Happy Anniversary to Josie!

Happy anniversary to Josie!

I still remember the overwhelming amount of support we received when we first launched, and the hundreds of encouraging messages I got from people from all walks of life.  Our mission resonated with so many, and I was in shock by the response.

I’m amazed at what we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. It truly does feel like you’re running a thousand miles per hour as a startup founder, but this anniversary seemed like a good time to pause and reflect on everything we’ve learned. To start, there are 3 reasons to which I attribute our success:

  • There is no substitute for having a great team. Working with such an awesome team of leaders, coaches, and advisors has been the opportunity of a lifetime!  It’s incredible to see how a group of passionate individuals can come together and create something so powerful.
  • Unwavering commitment to mission. At Josie, when we make strategic decisions, we always ask ourselves to what degree does it align to and advance our mission?  It keeps us focused and confident we are making decisions that line up to our values.
  • Employers truly want to find meaningful ways to support their team members – they just need a little help in doing so. The future of work is here – and employers are proactively seeking creative ways to establish a sense of belonging in the workplace and get out ahead of changing expectations across multiple generations as to what matters in a career.

We also have learned so much about our clients and have developed a more nuanced understanding of the customer.  Interestingly, some counterintuitive insights surfaced.  I’m proud to say we can now weave together a powerful story about our impact – and it’s awesome to see it come together:

Team members notice when their organization makes an investment in Josie.  71% of our clients answered “Strongly Agree” to seeing themselves staying in their currently roles for at least the next year, up from 54% pre-program.  One client said “It means so much to me that my employer has made this investment in my transition back to work. I feel like they truly care about my professional and personal wellbeing.”

Having a safe space to work through this life transition with a third party allow clients to open up and be vulnerable in different way than with internal programs.  So many clients shared how having a team outside their organization that was dedicated to understanding and supporting this life transition made them feel less alone and able to express themselves in a way that otherwise was unavailable to them.  The result is decreased feelings of guilt (“I’m doing something wrong,” “I should have done XYZ”) and isolation (“I felt really alone,” and “the idea of going back to work was scary for me”) – which in turn, allows the client to be more present and engaged both at work and at home (“Through the Josie coaching I was able to voice out all my concerns in a safe space and gain tools to address them. By the time I returned to work I was more confident in assessing my needs and asking for what I needed.”) Upon completion of the program, 100% of clients answered “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” to feeling mentally and emotionally prepared to transition into working parenthood.

They have similar struggles, regardless of the length of parental leave.  This came as a surprise. Nearly 65% of our clients had 14 or more weeks of parental leave, yet 89% “Disagree” on feeling emotionally prepared to return to work.  When it comes to what they are most concerned about in the return to work, “Balancing home and work life” was cited most often (91%), followed by “My self-care” (82%) and “My mental and emotional health” (73%).  What this reveals is that the pressures of being a working parent today are massive, and require supports beyond parental leave to ensure a successful transition.  It’s great to know that more and more companies are investing in strong parental leave policies but ignoring the “wrap around” can dampen the benefits of having it in place.

Participants are more likely to have more than one child.  This was also a counterintuitive finding – turns out 64% of our clients are second time+ plus parents.  What this tells me is as a first-time parent, there is a bit of “don’t know what you don’t know,” and seeking support for the parent may be secondary to making sure everything is in place to care for baby.  This makes sense when it’s your first time and there are a lot of unknowns.  For second time parents, there is more of a desire to proactively find support.  As one mother put it, “this was my second child and I knew I needed support and guidance on how to be successful with my return to work. When I returned to work after my first child I didn’t have a clue and was winging it.”

Wow!  I am so proud of the impact we have been able to make in such a short amount of time.  With a building confidence in our offering, we are ready to take Josie out to a bigger audience, and we are just getting started on a bigger go to market plan.  Stay tuned!

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