We don’t usually wade too much into politics, I mean, with good workplace culture, hopefully, your churn rate is better than replacing almost all your staff every four years! However, since Breakfast On One (yesterday) asked our very own leader, Dale, for her two-cents on the challenges facing Jacinda Ardern as she takes over the Labour party leadership, we felt we should pipe up as well.
In the twenty-four hours since Jacinda took the helm, she’s been asked many times about her plans for babies. Will she have any? When and how would she parent them if she did? Didn’t she say in another interview she was interested in babies tho? Can a woman even change her mind about babies?
We’ll let you hash out the relevance (or not) and inherent sexism (or not) of those questions in the 4 million Facebook arguments happening all over NZ at the moment. What we’re really interested in though is the rush of people jumping up to claim that employer have a right to ask questions about any potential employee’s reproductive plans.
These people are obviously and unequivocally wrong. As an employer or a talent professional, you could be breaching New Zealand’s Human Rights Act; as the NZ Human Rights Commission points out in a handy tweet
For anyone wondering what the rules are around asking whether a job applicant is planning on having children, here's a quick reminder: pic.twitter.com/NzCv5bie9X
— NZ Human Rights (@NZHumanRights) August 1, 2017
I’m going to leave all that aside at the moment, and focus on the part of the debate that is lost in the midst of the uproar:
Being a great parent makes you a better leader
If you are a great parent, you are practising all the skills that you need in management, and you are learning how to develop those skills in other people – tiny people – people that never actually listen and are cranky because they forgot to eat.
But don’t take our word for it, researchers from Clark University in the United States interviewed 347 managers and executives (from large public companies like yours) and then they talked to their colleagues, subordinates and bosses about their work performance. Those committed to family life achieved significantly better reviews overall.
So, instead of worrying about whether your new potential hire is going to take parental leave, perhaps make it easier for any of your employees to do so. Offer flexible hours, child care and even breastfeeding rooms, send the message that a stellar performer can also be a stellar parent.
If you want to start looking for the right qualities in your staff, why not try a Weirdly quiz for free today?