How To Talk To Your Employees About Family Leave

Maternity leave policies are rapidly evolving as more and more companies institute paid leave, expand their policies to include paternity leave, and generally offer more flexibility. While improving family leave policies is hugely important to support your employees and their families, it is equally important to communicate these benefits in a supportive and effective manner.

Be sensitive

Employees may be nervous about sharing that they are expecting, for fear of the effect it will have on their careers. Pregnant employees and their partners are already hyper-aware of the workload shift that will be necessary when they take maternity/paternity leave, so be supportive and constructive when conducting family leave discussions. This principle also extends to casual conversation in the workplace. If there’s a negative perception of leave in your organization, address it. See what you can do to improve attitudes toward leave and coworkers who take leave. Creating a supportive atmosphere will foster loyalty within and for your organization.

Be proactive

The earlier your employees know about your family leave policies, the better. If your employee learns that you offer paid maternity leave and comprehensive maternity benefits before she starts a family, it gives her incentive to work your organization into her long-term family and career goals. You’re showing your employees early that you support their families and are supportive of starting families. Be proud of the benefits you offer your parents and soon-to-be parents — make sure they know about them! Hang posters in common spaces, host benefits fairs, send emails, and make sure your employees know how to speak to HR if they have questions.

Be modern

The world is digitizing. Women are tracking their pregnancies through mobile apps and parents are using baby monitors with full Bluetooth and video capabilities. Once you’ve updated your family leave and benefits to modern and competitive standards, make sure you’re sharing them in a modern way. Phone calls and snail mail are fine, but include emails and mobile-friendly options as well. If your methods to communicate your policies and benefits are out of date, your employees may assume your offerings are out of date as well. Your employees are more likely to engage and opt in if you cater to their communication style.

Be advocates

Train your managers thoroughly to make sure they are disseminating your message accurately and appropriately. Provide all the assets, materials, links and information that your managers will need to share with their teams. Your employees’ managers are very likely the first people who know about pregnancies within your organization. Ensure that they’re prepared and comfortable having these important conversations so that your employees feel supported when starting a family at your organization.

To learn more about how to provide your employees with innovative and supportive benefits, visit Ovia Health.