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Working towards a flexible future: How to engage, attract and retain parents

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deverellsmith has partnered with Daisy Chain, flexible working platform for parents, to promote flexibility and equal opportunities across the real estate industry.

Employee attrition is one of the biggest impacts to a company’s finances. It comes as no surprise that implementing flexible working models and a high trust culture deeply reduces attrition rate, it allows the employee and employer to form a two-way relationship and operate through a bottom-up rather than a top down model.

According to HR Director, 82% of the workforce offer flexible working. Whether that is a fully open policy or slightly more redundant the number of businesses moving to a modern working model is optimistic. This figure is likely to have been impacted by Covid-19, one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic was the implementation of remote working as society was told to “stay home” and businesses were forced to adapt to a life online.

As talent agencies, it is noticeable that job seekers are demanding roles which offer flexibility and equal opportunity policies or expect these from an employer in a post-pandemic world. We believe that this is just the beginning of the journey.

deverellsmith and Daisy Chain have put together some tips on how to attract a diverse pool of talent and retain employees through flexible working and equal opportunities, specifically focused on parents.

What can your business do to ensure you are promoting equal opportunities for parents?

Parents make up a vast number of the workforce and any parent will tell you that responsibilities and priorities shift rapidly when you produce a tiny human. According to Catalyst,72.3% of all women and93.4% of all men with children under 18 were in the workforce in 2019. So, it’s important to provide a work environment that is understanding of their responsibilities.

Try not to use appraisal documents, working hours and commitments that might limit certain type of employee’s success. Setting KPI’s on presenteeism automatically favours employees who are more available and, in some cases, have less responsibilities in their personal life.

Louise Deverell-Smith, Founder of Daisy Chain, commented, “To attract new potential employees and retain your current employees its always great to champion your flex workers in your business, parent or non-parent.  It gives people a real sense of what it is like to work for your company and to feel like you are part of a family”.

How does your business offer support for parents?

Both parents are employed full-time in almost half (46%) of households that include a mother and father. There are many external support groups and communities within the UK real estate community for minorities in the property industry; Ladies in Real Estate, Freehold and BAME in Property are a few examples.

For larger corporations, creating an internal support group which regularly meet-up or provide support and advice via an online portal will create an inclusive environment, instil confidence, and build trust between the employer and organisation.

For SME’s and start-ups, creating a sub-community might not be viable due to the lower number of staff. If your company is growing it is always a good idea to share future plans if you do choose to create a support group, this is when trailblazers within a company might volunteer to help drive the initiative.

Working Families is a third-party platform which supports employers support parents and families in the workplace. They offer free resources and memberships which offer tailored advice. You’ll also be able use the ‘Working Families’ logo on your website to attract working parents.

The equality of human rights launched the campaign ‘Working Forward’ a nationwide network, backed by some of the UK’s leading businesses, to make workplaces as inclusive as possible. Their members belong to a community of forward thinking employers who share tips, advice and knowledge about current and emerging equality issues. You can join the movement here.

How does your business attract parents?

When advertising live vacancies and opportunities be sure to include your diversity and inclusion statement at the bottom of the advert as well as on your career page.

Employees are often attracted to company’s which invest into their employees and work culture. Social events often occur during ‘after work’ hours and into the evening. Hosting a ‘family-friendly’ day during kid’s school holidays not only gives the opportunity to bring your kids to work and socialise, but it is also a way to support the inclusivity of parents. Dedicating one social or charitable event during the year to working parents is a massive welcome sign for current and potential staff.

Other advice

Louise Deverell-Smith, Founder of Daisy Chain, commented, “Including your flexible working offering in every job advert promotes an inclusive environment from the start of your employees’ journey with your organisation. Creating, talking about, and advertising maternity and paternity packages also opens the door to talented parents or individuals planning a family, contributing towards the diversity of your company.”

As COVID-19 has evidently had a positive impact on flexible working, when restrictions are eased it is important that a high trust philosophy and flexible working should remain instilled in your company culture. It is proven to be an effective way of working, promotes inclusivity and we think, it is working towards the future.

To learn more about flexible working opportunities for parents contact Daisy Chain here.