Friday, September 16 is National Working Parents Day! For the team at Josie, this is kind of our Thanksgiving – a perfect opportunity to pay our respects and reflect on how far things have come in recent years. We can imagine there may be some out there who are wondering, do working parents really need their own special day of recognition? To us, the answer is clear: it’s not about working parents needing the recognition… it’s an opportunity to celebrate them!
This should certainly resonate with employers that have working parents in their ranks. Consider the capabilities and traits organizations value most in top leaders: Maintaining thoughtful perspective. Staying cool under pressure. Prioritizing efficiently. Making sound decisions within an ethical framework. Negotiating effectively. There is no better training ground for building these skills than parenting, and no better way for companies to tap into them than by supporting employees through the transitional stages into working parenthood. It is during this time, while these new capabilities are being developed and refined, that the benefits really begin to accrue – resulting in better employees and better parents. For the employers, it represents a true win-win with the potential for huge pay-off. How big? In addition to grooming strong future leaders, a recent Maven Clinic report estimates companies that invest this way in their employees and families experience revenue growth up to 5.5 times that of their peers!
Of course, tapping into this potential isn’t easy. A great deal of information has come to light in recent years about the challenges working parents face as they struggle to balance work and family life. According to a recent analysis by The Ohio State University, a whopping 66% of working parents report being completely burned out, with associated increases in depression, anxiety, and alcohol consumption. The American Psychological Association reports that 72% of working parents regularly experience elevated anxiety over childcare concerns including safety and cost. It would seem that, despite the advantages, conditions somehow conspire against many employers supporting working parents in mutually beneficial, sustainable ways.
Luckily, we live in a time when progressive companies are increasingly recognizing the value high-performing working parents bring to their teams. In some cases, they are taking bold steps to evolve wholesale at the culture and policy levels into family-supportive workplaces with the flexibility and vision to accommodate the diverse needs of working parents. And in doing so, they are being rewarded with increased employee retention, engagement, commitment, and performance. It is a new awakening, with these organizations paving the way to broad realization of what we’ve known all along: working parents are a huge asset to the team!
So this September 16th, we invite you to join us in celebrating working parents. Not because we’ve reached the finish line, but because we recognize the race is on, progress is being made, the upside potential is enormous, and working parents still need all the cheerleading they can get. So, on behalf of the entire Josie team, Happy National Working Parent’s Day!