Getting return on investment by supporting parents at work

Are budgets being squeezed yet again?

Is management sign-off for new initiatives becoming more difficult?

Are you being asked to quantify the business benefits of every initiative? 

Getting return on investment by supporting parents at work

People make assumptions that results of initiatives such as maternity coaching and creating a family-friendly and flexible culture cannot be measured.  They can, however, using these indicators of success:

  1. Employee engagement survey results – using your latest as a benchmark – picking out the relevant questions that focus in on engagement, flexibility, support, wellbeing – track how these results change year on year
  2. Return and retention rates after maternity – how many women currently come back?  How long do they stay?  Why do they leave?
  3. Promotion of your family-friendly brand in line with competitors – through marketing and press to promote initiatives to become better known in the market.  This can also be done by applying for awards, through Working Families for example.  Marketing teams may be able to advise how to track success of brand work
  4. Number of sick days of parents can be tracked to assess the impact of the initiative on general health and wellbeing
  5. Performance ratings could be tracked before and after any initiative
  6. Legal costs or time spent managing cases of miscommunication during the maternity period can be monitored, particularly if your initiative involves a leadership intervention such as a Managing Maternity workshop
  7. Female talent pipeline – have you had an increase in the number of women staying longer and progressing to senior levels?  What is your current rate and where would you like to get to?

There are also the benefits of maternity coaching and supporting your parents at work that are slightly harder to measure, but no less important.  Consider your recruitment strategy – are you confidently able to say, if asked, that you are a family-friendly and flexible organisation in comparison to your competitors?  If not, you may end up losing out on new talent, especially as the next generation of Millennials will be keener than ever on flexibility.  So supporting parents will boost your attraction strategy and enhance your competitive position for people.

The key is to agree what you want to track before the implementation of a programme starts.   This sounds simple but it’s amazing how so few organisations set the parameters and objectives, so then find it difficult to prove the return on investment.   If you are using external consultants, they should be able to help you with immediate evaluation and tracking of longer-term success measures that will give you a good idea if the initiative is getting the desired results.

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