“Parents Got More Time Off. Then the Backlash Started.”
2 Key Points Your Association Should Consider when Making Internal Policy Changes.
In a recent New York Times article, Parents Got More Time Off. Then the Backlash Started, it was discussed how tech companies have created a rift between parents who were offered more benefits than the workers who do not have children. During the pandemic many companies have implemented policies to assist those that have children learning at home. These policies include extended work from home and additional PTO. While these policies have been well received for the most part, it has created a divide and made those that don’t have children feel left out. So, do they have a point?
DEI policies are not just about how many individuals from each ethnic group you have on the payroll. These policies have evolved into ensuring inclusivity and equity for all those that are a part of your organization, which brings us back to the story above. There is no doubt that the companies that have implemented these child friendly policies had good intentions in mind when they were initiated. However, they strayed from the main objective and definition of inclusivity and equality in the workplace. Most HR departments tend to focus on making sure that LGBT, women and minorities feel represented, included, and comfortable in their work environment. It’s easy to forget that inclusivity and equality spans the full spectrum. People feel left out when they are not included. This is the exact reason DEI policies were initiated in the first place; to avoid those types of scenarios. Yet, here we find ourselves with some of the biggest employers in the country forgetting about the basics of what Diversity, Equity and Inclusion really means. Those that don’t have children argue that they have other struggles that need their attention and time, but they have not been given additional consideration.
So, how can your association avoid making policy changes that have the potential to divide your staff? Consider these 2 Key Points:
- Build a DEI policy and let it be your roadmap when faced with these situations:
Whether you are augmenting your PTO policy, your dress code or any other policy your organization has in place, it’s crucial to refer back to your DEI policy and consider how it impacts all of the individuals at your organization. We recommend having a committee with a diverse group of individuals from your organization to run policy changes by before announcing. In the scenario above, those that did not have children could have expressed their opinions and illustrated how others in their shoes would feel about the policy change.
- Data Doesn’t Lie:
If you truly want to be fair and equal, then you should always fall back to the data. A set number of PTO days based on a standard set of credentials for all employees will create the least amount of dissent. When you introduce ambiguous items like if you have children or if you are married, an equal plan is not created. This is not to say that making flexible changes based on unusual circumstances is not good policy. However, changes must be viewed through a wide lens that covers all stakeholders. The only way to be sure your management team is offering a fair structure, that you can illustrate to your employees, is by measuring it. Facts are facts and you can point to this at all times. At Dynamic Benchmarking, we encourage our clients to measure their DEI policies at least annually to ensure their practices are fair and so they can illustrate that in scenarios where needed.
So, do the employees without kids have a point? Let’s leave that to personal opinion. However, if you simply look at the facts, the employee getting 30 PTO days compared to the employees with the same credentials who have children getting 40 PTO days, the data doesn’t tell an equal story.