Becoming a working parent may be more difficult than you had ever imagined. Whether you have just had a baby or have decided to get back into employment after years of being a stay-at-home parent, you may be worried about whether you’ll be welcomed with open arms back into the workplace. Will the organisation allow you to balance personal commitments and a professional role? You can gain a clearer understanding as to whether the company is supportive of working parents with the following:
Browse the company website
By browsing the company website, you can often get a feel for the company culture and morals. In the ‘About’ section, it will often describe the background of the company, as well as its attitudes towards certain life aspects. You should be looking out for phrases such as allowing employees to achieve a ‘work-life balance’ and if they offer support for working parents so that employees with children can live a fuller and more well-rounded lifestyle.
Talk to current or past employees
One of the best ways to gain insight into what it’s really like to work at a company is to chat with current or past employees. They are likely to give you a true insight into how a company treats working parents as opposed to finding out the hard way once you have been hired. You may already have contacts who work at the company, or you could even communicate with employees on professional sites such as LinkedIn.
Some questions to ask include:
· How does the employer respond when you inform them that your child is sick?
· Is there scope for flexible working?
· Are mothers and fathers treated differently?
Make your own observations
If you’re lucky enough to be called to interview, you may be able to form your own opinion as to whether you believe the employer understands family life and will, therefore, support you as a working parent. This may be as simple as spotting family photos on the desk or asking you about your family life as a friendly chat. This can help put your mind at ease, by proving that the employer has a more human side which can be beneficial in other aspects. These seemingly insignificant factors may benefit you in the long run.
If you feel you haven’t got the answers you’ve been looking for, there’s nothing wrong with asking questions directly. It may seem awkward, but you must know what is expected of you to prevent facing unnecessary pressure later down the line.
By ensuring you’re aware of the employer’s stance on the working parent, you should feel much more comfortable in the workplace and potentially have greater job satisfaction. By taking on research about the company before you get the job offer, it will help narrow down your job search and help you find the most suitable position for you to fit around your personal commitments.