Making a hire to fill a position during an employee’s maternity (or paternity) leave is never the same as hiring to fill a new position or one that’s been vacated. With so many variables on the table, your approach to making a maternity leave hire will shape your entire corporate culture and have an impact on employee satisfaction and performance. If other employees see your approach as unfair or indifferent, it can negatively impact the entire work environment.
The first step toward filling the gap left by a maternity leave is to recognize that it does need filling; the role exists because the work is valuable, and you’re shortchanging not only that employee but your own organization if you think you can get by without a replacement. Some organizations attempt to get by simply by spreading out the responsibilities among other employees, essentially expecting them to pick up the slack. It’s a short-term solution that, if it goes on for the whole length of a leave, will inevitably lead to burn out, poor quality work, and lower employee satisfaction. People can only take so much onto their plates before they become overloaded and stress negatively affects their performance. An overworked office is typically one with low morale and decreasing job loyalty as they become more dissatisfied.
That’s why it’s essential to make a hire, and a headhunter who can help you define the job and find the right person to fill in. Here are a few tips from Montreal-based headhunters IQ Partners about defining the role:
- Be up front about the temporary nature of the role and why it’s temporary in the job description
- Make clear the length of the term
- Don’t wait around; once you know an employee is going on maternity leave, start preparing so that you can have a seamless transition
- If you’re hiring for a senior position, know that it’s going to be difficult, as many will be reluctant to take on such temporary roles, but this is where a headhunter like IQ Partners can help
- Be honest about whether or not the position could become a full-time position or not
Continuing with the last point, you can optimize your maternity leave temporary hire to help grow your organization. You can use the time as a kind of extended job interview, and if another full-time position opens up or your company expands and you need to make a hire, you have someone trained who’s already familiar with the organization. Find out how you can make such a transition smoother by stopping by IQpartners.com/recruiters/montreal and getting the help of a local recruiter.
Maternity leave in Quebec is a minimum of 18 months, which can be a long time to expect other employees to pick up the slack. Always hire a temporary replacement, but use the time that person spends with your organization as a chance to see if they can fill a more permanent role, making the most of their training and expertise. Turning temporary positions into permanent ones can often be a win-win for both employee and employer, so always think in the long-term when you make short-term replacements.