I’m just going to say it, being a working parent is not always easy. No matter what age our kids are, the juggling act that we as full-time working moms and dads perform is not for the faint of heart. We must figure out how to coordinate and balance countless doctor appointments, dance practices, baseball games and various school functions with our work priorities. We sometimes have to be two places at once, all the while worrying how we are going to get it all done.
Life happens, which is why at Ketner Group, we do all that we can to make the surprising and wonderful world of parenthood a little bit easier for our team.
This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, as I was the first employee in the agency to go through the maternity leave process (twice), and I know first-hand what it is like to be a working parent at Ketner Group. We put a huge emphasis on being a family-first agency, making sure that all employees have a healthy work-life balance.
That’s not always the case in this country. According to Small Business Trends, 66% of full-time employees do not have a good work-life balance and 33% of Americans are working on weekends and holidays.
We have worked very hard as an agency to keep a family-friendly culture, ensuring that working parents feel supported, heard and understood. Let’s take a closer look at how.
Telling your company that your family is expecting should be a joyous occasion, not one filled with anxiety and fear.
At Ketner Group, we have always rallied behind our employees anytime there is a birth announcement. (Full transparency, we have had a total of three employees, including me, that have gone on maternity leave while working for Ketner Group.)
Ketner Group currently provides three months of paid maternity leave to employees. This is a policy that we wanted to provide, ensuring that families do not miss a paycheck during those very special three months and reinforcing our commitment to being a family-first agency.
We feel very fortunate to be able to offer this to our employees, given it is not something many small businesses are willing to do. According to a Department of Labor survey, only 12% of employees at businesses with fewer than 50 employees have access to explicit paid parental or family leave benefits and only 28% have access to paid medical leave.
During the time between the official announcement is made to the team and when an employee goes on maternity leave, we get to the business of planning for that leave. That includes making the announcement official to our clients, making adjustments to team leads and handing off any other agency tasks to other team members.
And of course, Ketner Group loves to celebrate, so we throw baby showers for the parents-to-be! The past year has not slowed us down in that department, either – we have already thrown two virtual baby showers for Amanda Reed and Kirsty Goodlett – complete with sweet treats and fun baby gifts! (For a good laugh, check out the song Jeff wrote celebrating Amanda’s baby.)
During leave, we make sure to only reach out to those employees for important updates and fun company gatherings – otherwise, we want them to enjoy their time with family.
“My kid has strep throat…again!”
Being a parent is truly a full-time job. The needs of children don’t just stop during the 9-5 workday. That is why we have created a culture of flexible work schedules for all employees, but this is a policy that is especially critical for working parents.
When my kids were younger, I felt like I lived at the pediatrician’s office! I can’t tell you how many times I had to email my team early in the morning, and a few times in the middle of the night, to let them know I wouldn’t be in because of a sick child. There were also many, many times I had to stop what I was doing during the middle of the workday to run to the daycare or elementary school to pick up a sick kid or leave work early or come in late because of a special occasion at school.
Never once, however, did I worry about how these parent errands or last-minute emergencies would affect my job. I knew I had the support of my team and would not be penalized or judged for needing to do what I needed to as a parent.
When it comes to being a parent at Ketner Group, flexibility and support is the name of the game.
During the summer months, my kids often spent time with me at the office when I didn’t have a summer camp planned or childcare available. They always enjoyed those days because it meant getting to draw for hours on the big white board or getting to have a cool “grown up” lunch with Mom! Never once did my team make me feel bad for bringing my children up to the office, they were always kind to them and made them feel welcomed.
“I got a promotion!”
Of course, the elephant in the room when it comes to being a working parent is whether planned and unplanned time away from the office will affect one’s career. In short, at Ketner Group, it doesn’t.
We believe that bringing a new life into the world and putting family first does not mean the end of someone’s long-term career goals. All of our employees are important to us and being a parent doesn’t require anyone to take two steps back.
In my time at Ketner Group, while also going through two pregnancies, maternity leaves and the countless times my children needed to come before work priorities, I continued to work hard and was promoted to account manager, director, vice president and most recently as president of the agency. Being a parent at our agency does not put a warning mark on you, and it never will.
2020 and 2021 have been tough years for all working parents, especially mothers, and we continue to do all that we can to make the transition of a being a hybrid remote/in-person company as easy on working parents as possible. There have been plenty of Zoom calls over the past year that have included our kids on the screen, whether it was planned or not!
“I can have it all!”
I’m not going to lie, being a working parent can often be a hard gig, no matter how wonderful your company is – and that is the truth!
There is the ever-present parent guilt combined with the worry that you are never doing enough at the office. But there is a silver lining! Once you get the hang of things, it is the most rewarding experience you could ever have, especially if you work for a supportive and parent-inclusive organization.
At Ketner Group, I get to have the best of both worlds, and my children get to see first-hand the aftereffects of a family and employee-first company. More importantly, they know that it is possible to have a successful career and be there for them no matter what. I am grateful for this and hope this kind of support for working parents will become the norm in the near future, rather than the exception.