Why It’s Time to Make Your Company’s Breastfeeding Policies Public Knowledge
By Kate Torgersen on July 13, 2018
So here you are, feeling like you’ve got this whole pumping-at-work thing under control. You’ve researched and adhered to the most recent pumping and breastfeeding workplace requirements. You’ve created a breastfeeding policy that lives in that giant binder of policies and procedures on your desk (and your hard drive). You’ve updated the company’s Intranet, so that a digital copy of the policy can be easily obtained by any employee who looks for it. And you may even have signage posted in designated spaces where breastfeeding employees pump.
You’ve got this!
Except… perhaps simply meeting the requirements isn’t enough anymore.
Perhaps your employees need (and deserve) more.
What if doing more and bragging about it, could actually help you recruit new talent?
Everyone Should Respect the Company’s Breastfeeding Policy
One of the best ways to ensure employees respect (and even celebrate) your company’s policy on breastfeeding is to shine a light on that policy.
Start by creating a “Parents” section on your company Intranet and within your internal newsletter. Provide updates on various benefits that your organization provides, as well as detailed and accessible information on your company breastfeeding policy.
If you do the math, you’ll probably realize that a decent percentage of the employees within your organization are either already parents, or will become parents in the not-so-distant future. Humanizing your organization with a “Parents/Family” section allows you to quickly and easily dispense information your parenting employees will find most relevant. This could include information about company-wide family events, family-friendly policies your employees might not have known about previously, and even “parent spotlight” features that highlight work-life balance tips and tricks directly from employees who are parents. Make sure to highlight moms and dads at all levels of the organization.
This simple change can do wonders for employee morale and loyalty by reminding them they work for a company that actually cares. It also helps you to establish a family-friendly culture.
Of course, the added bonus is that it keeps the company’s breastfeeding policy at work easily accessible and top of mind – something you should be especially eager to do if you have a policy that goes above and beyond the legal requirements.
The Breastfeeding Policy Should Be Championed by Both Human Resource and Company Executives
In an ideal work environment, breastfeeding would be normalized in the workplace. But, unfortunately, for many breastfeeding is considered a taboo topic. This creates a difficult environment for working women who are breastfeeding as they try to negotiate pumping during a busy workday, or even securing private places to pump in the office. The HR team and the company’s top brass, need to be educated on your company’s breastfeeding policy and understand the impact the policy has for employees who are breastfeeding.
If there is confusion about the policy, it will be HR who ends up fielding employees’.
Let’s say you have two employees who typically work closely together. Perhaps one has recently returned from maternity leave and has added scheduled breaks for pumping into her calendar. What would you do if the other, frustrated by her coworker’s frequent breaks, began to schedule meetings during those times?
First, it’s important to know that it is not the breastfeeding employee’s job to educate her co-worker on why she can’t attend meetings during her scheduled pumping breaks. She has enough on her plate, maintaining her job duties and being the sole source of nutrition for a tiny human.
This is when a company supervisor should feel comfortable stepping in to explain the company’s policy to support breastfeeding employees. If you have company supervisors who are not comfortable educating team members about the company’s breastfeeding at work policy, then you may need to consider organizing some trainings to get everyone on the same page.
The more it is discussed, the more breastfeeding becomes normalized. (And don’t even get us started on why it shouldn’t be taboo in the first place!)
Publicizing Your Company’s Pumping at Work Policy is Great for Business
There is a generational shift taking place in the workplace. As Millennials move into leadership roles, they are pushing for greater work-life balance and flexibility within the workplace. At the same time, Millennials are starting to settle down – buying homes and starting families.
As competition for talent intensifies, savvy companies are taking notice of these trends and adopting policies that offer a competitive advantage in the recruiting and retention of the Millennial workforce. It makes sense that family-friendly benefits, including an amazing pumping policy, are in-demand with today’s talent pool.
We’ll tell you one thing we know for sure—word of mouth is fast with moms. We hear from breastfeeding employees all the time, and they are quick to brag about their companies when there is an amazing pumping policy in place. But, they’re even quicker to complain when the entire process is harder than it should be. And, you had better believe your employees are talking to prospective applicants about their experience within your organization. What do you want them to be saying?
You don’t have to rely on your employees to sing your praises. If your company provides clean and comfortable lactation rooms, hospital grade pumps and a flexible work schedule for employees who are breastfeeding during the first year of their baby’s life, you should be sharing that information. And, if you offer Milk Stork as a benefit for breastfeeding employees who are traveling, you should shout it from the rooftops.
It is a competitive environment for talent and the companies with the best cultures and work-life balance are the ones that are winning the race in the marketplace.
But, don’t just take our word for it – we’d love to hear from you, too.
Have you implemented an amazing policy at work for your breastfeeding employees that goes above and beyond? What impact has it had with employees?
Are you having a tough time evolving your company’s current policy or aren’t sure where to start? Please let the Milk Stork team know how we can support you.
We are here to help in any way we can.