How to Launch a Parent Program at Work Without the Guesswork

communication at work confidence building d&i strategies managing working parents work life harmony working parents Feb 26, 2018

Successful parenthood initiatives and programs work together with your organisation and employees to help them better understand and proactively manage the impact of parenthood.

Over 35% of female talent in their thirties do not return from maternity break or leave within the first 24 months. Of the 65% who do return, a significant number opt out of leadership and/or promotion opportunities, for fear of upsetting work life balance.

Parenthood initiatives are not just about political correctness, the organisation’s image or hitting your gender balance quota. They’re about creating an inclusive culture. It’s not about justattracting and retaining female talent in the long run to minimise business disruption.

It’s also about valuing the carers role. It is estimated that nearly half (47 percent) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). And about one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15 percent) is providing financial support to both an ageing parent and a child.

Parenthood and carers of ageing parents also touches fathers and line managers, as well as the whole team and organisation at large. Inclusion towards working parents has a positive financial impact — not doing anything increases costs in terms of high turnover and absence rates.

Most organisations are aware of the positive influence this type of initiative could have on their employees. However, creating and successfully launching one that has the desired outcome with your employees can feel like a huge challenge. Your internal communications plan will play a critical role in how well a program is adopted and integrated into your culture, to achieve the results you want.

Having worked with dozens of clients, launching a working parent initiative, we took the opportunity to compile a Communications Playbook,  designed to help time-starved Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion teams to manage an internal launch without the guesswork. Easy.

If you are planning to launch any initiative, here are some  top tips taken from the Playbook to help you along...

Get in touch with us if you would like to access the full version,complete with readymade templates and easy-to-follow steps.


For any internal launch, at a minimum, you need to develop a set of key messages about the initiative. These are about the broader strategic alignment, the organisation’s commitment and the intended impact on people and organisation. For example…

How does this initiative connect with your organisation’s broader vision, values, KPIs and/or other targets?
E.g. to be best-in-class in diversity and inclusion by actively supporting people’s need for flexibility.

Why is this important to your organisation and why should people care?
E.g. improving wellbeing in the workplace, whether you are a parent, taking care of elderly dependents or requiring increased flexibility.

What are the main points you want everybody in the organisation to remember about the Working Parents Programme?
E.g. as an organisation we want to support new parents and their line managers and respond to the increasing need for flexibility by offering workshops, online support, and coaching.


Have a little more time? Great!

Next you will build upon your key messages to pull your core content together. The foundation of any communications campaign starts with knowing who your stakeholders and audience are. Although most likely your primary audience will be internal, in this day and age, every message that’s intended for inside the company, should be cleared to go outside by your ambassadors — intentionally or accidentally!

  • Think about the pain points or challenges in your organisation that you want to address with the initiative. 

  • Define your commitment to the challenge and clarify what it is you want to tell your audience. 

  • Consider the desired outcome you want to achieve for people who sign up. 

  • Be specific about how this programme will help your people successfully manage the transition to parenthood.


Before launching the initiative there are many things to consider. Here are some questions to help you along with your planning.

  • How would you define ‘success’ for this launch? 

  • What is your organisation aiming to achieve? 

  • What behaviors would you like to be changed as a result of this initiative? 

  • What are the obstacles to this launch and initiative being successful? 

  • Who are the influencers who can help champion and promote this initiative?

  • What are the key milestones for this launch?

Tactics-wise, think about what works well in your organisation when launching a new initiative, and build on that. No need to reinvent the wheel.

One the most effective tactics our clients have  enjoyed is to create a launch communication or internal event. For example creating a senior leader video or social media message showing commitment, hosting a workshop with key stakeholders or running an information session over lunch. It doesn’t need to be big budget or fancy.


Once the initiative is launched, it is important to keep it top-of-mind by repeating key messages on a regular basis and always being positive about parenthood. A great place to start is to have a dedicated space on the intranet or the social platform your organisation uses.

Other ideas include:

  • Creating a formal or informal parent network and events.

  • Plan to celebrate or host small events to mark mothers day, fathers day, international women's day or kids day at work.

  • Share testimonials and success stories when promoting future workshops.


Any initiative worth its salt needs to prove its value. Depending on what works well within your organisation, we recommend to define success criteria and put some form of measurements in place. Here are a few ideas:

  • a pulse survey

  • evaluating skills and confidence levels before and after a coaching programme or workshop

  • tracking D&I or retention targets

  • calculating return on investment

  • holding follow up conversations with participants

  • highlight any successes or relevant questions in your regular
  • employee climate survey

  • gathering testimonials

The Thriving Talent Communications Playbook has been designed to help time-starved Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion teams to manage an internal launch without the guesswork.

Learn how to structure your copy, complete a questionnaire, see examples to help you plan as well as a typical launch roadmap with milestones, learn how to measure impact with ROI calculators, and use readymade templates for your launch. Get in touch today if you would like a copy.

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