Many medical sales reps have another important full-time job — being fathers. Over the last decade, maternity leave has evolved into parental leave, allowing fathers to also take advantage of bonding time with their growing families.
While time off is important, it isn’t the only support working dads need. Unfortunately, about four-in-ten working fathers say they’ve needed to reduce their work hours and 43% say they couldn’t give 100% at work, according to a September 2019 PEW research report.
Working fathers struggle with the same issues working moms face. As a result, they need focused support in the workplace to help them overcome those challenges and become the best employees and fathers they can be.
In honor of Father’s Day, we’re dedicated to helping you find ways to honor working dad medical sales reps all year long.
Here’s what you can do to start:
1. Highlight fathers using parental leave policies
The starting point for companies supporting fathers is equal parental leave policies, as opposed to solely maternity leave. Most have joined the movement over the last decade.
However, that doesn’t mean all fathers take advantage of the policies afforded to them. According to a December 2019 Statista survey, only 48% of fathers took some kind of leave due to the birth or adoption of a child, compared to 55% of mothers.
One of the issues noted in the survey is that fathers are hesitant to take leave if it isn’t fully paid. Still, 52% of respondents reported being fully paid in 2019. While financial necessity is a critical issue, there are also cultural and societal pressures.
Many new fathers feel it’s their duty to continue providing for their families, especially after gaining a new family member. It’s also important to remember that paternity leave is a new concept for working men in the U.S.
Remove the stigma around taking paternity leave by spotlighting those who’ve already taken advantage of the benefit. Ask them to share short video testimonials in company e-newsletters or write down their experiences to send in a company email targeting male employees.
Ask them to focus on:
- What made them decide to take paternity leave?
- What details about the benefit were crucial in making the leave work for their family?
- Why are they happy they made the decision to accept paternity leave?
- What’s one special moment they had while on leave that they’ll never forget?
2. Create flexible work opportunities
We live in a world where the idea of “having it all” feels within reach. The only problem with this is that medical sales reps who are also parents feel an innate need to give 100% of themselves at work and at home.
Unfortunately, without the right support system, this ideation of being the perfect father and employee 100% of the time quickly leads to burnout. Many companies are working toward flexible work options. Of course, those benefits are crucial for all employees, but it’s also important to focus flexible benefits on the unique needs of working fathers.
Start by sending short pulse surveys out to your employed parents. Ask specific questions regarding what type of flexibility they need to meet both their professional and personal goals. This will give you an overall consensus on needs that aren’t yet being addressed and a great place to start updating policies.
It’s also important to remember that every father faces unique challenges. Some may have the personal goal of seeing their kids off to school every morning, which could require them to start the workday from home or come in/stay later. Others may need the option for back-up childcare due to unforeseen circumstances. The key is to not just be flexible in your policies but also in your understanding of individual needs.
3. Start a fathers’ employee network
Gender-neutral employee policies for medical sales reps have made incredible advancements over the last few years. The issue, though, is that there are embedded assumptions that men who become fathers will see no changes on the work front.
These unhealthy assumptions make working dads feel alone in their unique struggles. As family responsibilities shift, so must organizational cultures to embrace fathers as caregivers, not simply financial providers.
Create a fathers’ employee network or mentoring group that focuses on the delicate combination of career development and life challenges men experience. This type of group offers men a safe space to open up about work-life issues they maybe would’ve otherwise kept inside.
To learn more about how to support working parents at your company, click here: