HR Debatable

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Where there still is a lot of work to be done when it comes to parental leave, there seems to be such a thing as parental preference when people are back to work. Let me elaborate. The inspiration for our next topic comes from a LinkedIn post I saw from Eliza Filby. She’s a writer, speaker, and podcaster on generational evolution at work. Her post starts as follows: Is your colleagues’ yoga class as important as your nursery run? Here’s a bit of background coming from a column she wrote for City AM. A senior manager complained to Eliza about the fact that her younger staff equates her need to do nursery pickups with their desire to attend a yoga class. This is not the first time Eliza has heard about Gen Zers equating their own need for self-care with the pressures of parental responsibility. From their perspective, however (the Gen Z perspective), the rhythm of their working week is often entirely governed by her manager’s 8am school drop offs and 5 pm pickups, and the regular 6am and 8pm barrage of emails when her kids are asleep. One Gen Zer explained to Eliza that she also observes that parents evenings and sports days are diarised in stone, with the assumption that everyone else will accommodate this. What’s interesting here is that the manager, who is also a mother, embraces the hard-won workplace flexibility while the Gen Z junior sees that same workplace as inflexible and challenging. This perspective is shared by older colleagues - childfree women in particular. 43% of Gen X graduate women who do not have children made their way in a workplace environment where the key women’s issue was, justifiably, integrating motherhood in the workplace but this was also something that they themselves never benefited from. So, perhaps our Gen Z employee is playing an important role in highlighting the dominance of parental policies when it comes to offering flexibility and support. Perhaps all they want is a little more empathy for their own situation or choices. An interesting thought to entertain and one that makes for an interesting statement: Parental Preference Is Real: Nursery Runs Are More Important than Yoga Classes.