Just last week the BBC revealed that more and more women in the UK are setting up their own businesses. It’s no surprise when you consider how technology and enterprise have enabled flexible working – an attractive solution for a work-life balance.
Many of these businesses are young start-ups with the spirit, passion and drive to succeed. And many are ‘Parentpreneurs’. The term reflects the growing workforce of enterprising Mums, and Dads who chose to work for themselves after having children. In fact, ‘Mumpreneurs’ alone are a growing talent in British industry, contributing more than £7bn to our economy and £9.5bn by 2025.
But are corporations losing out by neglecting this important workforce, and what more can be done to retain good staff?
Lets talk about diversity
Diversity is a buzz word too easily thrown about for ‘box ticking’ purposes. But what does it really mean?
Diversity is about embracing employees of all backgrounds in a positive way. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, diversity in the workplace is; “An important aspect of good people management. It’s about valuing everyone in the organisation as an individual.”
Of course, diversity can take many forms – ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and even parental status. Some traits are visible, others are not. Regardless, a company that embraces diversity is a forward-thinking one. It also makes good business sense. A happy workforce, a diverse workforce and a varied workforce is a motivated one.
Working Mums and Dads are an important part of this mix. Being a parent forces you to think differently, to care about the world a little bit more, to see things from a holistic perspective, and to maybe think of others in a way you might not have before. Not of course forgetting the knowledge and experience they bring.
Mums can be the hardest hit, since understandably many don’t want to return full time with small kids, yet part-time work is not always an available option. It is no surprise therefore, that there’s more men in work than women.
Inclusion for all?
With diversity comes inclusion – the art of treating colleagues with respect and making them feel valued.
Art is an important word, because it’s a skill, a concerted effort. It may materialise in offering personalised training courses, or offering wellbeing opportunities for colleagues. It could also be the simple act of creating part-time or flexible roles for parents returning to work. These are individuals that have chosen to return to work after a life-changing event. That alone is a huge commitment.
If inclusion is about making your workforce feel valued for their contribution, then it’s important to provide an environment where they can flourish.
Reaping the benefits
There are many reasons for a business to embrace diversity and inclusion, such as:
- Access to a varied and diverse workforce – this is important for growth and development
- Higher employee engagement and morale
- Lower labour turn-over (and recruitment costs)
- Good people management practice
- Creates colleague and customer loyalty
- Positive company reputation
- Supports and nurtures the part-time industry, holding on to valuable talent
- Brings together young and older workforces to share knowledge
- On a business level, it’s important to demonstrate a diverse workforce to investors and shareholders
Bradley Porter from SaneChoice, said:
“We are a business that serves small businesses, dealing with enterprising people all the time. I’m always struck by their collaborative approach to work, embracing diversity and inclusion as an important part of their business strategy. It’s a real strength, and modern outlook that all corporates should be paying more attention to.”
It’s often said that people don’t leave their jobs – they leave their bosses. If this is true, then more attention needs to be paid to the wellbeing and engagement of colleagues, specifically those returning to work after having children.