Download our Maternity Playbook PDF below!
A few weeks ago, on May 26th, we hosted a small event to launch the Maternity Playbook amongst senior leadership within the Northern media scene.
Held at Grand Pacific and hosted by Bloom North President Sadie Teasdale, the lunch was a great opportunity to get this important piece of guidance in front of those who have the power to implement it within their organisations.
The event kicked off with a presentation from Zara Gregory, which focused on the simple ways in which organisations can improve the pre, during and post maternity experience for expectant parents. After lunch, a short Q&A session also explored the experiences of Hannah Campbell, Rachel McDonald and Ewan Douglas within their careers and organisations.
We’ve shared three key highlights per stage below…
Positive pre-mat leave experiences directly correlate to positive post-return (those who have good experiences stay in businesses for an average of 3 years, those with negative tend to leave after 6 months)
Important to review performance before leaving – but this be purely positive, so focusing on key strengths to build confidence before they go off
All maternity info should be freely available and shared with the whole team – not just when they’re in that situation
During mat leave
KIT days tend to drop off for second time mums, usually because of lack of encouragement from companies and/or childcare access
Proactive communication from the company was positively regarded – such as updating on big news via text, or inviting to social events with no obligation to go
Lack of flexibility and development opportunities are the two highest reasons women either don’t return or leave – so companies should be proactive in sharing what these might be and how they can support before women return
Post mat leave
Having the first two weeks planned out with social events like coffee/lunch can help make someone feel less daunted and welcomed back into the team
Putting proper handovers in place is important (lots of companies of those surveyed don’t even properly ‘hand back’ clients)
Where new working pattern is agreed, important to ensure the workload is reflective of this (i.e. four day’s worth of work if doing a four day week)
Hearing the difference experiences from Ewan, Hannah and Rachel was a great opportunity to hear how experiences can be
Here’s three interesting insights we took from the session:
Rachel was promoted twice whilst on maternity leave and had some really positive learnings from the experience. Her biggest piece of advice was to lean into your confidence when going on maternity leave - and being explicit about what you would like when you return to make for open and honest conversations.
Hannah spoke about how she told future employees about her family plans whilst searching for new roles. She felt it was important to move to an environment where they were not only supportive of her during maternity, but would ensure she came back to a challenging and interesting role afterwards. Her biggest learning was that being transparent about her plans was a positive move, and meant she went onto maternity leave with a really positive outlook about returning.
Ewan shared much of the positive initiatives and changes that have been made to policy at Channel4 - creating more diversity and inclusion across the board. Ewan also expressed how it was important for men in the workplace to do more - being vocal and not feeling afraid to act on their roles as fathers when their family needs them.