Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian has a favorite subreddit – and it’s “dad reflexes.” At HubSpot’s annual INBOUND event, he described this as instances of “dads catching or rescuing their children just before impending doom.” As a new father, Ohanian appreciates that near-superhuman feeling when he’s able to catch his daughter from falling off the bed just in the nick of time. But beyond that, he wanted to celebrate how Reddit enables these little moments to be more shareable. That’s because it’s part of changing the perception of what it means to be a parent.
Ohanian’s presentations at INBOUND didn’t focus on marketing, or the disruptive approaches brands can take on social media. Instead, he talked about his passion, and that’s paid family leave. Ohanian, who is married to Serena Williams, first shared his personal paternal leave story. While he was the one who approved Reddit’s flexible four-month paid family leave policy, he didn’t truly appreciate it until he was a parent himself. Williams had a challenging pregnancy, and Ohanian described the time after his daughter’s birth as a “very traumatic time for the family” and how he could not imagine even having to think about work. He began researching family leave and learned that 1 out of every 4 American women are back to work merely two weeks after giving birth. This stat outraged him. Ohanian shared how he then felt an “obligation” to change the way we view company culture, to better prioritize family time for both men and women. He has made it his mission to start more conversations around this with everyone, from the companies he invests in to members of Congress.
This movement is important. But why does this matter to marketers?
- Marketing Needs Talent: In today’s tight labor market, it’s the companies that offer benefits that enrich employees’ personal and professional lives that win out. It’s also about flexibility. Here at PAN, I have always been impressed by how leadership is very generous with work from home time, and will shift schedules to accommodate specific employee needs and family priorities. PAN thinks “people-first” and that’s one of the greatest benefits of working here.
- Balance Over Burn-Out: We talk a lot about work-life balance, but many of us in marketing don’t always walk the walk. At INBOUND, Shark Tank’s Daymond John discussed his regret about missing much of his younger daughters’ early lives, as he was too busy working. Ohanian shared that his favorite hobby is to ask the most business-focused c-suite executive in the room about what his children are into – for the purpose of seeing the “real” side of somebody. Tara Westover, author of Educated, spoke in her session about how we cannot live our lives through our phones as it reduces our very selves. In marketing and PR, we’ve long celebrated the “work hard, play hard” mentality. We’re always on our phones. People don’t take time off, even when they have the option, for fear of falling behind. Culturally, we tend to keep work and family separate. Our industry is realizing that needs to change. Securing the best talent includes not only giving employees the opportunities to prioritize their family – but also actively encouraging it. Ohanian spoke about how imperative it is that men start to take paid family leave as often and as long as women do. He believes this is a crucial part of destigmatizing this within our workplaces, because “if everyone takes time off when they have a kid, it is no longer a liability to have a uterus.” We must move away from the idea that having to take time off to be with family or to care of yourself impedes career advancement. That mentality only leads to unhappy employees, who feel burned out and unable to find any kind of balance. Here at PAN, we are lucky to have leaders who go the extra mile to actively remind employees to step away from their computers, and take the time they need to unwind.
- Talent Acquisition is Increasingly Marketing’s Problem: The rise of the gig economy and the tighter labor market have made it increasingly difficult for companies to source highly qualified employees. An active HR department and dedicated recruiters is often not enough anymore. Many businesses have started turning to partners like PAN to help drive talent acquisition with PR and digital marketing tactics. From Glassdoor to paid search, there are many channels and execution strategies integrated marketing teams can pursue in tandem with HR to drive a pipeline of more qualified candidates. At PAN, we’ve worked with clients like Radial on social media marketing strategies that drove hundreds of job applications online during peak retail season. Marketers are storytellers, and this is where we bring value to recruitment. We know how to bring company culture to life in a way that resonates with target audiences. Effective promotion of a strong company culture can be the “secret sauce” to getting more individuals in the door.
While INBOUND sessions this year covered an incredible range of topics, it was fascinating to see the permeation of company culture topics across speakers and stages. For more about INBOUND, and top marketing tactics, stay tuned for more from the rest of our team on-site!