Talent Published Date, 2022

Balancing Breadwinning And Caregiving: How Your Nonprofit Can Support The Working Parents On Your Team

Created By: Patrice Martin and Shaby T. Rosales
September 1, 2022

With the back-to-school season upon us, your colleagues who are also parents may be facing the often daunting challenge of balancing the needs and schedules of their school-aged children with their ever-present workplace duties

Your team’s working parents might be feeling overwhelmed—and some may be sensing a lack of support or understanding from their employers. Parents, especially single parents, can represent another potentially marginalized group that needs additional support to ensure equity in the workplace. A truly inclusive work environment is responsive to the unique experiences of people with different identities and responsibilities, including parents.

Establishing a family-friendly work culture will not only help make sure your parent-employees feel supported and happy, but it can also help attract and retain highly skilled working parents. More organizations are realizing that maintaining a productive workforce means appreciating that breadwinning and caregiving will always be intertwined and connected.

Here are five steps your nonprofit can take to show working parents you care about fostering a workplace that values both.

  1. Communication - Clear communication is pivotal to supporting your employees during this back-to-school period. Your human resources team should schedule time with each employee to talk through any concerns they may have about balancing their job duties with their children returning to school. 
  2. Be empathetic - As COVID-19 continues to spread, employees who have children will still experience unpredictable changes in schedules and exposure scares. This uncertainty can take a toll on their well-being and mental health. Managers should respond with empathy and understanding when working parents ask for schedule changes or last-minute requests. 
  3. Provide benefits and resources - Consider offering benefits that support your team members who are parents like employer-provided backup childcare in emergency situations. These programs are proven to decrease absenteeism and boost productivity among working parents.
  4. Support from colleagues - Communicating and building relationships with other parents at your organization who are experiencing similar challenges can be extremely beneficial. Your nonprofit can facilitate these connections by encouraging these employees to join their Employee Resource Group. The ERG will help team members share resources, tips, and support one another. 
  5. Family-friendly workplace events - After-work dinner or drinks are a part of most workplaces, but working parents also value a healthy work-life balance. Intentionally planning family-friendly workplace events is a great way to create an inclusive workplace for parents. Welcome kids, partners, and family members to annual picnics or holiday parties, and give workers the freedom to attend their families’ activities, when requested.

Being a working parent has its own very specific challenges, and these challenges become more intense during the back-to-school season. With last-minute schedule changes and a growing list of to-dos, your nonprofit should provide appropriate flexibility to meet their needs and competing priorities. By communicating clearly, showing empathy, being flexible, and providing resources for working parents, your nonprofit will increase employee happiness, productivity, and retention.

“Seek out assistance or support from your employer if you need it. As a working mom, I’m grateful to my employer for taking the necessary steps to understand my situation and ensuring that I have the support I need.” - Patrice Martin, Senior Associate Director, Talent

Related Resources