The private equity and investment banking spaces of the finance industry are often perceived as a ‘boys club,’ comprised mainly of male associates. However, as more women occupy this sector, it becomes imperative for companies to strengthen policies that are unique to women who would like to start a family while pursuing a career.
In this episode of Deal Us In, 7 Mile Advisor’s Ariail Barker speaks with Main Street Capital’s Business Development and Marketing Manager, Molly White, about maternity leave policies in the finance industry. They share their personal experiences in their respective firms, as they will both be going on maternity leave soon. They stress the importance of businesses, irrespective of size, being aware of maternity regulations and examining whether their current policies are appropriately accommodating and flexible for employees. Top management should encourage a culture that supports leaves of absence and actively combats stigmas associated with taking time off.
If you’re planning to take a leave of absence, Molly shares strategies and tips to help prepare your team to operate efficiently during your time away, including creating contingency plans and performing test runs. Molly also suggests designing systems for potential scenarios that your team may encounter and ensuring that they are equipped with the tools to be productive during your absence. Ariail adds, “You obviously want to make everything as seamless [as possible] so that you can step away and then be able to step back in and know that your team didn't lose productivity during that time.” (20:26)
Further, they recommend keeping the lines of communication open during your leave, reassuring your team that you’re still there to support them. To ensure everyone is on the same page, it’s essential to communicate expectations clearly to the firm’s partners and your immediate supervisors.
They also discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has on the finance industry. Molly talks about an escalation of more flexible scheduling and remote work, with options provided to employees. For many companies, the pandemic has led to the recognition that teams can be productive even outside the office, with growing trust that critical duties can still get accomplished in the comforts of a home office.
To cap off the episode, Molly reveals the piece of advice that she would share with her younger self – have patience. It takes time to position yourself for success, so be careful in making rash decisions and abruptly reacting to things happening in your life.
Thank you for joining us at the table for this episode of Deal Us In. We invite you to join the conversation by using our #Dealusinpodcast on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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