are. Perhaps a specific skill is needed, or you have a regular meeting that you schedule around. Look internally for rational ways to accommodate your employees, and be open to unusual ideas that would have seemed an absolute impossibility during pre-pandemic times.

  1. Allow children at work. We seemed to have expanded pet-friendly workplaces. Isn’t it more humane to do the same for children? How can children be included to make your business a welcoming place for parent-workers? This might not be feasible in every situation, of course, but maybe a child can do homework in a back area after school while allowing a parent to continue a shift.
  2. Change your commitments. As a business manager, the choices are yours, so could you choose a different time slot for your weekly Zumba class that you value? Or could you work an early shift so that an employee can drop kids at school? Find ways to tag-team that still meet your business needs and other commitments.
  3. Allow employees to exchange shifts. You need a shift covered, but maybe someone else can step in. Cross-train employees to contribute no matter the need, and then use simple employee scheduling software that provides internal communication and employee access to swap shifts.
  4. Plan ahead. Fair work rules include providing schedules with ample notice and some consistency. That is a little tough on you, but it will provide time for employees to juggle their competing demands and fulfill your staffing demands.
  5. Be a nonconformist. Maybe fewer days and longer hours help an employee and still meet your needs. Or rotate schedules if that works for employees. You might even decide that being open during evening hours is more productive and better for your business model. After all, some job functions can be done at any time of day.

Without a doubt, the most effective way to keep parent-employees working for you is through flexible options. With some creativity, you can sustain suitable flexibility to retain valuable parent-employees.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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