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Parental understanding

Posted by Criteo |

The distinctive challenges faced by working parents in maintaining a healthy work-life balance is the focus of the newest Criteo Cares Community. But co-founders Roberta Scrofani and Carole Michaud say the aim is to go beyond creating a discussion group and to engage all employees in helping parents bring their whole selves to work.

The Parents Community was launched in April. How did it come about?

Roberta: The struggle to balance home and work life that many new parents face had been a discussion topic for a while and was further highlighted during the lockdown. We surveyed all employees last year to determine the interest in creating a community. Every parent who responded said there was a need.

Carole: Feeling alone has been a common experience for prospective and new parents. I remember feeling scared when I learned I was pregnant 5 days after joining the company. I wished I’d known at the time how happy my boss would be for me when I shared the news!

How did you experience the lockdown as a parent?

C: Being a new mom during the lockdown underlined again the need for a place to share our experiences and struggles.

R: My son was born during the lockdown. It was obviously a time of great uncertainty and isolation from friends and family. But, in a way, it was also a magical time. It was just the three of us living in a sort of love bubble and we had an incredibly joyous bonding experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

What was it like returning to work?

R: For me, it was weird. Work had changed and I had changed but the job was the same. I sensed a lot of stress on the part of some of my colleagues while I was still floating in my love bubble. But I also had the pressure of feeling like I had to catch up from being away. I struggled with wanting to do everything but having less time to get it all done.

C: It’s hard to deal with the feelings of guilt and being torn between wanting to do more at work but also needing to respond to what my baby needs. The interaction with the Community reminds us that we’re not alone.

But, you’ve also said the Community seeks to build awareness among all employees?

R: Yes, consistent with our Together value and caring for each other, we’re asking all of our colleagues to help us by recognizing the efforts parents make and supporting us in giving us the opportunity to be full contributors. And, it’s about more than the work. It’s also understanding that when I can’t go and join everyone for a drink after work, it’s not because I don’t want to…because I really, really do!

C: It’s also goes beyond parenting and touches on fostering empathy on the part of all of us. We all face pressures and challenges in our lives. If I need to leave to take care of my child, I need to also be mindful that the work that still needs to be done may have to be picked up by someone else. We need to be able to put ourselves in each other’s shoes and accept each other, including during those times when everything may not be going right.

What has the response been so far?

C: We’re seeing people reaching out from everywhere, all countries, all levels. And not just existing parents or parents-to-be. Non-parents and even 25-year-old potential future parents have been connecting. Our intention is to be fully inclusive, embracing the full diversity of today’s families, including surrogate parents, same sex couples, recomposed families and all faiths and religions.

What are you looking for from Criteo?

R: On the one hand, we’re lucky in having leaders who get it. Our new CIO, our D&I leader, Megan, our CEO, all are tuned in to the challenges faced by parents. We have a very progressive parental leave program, including the “returnship program,” which offers help for parents returning from parental leave. At the same time, these issues can be particularly sharp in a fast-paced company like ours. Criteo wants to reach high. Getting there means fostering trusted and inclusive communities like ours.


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