When Parental Leave Goes Global

By Danielle Foley
Senior Communication Consultant

Paid parental leave is a hot corporate benefit in the U.S., especially among millennials. But what happens when your company decides to make parental leave global?

Cultural differences and country regulations make communicating this benefit no easy feat. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for and tips for ensuring a smooth rollout.

Demonstrate senior leadership support. While actual benefits may differ by country, it’s critical to show unilateral support for the concept of parental leave at the highest levels of leadership. Suggested launch tactics include a post on the CEO’s blog, town hall meeting, webcast or video.

Be sensitive to cultural differences. Global attitudes about gender and family vary widely. For some men, in particular, there may be a stigma associated with taking parental leave. One client tackled this issue head-on with touching videos about the experiences of two new dads in Brazil and Japan.

Provide a customizable toolkit. One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to global parental leave. A customizable toolkit with templates for employee emails, PowerPoint presentations, manager tip sheets, and article copy cuts down on the work for local communicators, and also ensures message consistency.

Get managers to walk the talk. Employees may feel reluctant to take leave because of the perceived impact on their careers. Managers should openly communicate their support for the policy, and actively encourage employees to take advantage of the benefit.

Anticipate the questions. Questions about how the global parental leave benefit will coordinate with country-specific maternity and paternity leave are inevitable. It’s smart to develop an exhaustive list of FAQs to help sites anticipate questions beforehand.

Don’t go it alone. Form a combined team with Corporate Communications early on. Brainstorm ways to tap into existing communication channels, or create impactful custom pieces. Identify a local point of contact in each country to serve as communications coordinator and hold regular touch base meetings.

Communication Insight

Successfully rolling out a global parental leave program is a big job. It takes planning, coordination, and commitment at all levels of the organization.

Need help with your plan? Contact us.


Mission Accomplished – Now Take Some Time to Debrief!

by Laura Singer
Senior Communication Consultant, Writer & Editor

You’ve finished that big project. Relief rushes over you: It’s finally done.

There’s a saying that goes, “Our work may be finished but it’s not complete.” And that’s where debriefing comes in.

Why Debrief?
Even the most successful projects can benefit from a debrief. In the unlikely event that everything went seamlessly, wouldn’t other teams benefit from your best practices? When your annual review comes up, or when you’re looking for that next career move, understanding why this work was successful gives you powerful talking points.

But more likely, there were some stumbling blocks: stakeholders who were not onboard, tasks that took too long, messages that were not communicated effectively. Analyzing why this happened can save you time, money and headaches next time.

How to Debrief
As the project is winding down, send an invitation for a debrief session and ask key team members to begin capturing discussion points. Depending on the size and location of your team, the meeting can be face-to-face or virtual. Have a good facilitator and someone to document input on a spreadsheet that everyone can see. Carve out sufficient time and provide snacks!

Once you have your issues recorded, spend the rest of the meeting analyzing the issues and brainstorming what you could have done better. Start with the items of greatest impact (What undermined the project’s goals? What affected the most people? What created a drain on resources?). Tackle them in order of importance.

3 Rules for Debriefing:

  1. Sooner Than Later: Schedule a debrief session as soon as possible after your project wraps up. Remember: memories fade quickly, and you don’t want to lose valuable insights.
  2. Find the Root Cause: Understanding the root cause of an issue is critical. If an important mass email didn’t get the intended results, you might assume it was not well crafted. But maybe the message would have been more effective if managers had delivered it to their direct reports.
  3. Share Your Findings: Create a short slide deck or report with an Executive Summary. Include the good, the bad, and the ugly (be sure to give your team credit for what you did well). Share it with the entire team and appropriate stakeholders. You’ll be better equipped for future work – and you’ll be driving the success of future projects in your organization.

Communication Insight 

Today’s pace is demanding. When we finally finish a project, it can be tempting to immediately move on to the next to-do. It’s important to take the time to debrief so you can take those learnings to your next project.

Need help planning your debrief session? Contact us.