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Several businesses now offer maternity coaching. Some offer coaching or workshops for dads. KPMG has gone one step further and recently launched Parent Power, a coaching programme which brings together support for mums and dads as well as webinar training for their managers in how to support them.
The programme, tailored to KPMG’s needs by My Family Care, has been in development since late 2014 and offers group coaching for parents and one to one coaching for senior staff as well as training for managers. It has the backing of senior leadership, with one of the senior sponsors being the head of corporate affairs.
“Like many businesses we tend to see women leaving for a variety of reasons after maternity leave, especially after the second child,” says Kulbir Shergill, Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant. “For us retaining our top talent is essential. For this reason it is a priority to put in place something that will help women be able to step back into the workplace and pick up their career where they left it off before they went on maternity leave. We also wanted to recognise the cultural change that is happening around how dads see their role. It’s not just about the legislation around shared parental leave. The younger generation of men want something different from their parents’ generation. It’s about how we support family relationships.”
Parent Power was launched in April and sessions have already been held for returning mums and dads as well as webinars for those on maternity and paternity leave. There are different sessions for those on shorter leave and those on longer term leave and sessions for managers. Kulbir says: “Giving individuals who are returning support is not enough. It’s also about the culture they come back to. Line managers are critical but so are other members of the team. Together they make the culture. Managers may not have experienced a team member going on maternity leave. It’s a new learning experience for them. It’s important how they make the person feel, whether they make them feel valued.” My Family Care provides toolkits and online resources to help them.
Kulbir says that to really see the impact of the programme on the retention of parents and their career progression will take a minimum of 18 months to two years. The programme will be reviewed in six months to see if any adjustments need to be made. Kulbir says she wants to create links between the programme and KPMG’s parents network, such as buddying or mentoring so parents can share their experiences as their children get older.