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'Peak Fatherhood' and Its Impact on the Workplace

Posted by Patrick Ball on 22 Jul 2015

How modern dads are impacting the workplace

Dads, as we’ve said before, are so hot right now.

From big brands targeting dads as consumers to executive dads getting props for taking time off for families, like TOMS Founder and “Chief Shoe Giver” Blake Mycoskie, who recently granted new parents paid parental leave and taking 12 weeks of paternity leave himself.

But how are evolving views on fatherhood and work-life integration influencing their worlds at work and home?

Care.com tackled that topic in an a webinar featuring an interactive discussion with Fatherly Co-Founder Simon Isaacs, Chartbeat VP of Engineering Nathan Potter, BC Center of Work and Family Executive Director Brad Harrington and Scott Behson, author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and Home

Missed the webinar? Read on for a few highlights, and be sure to check out the recording.

Approaching ‘Peak Fatherhood’

Mommy bloggers are ubiquitous across the Internet, but the World Wide Web long been a wasteland void of content geared toward dads. No more. Sites like Fatherly have emerged to provide parenting advice, product curation and other smart content geared toward today’s modern dads.

“We’re reaching peak fatherhood,” says Fatherly Co-Founder Simon Isaacs, explaining that brands are tapping into the purchasing power of modern dads, who are taking on a bigger share of diaper changing and grocery shopping responsibilities than generations past.

Isaacs and fellow panelist Brad Harrington, the lead author of BC’s acclaimed The New Dad series, noted the rise of the modern dad – men who are engaged in parental decision-making and caretaking – has coincided with increasing educational and professional achievements of women.

“It’s both a want and a need,” says Harrington, noting young men today are marrying women with equal and often better educational and career prospects than they have. This has begun a shift toward more equal sharing of responsibilities at work and home – although we’re not there yet.

“We’re not at the point where we’ve reached this Utopian ideal of gender equality, either at work or at home,” he said.

Impact on the Workplace

From flexibility to paid paternity leave to senior leadership, working dads are impacting employers in many ways.

Notably, companies in competitive industries like tech, finance, higher ed and professional services leverage paid paternity leave and family-friendly employee benefits as a competitive advantage to attract and retain today’s best talent.

Nathan Potter has seen it firsthand at Chartbeat, a data analytics company he joined when it was a 12-employee startup. But it’s not enough to simply offer parental leave and flexible work arrangements; managers and business leaders must encourage and enable employees to use the supports available to them, Potter says.

Another, less obvious way modern dads and evolving views on work-life are shaping the workplace is through their career planning.

Scott Behson, who runs the “Fathers, Work and Family” blog, noted a study that found millennials’ number one hesitation about pursuing leadership roles is the impact those roles would have on their future family life.

Behson also noted that many employees feel it’s not safe to “come out” as involved parents, due to concerns that they’ll be perceived as less committed or because of gender stereotypes still held by upper management.

Supporting the Modern Dads in Your Workforce

Each of the panelists offered insights about how employers can support modern dads in the workplace without busting their bottom lines. 

  • Start the Conversation: Parent groups shouldn’t be just for moms. Getting dads involved in affinity groups, mentor programs and conversations around parental leave and work-life balance can ease the stress of the transition to parenthood.
  • Culture Can Help: Supporting working parents isn’t just a competitive advantage, it’s the right thing to do. When these programs are a part of a deeply rooted culture that’s part of how a company defines itself, then it’s easier for employees to feel empowered to be involved working parents.
  • Recalibrate Performance Evaluations: Time in the office, time on task are antiquated performance evaluation measures that don’t reflect the way we work today. “That we’re still in the Dark Ages as far as performance evaluation is really holding us back,” says Behson, who recommends results and metrics-based evaluations.
  • Celebrate Dads Doing It Right: Find engaged fathers within or outside of your company that you can point to as examples or mentors for the modern dads or fathers-to-be within your workforce. Navigating the challenges of career and family is a challenge, so having role models can be important in terms of finding success at work and home.

For more on modern dads and their impact on the workplace, click the video below to watch a recording of the webinar. 

 

 

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