Careers with children Innovative mentoring program for managers in the family phase

The program “Careers with Children“ is directed at female and male managers and managerial trainees before, during and after parental leave. In the meantime, it has been successfully implemented in four DAX companies: Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telekom, BASF & VW.

What is special is that it combines measures for individual support with instruments for cultural change. It is not only about easily managing the direct phase of parenthood and re-entry for both sides, those affected and the enterprises; rather, “Careers with Children” aims toward an overarching, corporate strategic perspective to promote the acceptance of flexible work forms in companies and to design managerial trainee development in such a way that family-related absences do not entail automatic disadvantages for career development and professional promotion.

What does this mean in concrete terms? Experienced managers in enterprises support young mothers and fathers as mentors in the complex phase around the parental leave period. They support and advise their mentees, give tips on continued career development, bolster up (including against some day-to-day hindrances) the exploitation of their own career potential and reconcile it with the family. The mentoring is supported by launch and closing events as well as reflection seminars and specific training for the mentees, for example on compatibility, but also on managing in flexible work models.

Parallel to this, the program also encompasses measures on organisational development. Superiors and managers, HR managers and stakeholders work out approaches and instruments for a change in the culture of the enterprise in workshops and good practice workshops. In the course of the program, the employees test some new work models, e.g. job sharing, home office solutions or interim management.