Guidant Global talks about how it mobilised its staff to help working parents when schools were closed and how that brought employees closer together.
With their children having now returned to face to face schooling, many working parents have breathed a sigh of relief. Many businesses have seen their staff struggle to balance work and home life during the pandemic, but throw home-schooling into the mix and it was an especially tough start to the year for working mums and dads.
And while many employers took a more flexible approach to working hours to help support struggling parents over the first two months of 2021, one employer felt they needed to go the extra mile. At the beginning of the year, the senior management and people services teams at recruitment outsourcing specialist Guidant Global came together to discuss how else they could support their staff and give them a break during these difficult times. Here they outline the innovative approach they took.
Not only did Guidant Global allow working parents flexibility over their hours, but it came up with an innovative scheme to help working parents and give its employees generally the chance to engage in a new project – Impellam Superstars.
Through this scheme, Guidant Global reached out to the entire Impellam Group (which the company is part of) to create a network of ‘teachers’ – employees with a range of experience who were willing to give up an hour of their time to run a lesson with a group of similar-aged children to give parents a break each week.
Once a list of class groups and potential teachers was ready, a full teaching schedule was developed to give every child access to four sessions a week. These sessions ranged from PE, languages and creative writing to more entertaining sessions such as treasure hunts, Disney quizzes and even a game of ‘Simon Says’, run by CEO Simon Blockley. To date, the programme has seen around 70 children access a variety of sessions.
The feedback throughout the scheme has been highly positive. It gave parents the chance for a few well-deserved breaks and the teachers and children benefited too. Those who have been involved in supporting working parents across the business have had the opportunity to do something out of the ordinary while also giving back to their peers. For the kids, it’s been a much-needed chance for the wider social interactions that they have been missing throughout the lockdown (albeit virtually).
Parents – and their kids – have really enjoyed the initiative. Here are some of the comments:
“The Impellam Superstars initiative has been brilliant fun for my daughter – and me too! The Zoom sessions have slotted in really well around home schooling and still allow me to carry on with my work too. They have really helped to break up the day and give my daughter something to look forward to; phonics and maths home lessons just aren’t exciting when Mum or Dad try to teach them! She’s joined in with a virtual treasure hunt, made a monster out of Play-Doh and learned all about verbs and adjectives whilst helping to re-write a quirky version of Cinderella. Impellam
employees have come up with some brilliantly creative ‘lessons’ to teach and we really look forward to joining them each day.” – Steph & Chloe (aged 4 ¾)
“I am sure many of you can understand the hardship of home schooling and working, but my company has really gone out of its way to help working parents! The Impellam Superstars programme is amazing. The children are put in to suitable age groups and allocated weekly classes doing activities such as quizzes, language lessons and imaginative writing tasks. This has made such a difference and my 11 year old loves it. I feel proud to work for such a great company, that goes out of its way to support its staff during these challenging times.” – Jodie Osterley
“I was nervous at first, but I have now met my group who are all nice and a similar age to me. I have attended quizzes, created stories and everyone is so friendly and kind. My mum likes it too as it keeps me off my computer playing games.” – Sasha aged 11
“Both my eight year old and my five year old have joined in with the sessions and have found them really engaging and fun! They both come off the session looking forward to the next! Such a fantastic offering to help entertain our little ones during these hard times – and a chance to meet new faces!” – Ali Worsfold
“Impellam Superstars has been fantastic. For us it is almost three hours a week where Millie can take part in something fun, learn something new and I can crack on with work without feeling guilty. I think she would like to attend Impellam Superstars full time!” – Lauren Sewell
“I have to say as a parent I have certainly seen the benefit of signing my son onto this. He gets super excited about it, especially when he won the Amazon voucher which was totally unexpected. I have seen his confidence increase, especially after the first session – he feels he is part of a special club and it’s learning with fun. Thank you for taking the time out to do this. It has definitely been worthwhile.” – Arti Gohil
For Nicky Hale, Global Head of Talent Engagement at Guidant Global, the initiative links to the company’s people first approach and its emphasis on staff well-being.
She said: “With children now back to school, the organisation will continue to adapt the support it offers its working parents as the pandemic continues to change the world of work – and the team certainly hope that other employers take the same approach for the benefit of their talented staff.”