Paternity leave at your company
Paternity leave is not a new concept, but one that is just now gaining traction in recognition of the importance of fatherhood and the role a father plays in a child’s life. The only problem is that many companies, particularly small businesses, continue to offer maternity leave with no offer of paternity leave for the male counterpart.
Some business leaders don’t consider paternity leave to be important, and others simply don’t want to pay for it (and truthfully, many cannot afford it). There are a growing number that do, however, offer paternity leave and it is actually a positive business decision, not just for ethical reasons, but to the bottom line.
Chris Duchesne, VP of Care.com’s Employer Program, Global Workplace Solutions, says that “Study after study has shown that companies that adopt paternity leave policies have higher employee engagement and retention, higher employee productivity, and lower rates of absenteeism.”
“Dual working families make up 70 percent of the labor force in the U.S. today,” Duchesne added, “and this new generation of workers (both men and women) have different expectations of fathers. This includes taking paternity leave and sharing childcare responsibilities.”
Duchesne is a father of three small children, and a well known HR veteran who oversees the Global Workplace Solutions program that provides customized, cost-effective programs that make Care.com’s suite of services available to institutional and corporate clients, their employees and families. Clients include Yahoo!, Clif Bar & Company, Facebook, Honest Tea, iRobot, Jamba Juice, Northwestern University, eBay and LinkedIn.
Changing expectations in the workplace
As Duchesne notes, the workplace and workforce are evolving, and as our culture softens their views on gender roles, fatherhood is finally being acknowledged as critical.
So how do employers help shed the stigma when implementing modern family leave policies? Duchesne shares six important steps in his own words below:
1. Create a Culture of Permission
Employees should not fear peer or career retribution for taking paternity leave. Some companies offer great programs but don’t support them with a company culture that actually encourages employees to take the time off. If senior management doesn’t set an example by partaking in benefits programs, there is a perceived standard set that while the benefit is available, it’s not really acceptable for employees to utilize it.
If management and HR want to encourage employees to take advantage of work-life policies and benefits, like paternity leave, they must first make sure they are sending out an unambiguous, positive message to that effect. Employees recognize when what the organization says and what the organization does is different. They react to those cues of what’s really encouraged and what’s really accepted.
iRobot, a Care.com Workplace Solutions client, practices what they preach. Their senior leadership team makes it a point to adhere to Summer Fridays (a practice from Memorial Day to Labor Day where their office closes at noon on Fridays) so that the employees feel comfortable taking the time off too.
2. Know Your Employees
Stay in touch with your employees and know what life phase they are in. This will help determine what type of paternity leave program is appropriate for your organization. It’s also a good idea to survey employees on their interest in paternity leave to find out what type of a program would be beneficial to them.
For example, millennials (who will make up 36 percent of the workforce in 2014) place great value on companies that acknowledge the whole employee, not just the worker. When these employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to accept a new job, stay with a current job, report increased job satisfaction and miss less work once their leave is over.
3. Foster Flexibility
A cookie cutter paternity leave plan is not likely to work for all employees. Leading companies are flexible on when fathers can use their leave – it doesn’t have to be all at once and doesn’t have to be right when the child is born. Ernst & Young offers two weeks and extends the benefit to up to six weeks for fathers that are the primary caregiver. That flexibility allows families to use the leave in the way that’s most valuable and meaningful to them.
4. Know Your Industry
Paternity leave practices can vary greatly by industry. For example, companies in the tech industry, like Yahoo, are known for being on the forefront when it comes to offering generous family leave programs. In order to attract and retain top talent, it’s important to know what your competitors are offering.
5. Implement a Buddy Program
When employees take paternity leave, implement a buddy program where one of their co-workers will keep them updated on developments with the company and with clients while they are out. This will make the employee’s transition back into the workplace much smoother.
6. Take it a Step Further
Allowing employees time off at the birth or adoption of a new baby is something all employers should be doing. Leading companies are taking it a step further and offering paid time off, as many parents simply can’t take leave because they can’t afford to go weeks without pay. Some companies, like Yahoo, are going even further and offering an additional stipend to new parents to offset expenses on top of paid time off. Perhaps your company’s budget will not allow for that, so get creative and figure out a way to make your family leave programs actually work for your employees.
Times are changing, and with Duchesne’s advice outlined above, any sized company can modernize family leave policies and do a better job of retaining devoted, productive employees.
Get your team on the same page with Slite
(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) Slite is the notes taking app for teams that helps keep everyone on the same page.
When you’re working with a team, the biggest challenge is staying organized. At meetings, everyone takes their own notes and unless prompted may keep those notes all to themselves.
Without a system in place, many great ideas can be overlooked while others may not be heard at all.
This lack of communication hurts productivity across the board, making the entire team ineffective. These are just some of the problems that Slite, a new team-focused note taking app, plans to solve.
Slite is a one-stop shop for team communication. The dashboard allows all members to keep their notes in one place, collaborate on tasks, upload documents and communicate without ever leaving the app. In their words, your team will literally be on the same page.
Slite’s main focus is to create, collaborate and organize. Users can create tasks and lists with custom formatting to prioritize responsibilities. They can add an image, upload a document, and embed or attach a link to give more context to other team members.
Slite allows everyone to communicate by providing instant messaging within the app. In addition, users can tag other team members to assign and communicate about a task. Users can also choose to set alerts so that they are notified of an upcoming deadline.
The easy-to-use dashboard lets users prioritize content. Slite has also installed a search feature that will check every note across the board in order to find what you need fast. Team members can also create channels that pertain to specific projects to keep everything in the right place.
There are other note-taking apps out there, but Slite is definitely making strides to make their site one of the top choices. To gain traction, they are currently offering their services for free.
Once the new year starts, teams up to five will still be able to use Slite for free. Larger teams will have the option to choose from one of their flat pricing tiers. Teams with ten or more members will pay $8 per user per month.
Overall, it’s a low cost compared to the money and time a company can save by using Slite effectively.
Cowrkr gives you accountability while you work solo
(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) Being accountable for your own accountability is a tall order. Join Cowrkr and let someone else do it for you.
My boyfriend and I have always had a great appreciation for film and television, as well as the writing that goes into it. We always talk about different project ideas, but never get too far in execution with the busyness of real life.
Last night, I finally thought of a way that we can help each other bring our projects to completion, and that is simply by holding each other accountable. I suggest that each week we could have a new task that is due by 10 p.m. Sunday night.
We both have ideas for scripts, so the plan is to start off with having a plot synopsis and character list due the first week, having an outline due the second week, and so on. This will not only help keep us on track but will also help in terms of formatting ideas.
While I’m grateful that this little plan has come together, I know that most people aren’t working on similar projects to people they are close with. Therefore, they may need to look elsewhere for accountability.
Now freelancers and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to be matched with a fellow freelancer or entrepreneur to help hold each other accountable for their respective projects. Meet Cowrkr.
“This is an initiative to help makers keep themselves socially accountable by getting them to build publicly,” says cowrkr developers.
Users sign up and give some info regarding what project they’re working on and what they’re shipping. It works by connecting two makers at a time and cowrkr works to help each maker keep the other accountable until each project is completed.
Once a project has been completed, the makers then end their accountability relationship. When their next project comes along, they will then be assigned a different maker.
Cowrkr’s website does not give a ton of insight as to how the algorithms and matching systems work, but it is an intriguing idea for freelancers and entrepreneurs looking to take their individual projects to the next level.
The top 10 startup cities in America
(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) If you’re thinking about launching a startup anytime soon you may want to check out this list on the top 10 cities for startups.
The digital revolution is in full swing, and some cities are setting themselves up to capitalize upon these innovations by supporting startups.
In order to “better understand the U.S. cities driving the digital revolution,” several groups have come together to rank which cities are making the most of the tech startup boom.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1776, the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center, and FreeEnterprise.com have teamed up to publish a report called Innovation That Matters (ITM).
The report analyzes and ranks U.S. cities on such factors as startup capital, the connectivity of startups, startup culture, the availability of worker talent and specialization, and more. Data was taken from surveys of entrepreneurs and businesspeople, startups, and leaders in public and private sectors.
J.D. Harrison, senior director of strategic communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that the “digital revolution has the potential to make winners of some cities and leave others behind.”
The study aims to find out which cities “embrace this shift to a digital economy and actively support technology startups,” arguing that these cities “will be the best positioned to unleash the power of high-impact innovation and cultivate vibrant, thriving communities.”
The top ten ranking cities are as follows:
10) Portland, Oregon because every city needs a nickname, has been dubbed the Silicon Forest, referencing its leadership in green tech.
9) New York City, New York. The largest tech hub on the east coast.
8) Seattle, Washington. Home to Amazon.com and several other tech firms, with Microsoft’s headquarters in nearby Redmond.
7) Dallas, Texas. Dtown moved up significantly by increasing startup connectivity and tapping into a large, diverse workforce.
6) Atlanta, Georgia. The “most improved” city on the ITM list, moving up 15 places to number six due to a surge in financial, educational, and health tech industries.
5) Austin,Texas. Home of The American Genius, Austin has become a “haven for tech-savvy millennials seeking good-paying job opportunities.” Besides hosting many tech startups, Austin still has a relatively affordable cost of living.
4) San Diego, California. San Diego is full of cybersecurity, Big Data, robotics, and software startups.
3)Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Also known as Philicon Alley, moved up from number eight by deregulating and becoming more business-friendly.
2) San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay also ranked number two last year. The seaside neighbor to the Silicon Valley has been doing a great job attracting seed funding these days.
1) Boston, Massachusetts. This is the second year in a row that Boston has topped this list, due to its large number of startups and robust entrepreneur population.
How does your city rank?
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