How Averity Supports Working Parents

Chris Allaire
Chris Allaire

When I talk to other business leaders, the topic of working parents comes up a lot. Everyone knows that we have a responsibility to make things easier for our employees who have to juggle responsibilities at work and at home, but nobody seems to know exactly what they should be doing. Here’s our policy at Averity:

Family first, work second. It’s as simple as that.

That might seem like common sense, but it turns out that in the business world common sense is not so common. It’s great if you have generous parental leave when someone becomes a new parent. Same thing for stipends for childcare and other benefits. But it’s time that we stop thinking about policies like these not just as something nice we’re doing for parents, but something important that we’re doing to strengthen our teams as a whole.

After nearly two years of the pandemic, we’ve all seen firsthand the challenges that working parents face when work and family make demands of their limited time. Jennifer Magley, a Talent Advocate in Data Engineering at Averity, put it best when she told me that during the pandemic “it’s not about ‘work-life balance’ but rather ‘work-life blending.’” It’s time that we talk to the people on our teams so we can understand their top priorities.

I reached out to working parents and asked them what they need to succeed. It wasn’t hard because my team is still small enough that I know everyone by name, but even companies with hundreds or thousands of employees should be figuring out ways to do the same thing. Here are some of the insights I heard from my amazing team.

Support from the top

We’ve all had bosses who never opened up about their personal lives. That’s not how we operate at Averity. I’m a parent myself, and so is everyone on the executive team. We talk about it a lot, mostly because we really enjoy having kids.

It turns out that it’s important for the rest of our team to hear about our own challenges. Erica Nagy, a Talent Advocate specializing in Go and Java, said it makes her feel like we have her back.

“What is really refreshing is that the leadership in the company is proud of being parents themselves,” she said. “They are clearly hands-on dads despite being partners in a company that is experiencing tremendous growth.” 

More flexible schedules

One thing that has become clear while we’ve all been working from home is that we can’t put parenting on hold during normal business hours. When the two things conflict, it’s work that has to give.

“We have flexibility with our schedules, which is huge,” said Erica. “I actually have on my daily Google Calendar: “Time to start homework.” It’s at 3:45 pm, directly after school, so that my son isn’t too tired.”  

She added that she participated in a work meeting from her car as her son was enjoying a Halloween “trunk-or-treat” event at school. (“It’s a suburban thing,” she explained.)

“My boss and my team were totally cool with me being at a school event,” she said. “I feel fully supported in my position and I know that my family comes first.” 

Higher level of autonomy

When his kids were toddlers, Senior Recruiting Manager of Backend Engineering Pete Klochaney had the feeling that he was “missing seeing them grow up.” He decided at that point that he didn’t want another job that took him away from his family all the time. That’s part of the reason he joined Averity.

“The obvious answer is to give working parents the autonomy that they need to succeed,” he said. “When I started here they told me, ‘We don’t care what days you take off. If you have to work a little more sometimes and a little less sometimes, that’s fine.’ That’s really instilled in everyone here.”

Jennifer told me that letting people plan their own schedules and set their own goals isn’t just good for working parents — it’s a win for the company.

“Allow your people to set their own goals,” she said. “Their expectations may be higher.”

A ‘work in progress’

I don’t pretend that we have everything figured out. It’s still a work in progress. But I’m pretty confident that we are moving in the right direction because Staffing Industry Analysts, the global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions, recently recognized Averity as one of the top staffing firms to work for the third year in a row.

In the meantime, we’re going to continue doing everything we can to support all our employees, whether they are raising kids, taking care of sick family members, or have other challenges. That will always be one of the pillars of our organization.

Chris Allaire
Chris Allaire

Chris is an entrepreneur, pilot, avid golfer, pretty awesome cook, crab cake connoisseur, guitar player, and a proud husband and father. When Chris isn’t playing with his 2 daughters or traveling with his incredible wife, he is recruiting for Open Source Engineers in New York City. His love for recruiting stands just shy of his love for the Boston Red Sox. Chris has almost 20 years of recruiting and staffing experience on a National level with over 10 years in New York City, both contract and full time.

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