How start-ups make life easier for young parents

Posted on September 2, 2022, 8:01 am

Short nights, repeated doctor visits, daycare or grandparents: the employee who becomes a parent must learn to manage a new balance between private and professional life.

Start-ups are directly confronted with the phenomenon by the sociological profile of their employees, who are often young when they join the company, then have one or more small children throughout their careers. Hence the challenge of facilitating this transition period.

It all starts with the pregnancy announcement. An experience sometimes described as “stressful” by women. “I had a macho boss and I brooded over it for weeks before I told him I was pregnant,” says an employee at a start-up FT120. “He didn’t hesitate to tell me I was going to miss opportunities, which hurt my morale. »

career fears

The tenth barometer of the perception of discrimination at work, published by the Defender of Rights, cited pregnancy and motherhood as the third reason for discrimination at work among women. The issue is even more acute in fast-growing start-ups, where the pace of promotions is very fast…

To combat this inequality, members of the French Tech ecosystem (Céline Lazorthes, Isabelle Rabier, and Thibault Lanthier) campaigned in 2020 for an extension of second-parent leave (“parental act”). The government ended up (in part) following his recommendations by granting paternity (or second father) leave for 28 days, up from 14 previously.

The measure took effect on 1er July 2021 and is well received by those who have benefited from it. In addition to professional issues (career development and remuneration), this system also aims to involve the father more in the education of the child and improve the distribution of domestic tasks in the home.

Flexibility as a keyword

However, some French start-ups are more generous. For example, Pigment, a start-up specializing in data management and business planning, raised $73 million in 2021. “We offer five weeks full-time and four weeks part-time to allow for a smooth recovery. An additional seven weeks can also be taken, but they are not paid for by the company”, explains co-founder Eléonore Crespo.

A flexible organization of work also facilitates the reconciliation of family and professional life. Pigment employees don’t need to justify themselves if they want to telework or leave the office early.

“I trust the people I hire. That’s how we get the best results”, emphasizes the owner. Eléonore Crespo sets an example and leaves at 6:30 pm to take care of her children. She reconnects very often at night to finish tasks in progress.

no night meeting

Batch also wants to be conciliatory. The start-up specialized in sending mobile and web notifications financially supports the steps to obtain a place in a daycare center. A great source of anxiety for prospective parents. “The idea is to give employees psychological security,” explains Nicolas Ducharme, director of personnel for the young shoot.

Batch also allows its employees to work wherever they want for three weeks a year (with a maximum of three hours of jet lag). Some employees take the opportunity to telework with their grandparents to benefit from a little help. Singles go to the sun!

This benevolent policy did not fall from the sky. “Managers need to be trained”, comments Nicolas Ducharme, noting that Batch is careful not to organize meetings “early in the morning or late at night”.

A balance that is not always easy to find in start-ups where the party culture is ingrained. “There’s pressure to stay overnight to socialize,” explains a former employee at a Next 40 start-up. “I’m raising a child on my own. I felt left out when I turned down after work. We also don’t understand why I was reluctant to go outside. [des séminaires délocalisés, NDLR]. But taking care of a child for two or three days is a hassle and it’s expensive! “, she continues.

Create an inclusive corporate culture

Being understanding of young parents helps create a positive work environment in which it is easy to project yourself in time. Something far from insignificant, as the talent war rages on in technology. “It’s not reserved for start-ups that have the means, everyone can contribute at their level,” insists Jean-Philippe Poisson, co-founder of YRZ, a platform that standardizes data from commercial providers.

In equal pay, small adjustments sometimes make all the difference. At Shine’s headquarters (owned by Société Générale), an armchair has been installed in a bathroom so that women can breastfeed comfortably and out of sight. A refrigerator can also be used to store milk. A way to remind mothers that they are welcome and that the company knows how to adapt to their needs.

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