How one woman’s journey in balancing motherhood and her career led to the birth of Hegen
Joyce: Hegen was founded in 2015 by Yvon Bock, a mother of four. Yvon breastfed her children for over 10 years while juggling her career. As a working mother, she experienced firsthand how difficult it was to balance her work responsibilities while caring for her babies. It was during this time where she noticed there were barely any products to help working parents save time or make their lives more convenient. This realisation served as the catalyst for the creation of Hegen, where she would go on to introduce a range of practical and high-quality products designed to enhance the breastfeeding journey for parents worldwide.
With each pregnancy, Yvon gained deeper insights into the challenges faced by working parents. Beyond providing products to improve the lives of her customers, she felt the need to advocate for family-friendly policies within Hegen to ensure that working parents would receive the support and understanding they need to manage their parenting responsibilities alongside their work commitments.
Building a family-friendly workplace
Edsel: Out of our 66 employees, 29 of them are working parents. So, it is crucial for us to ensure our policies are family-friendly.
We are constantly looking for ways to better support our staff, and have implemented Flexible Work Arrangements, Family Care Leave, Mental Wellness Leave, and Lactation Trainings. We also provide special perks for working parents like $500 worth of credits for Hegen Lactation Centre classes, and $500 in subsidies towards the purchase of Hegen products.
With our Flexible Work Arrangements, employees are given the flexibility to adjust their workloads, as well as their start and end times to suit their work and family commitments. They can opt for part-time work arrangements or compressed work weeks too. These arrangements are established between employees and their managers while taking business operations into consideration.
On that note, we do admit that implementing Flexible Work Arrangements is not an easy feat. After all, we predominantly work from the office as most of our departments are customer-facing. But it helps that our CEO, Yvon and her husband, Leon, our COO, are both working parents, and know the importance of creating a family-friendly workplace. Here, parents are more than welcomed to bring their children to the office. We even have a ball pit to entertain the little ones, very few sharp corners, and well-insulated rooms!
“I know I am able to take time off or have flexible work arrangements when I need to be there for my family or in the event of a family emergency. Having Hegen’s support allows me to give my 100% at work.”
Manager at Hegen (Operations)
Father of a 19-month-old
A cushioned ball pit at Hegen’s office.
Every working parent has different priorities
Joyce: Besides implementing the right policies, it is equally important for us to acknowledge parents as individuals with their own aspirations. Based on my observations, most working mothers are very committed and ambitious individuals. Maybe it is because they have taken a break and feel like they need to prove themselves at work.
Edsel: Everyone has different motivations and needs. For some employees, this is the season of their lives where they prioritise their family time. So, we will give them the autonomy to manage their working hours in a manner that works best for them. If their priorities change and they are ready to advance within the company, we are here to support them too.
Regular check-ins with employees help managers identify and address any challenges their teammates might be facing.
“Whether it is an older teammate figuring out how to use a certain computer programme, or a working parent juggling their family and work commitments, we try to be aware of what they are going through and reaffirm them.”
People-centric organisations are more likely to attract and retain talent
Joyce: As a company, we are constantly learning from our colleagues. We understand that everyone has their own unique challenges. Whether it is an older teammate figuring out how to use a certain computer programme, or a working parent juggling their family and work commitments, we try to be aware of what they are going through and reaffirm them. It could be as simple as “I see that you are working hard, and I am here to support you."
Edsel: It is about acknowledging their presence and having adequate time with them. Within my team, I try to do one-on-one check-ins on a weekly basis to understand how they are coping. Because at the end of the day, people just want to know how much you care. As managers and employers, it is vital for us to remind our people that they are more than enough as employees and parents.
Joyce: Lastly, I would like to emphasise that building a family-friendly workplace is not just beneficial to employees. It benefits organisations as well as they will ultimately be able to attract a larger pool of talent to join their company.
As managers and employers, it is vital for us to remind our people that they are more than enough as employees and parents.
Image credit: Hegen
Published in November 2023