Fifth Third Bank has 18 thousand employees, approximately 60% of who are females, for which reason a maternity leave policy is of a special importance to the bank administration. Along with that, the bank has the object of promoting women to leadership positions, which apparently collides with maternity leaves, as they prevent employees from concentrating on work. In order to minimize the controversy, the bank has established a position of a maternity concierge, who is expected to assist both expectant and new mothers, hence save their time and energy. This has proved to be successful; furthermore, the employees report on trustworthy relationships with the concierge. This is actually not the only relatively easy and cheap way for a business to support its employees in family planning as it should.
Involving Companies in Family Matters
The question whether or not companies should be involved in family matters would doubtlessly require a negative answer if it was purely regarded through the lens of ethics. In fact, it also needs analyzing from the economic viewpoint, as maternity leaves are to be integrated in the financial turnover of a business. Another essential point is delegating the employee’s tasks while they cannot return to work. Therefore, the particular staff member, the colleagues, and the company should collaborate, so that none of them is discriminated in any way.
The solution offered in the case under the review is apparently among appropriate ones. First, the new mothers as well as expectants spend considerably less time on resolving maternity-related organizational issues, which allows for a minimal, if any, loss of work productivity. Second, the participants of the program see the maternity concierge as a trustworthy person and evaluate the help they receive, which favors a friendly atmosphere at the workplace. Finally, a combination of a focus on work and a friendly environment improves the prospects of a career promotion, hence increases the amount of women on the leadership positions.
In addition, the services of such a kind as the described one would not only be attractive to female staff members, but also males. Fathers, similarly to mothers, would be partly relieved from the parenthood-related daily routine and have a chance to devote more time to work. This becomes especially important, considering the newly introduced maternity bonding leave for both mothers and fathers. Also, male employees who have small children could consult the concierge in order to learn more about organizational issues that may have remained beyond their attention.
Offers and Constraints
Such a major process as maternity planning needs the maximum of attention and thoroughness, for which reason companies should offer different types of support to their employees. The primary point is that it is reasonable to not purely provide a maternity leave, but a paternity one as well in order to avoid gender-based discrimination at employment. Second, according to Brudner (2018), it is essential to simplify the process of arranging the leave, so that the expectant parent is free from the burden of bureaucracy. This task could be delegated to a maternity concierge as well, which would apparently require an increment to their salary.
In addition, a parent-friendly workplace should doubtlessly have so-called mother’s rooms where a new mother could breastfeed. Brudner (2018) highlights how “isolating and stigmatizing” it feels to be bound to feed, for instance, in a bathroom. Furthermore, bottle feeding requires privacy as well, so that it is possible to watch the process, for which reason the initiative could attract fathers in addition to mothers. Organizing such rooms would not require big investments, as there is no need for any expensive equipment. However, it may be challenging in case the amount of rooms is limited, which is typical of small offices.
Finally, a company where maternity leaves are routine could favor sharing parental experience among the employees in order to minimize the time they devote to searching information. Thus, it would be relevant to develop a corporate messenger where new parents could ask questions on baby care online and receive answers from their more skillful coworkers. This would allow for a faster and closer interaction among numerous fellow parents, hence contribute to maintaining a friendly atmosphere at the workplace. Developing and servicing the software would doubtlessly require additional costs, but the expenditures would be compensated by saving employees’ time and energy for work. This is, actually, applicable to the previous recommendations as well: the investments needed are relatively small and potentially outweighed by the increased work productivity.
The initiative, which the case study under the review describes, is doubtlessly a useful one. Notably, it enables revealing employees from resolving organizational issues that emerge from their parenthood and providing them with additional time for work. Other possible ways for a company to support employees’ parenthood planning include a simplification of arranging a maternity leave, organizing rooms for breastfeeding, and developing a platform for sharing experience quickly. Although the innovations of that kind require some finance, the growth of work productivity may compensate for the spending.
Brunder, E. (2018). 6 ways companies can support pregnant employees. Careers Blog. Web.