A Parental Leave Campaign on LinkedIn Is Going Viral. The Lesson for Business Has Nothing to Do With Families.

If you spend any time on LinkedIn — or devouring business trend newsletters — you’ve likely seen the #ShowUsYourLeave campaign surface. Originated by theSkimm (a newsletter designed to “make it easier to live smarter”), it calls on companies to post their parental leave policy for public review.

The response has been dizzying. Countless companies have posted their policies, highlighting more unique (and attractive) benefits like family counseling and support, flexible return-to-work schedules, and philanthropic giving to support families in need.

This “heed the call” response from private industry is laudable, but the more important takeaway is this: Transparency is no longer optional, it’s required.

For decades, private businesses operated under a quasi-veil of secrecy, more than willing to sweep things under the rug or ignore borderline-abusive policies. The less egregious of these have become the norm in many industries. As Liz Ryan writes in Forbes, strictures like “no moonlighting” and over-working salaried employees are commonplace.

How can companies get away with it? Often, it’s just fine print on hiring contracts or loopholes in the law. None of this is advertised or plainly stated — it’s quietly inserted where legally necessary, then brushed aside.

theSkimm’s #ShowUsYourLeave campaign calls on private businesses to be clear about what they will — or will not — do for their employees. And while parental leave should be a priority for any business, this campaign is about more than that. It’s about necessary transparency. It’s about treating employees like equals in the negotiation of work conditions. It’s about understanding that hiring requires candidates to choose an employer as much as it is about employers picking their next hire.

This isn’t just a “fairness for fairness’ sake” tack. With a commitment upfront to take care of their own, companies inspire loyalty — loyalty at a time when The Great Resignation is ripping apart talent in every industry.

How can you do the same thing? Here’s a good start:

  • Make your benefits public.
  • Treat your employees as teammates, not subordinates.
  • Recruit people, not employees.
  • Listen.

When businesses humanize hiring and employee care, and when they respect talent enough to be fully transparent, culture, commitment, and productivity take care of themselves.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and never miss the latest news.