How Smart Companies Keep Employees-Turned-Parents Productive

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Savvy employers help new parents navigate the challenges they bring to the workplace -- and everyone benefits.

Menaka Shroff is living proof that you can be both a rock star professional and a rock star parent.

The 38-year-old head of marketing at BetterWorks, a Palo Alto, California, software firm and mother to a 5-year-old boy said the secret to making the work-life balance a reality is to join a company that has managers and co-workers who embrace the flexibility needed to excel in both areas.

“That is the culture you see here,” she said. “A lot of us have kids, and we understand and embrace that part of our lives. That means I’m going to respect their time and they will respect mine. It’s a very transparent culture.”

A key component is the openness among colleagues. At BetterWorks, that involves a centralized calendar of obligations and frank discussions. The entire team is involved in the process of ensuring that quality remains high and deadlines are met without anyone sacrificing personal obligations. That approach is revolutionary when you consider this: A recent survey of more than 1,000 full-time workers found that 33 percent aren’t comfortable taking vacation or personal days, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Of course not everyone has the luxury of implementing or working in a place with such next-generation thinking for parents. To jumpstart similar thinking, Money Talks News asked those at such forward-thinking companies some of the ways they established that culture.

Explain expectations

Managers at her firm ensure that the soon-to-be parent has a plan in place that outlines how work goals will be met in his or her absence and how they will transition back into work, said Shroff. “We set goals and create a plan [for soon-to-be-mothers or fathers] so while they are out, they understand what will be done and what will be expected when they return. That literally is their plan, and it’s a key part of the process. Executing the development of the plan makes the parent understand they are still part of our team and it allows them to own the strategy. And we involve everyone in that process. It makes the individual members of the team closer too.”

Offer extra support

Sure, paid leave is fantastic but Shazi Visram, CEO of the HappyFamily organic food company, said it’s key for new parents to feel welcomed back to the company so they can thrive. “Business owners want to be competitive, but we need to be respectful of our employees’ private lives. … It’s really good business to support new parents.” Some ways HappyFamily does this is to provide places where new moms can pump, constantly update and make available a list of emergency child care options, and provide a nursery where kids can rest or play while mom and dad work. “If we have a conference call and someone is pumping, that is completely fine,” said Visram, who also has a 5-year-old son. “It’s not only acceptable but it’s efficient and gives the mom a sense of accomplishment and inclusion.”

Guard against stigma

Those that work at Birchbox, a New York-based online beauty products subscription service, knows that the company’s open and flexible leave policy is not just lip service. David Kaplowitz, the company’s chief of staff, took four weeks off when his daughter was born in November 2014 and used four more weeks of paid leave so he could alternate child care duties with his wife. That allowed him to spend needed time with his daughter and complete his work late at night or other times that worked well for him.

“Having that flexibility and not feeling a stigma about using it really benefits the company,” he said. “There are a lot of books and articles about what motivates people at work. At Birchbox we know our needs and goals outside of work are valued [by the founders]. They empower us to do our work when and how it makes the most sense. That has created an unbelievable loyalty we feel toward the company. … Knowing my employer cares so much about me makes me more committed to bringing value to them.”

Remember that business is business

Adrienne Penake, the mother of a 5-year-old and a toddler, was promoted to CEO of Speech Buddies, a San Francisco company that supports childhood speech and language development, shortly after returning from maternity leave. Although her company offers flexibility and support to all employees, she cautions that managers must understand that lines must occasionally be drawn. “I think it’s vital for company leaders to respect work-life balance,” she said. “I am very clear when I’m working and when I’m ‘dark’ and encourage everyone else to communicate that, too. … But occasionally a team member may take advantage of the company’s flexibility, and I have little tolerance for that. We have to foster a culture of mutual respect, and if that breaks down, that’s when you need to make hard calls.”

What is your experience with maternity/paternity leave and related policies? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 7 Ways to Build Willpower That Creates Success

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,978 more deals!