Leadership
May 17, 2023

The inclusion of pregnant women in the workplace. A question of corporate culture.

By
Stéphanie Le Nevé
Key Account Project Manager
Announcing a pregnancy to your employees/managers is always a very stressful moment. We ask ourselves a thousand and one questions: how will they react? What will they say? Will my pregnancy be taken well? Is it the right time? We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves for fear of the reaction of our colleagues or superiors. But this is not normal.

So why should anyone "torture" themselves with the idea of making their pregnancy official?

In 2023, I will be celebrating my 7th year at Letsignit. During these years, I was able to experience my first pregnancy. This testimonial is an opportunity for me to share with you what goes on behind the scenes of the company with a female eye. I would like to highlight:

  • the unfortunate tendency of women to put themselves in a 'persona non grata' position because they are pregnant;
  • the importance of company directors and managers lifting the veil on this subject, facilitating the announcement of this happy event and its acceptance by their peers;
  • and more generally, that a woman's pregnancy is part of the lifecycle of a company.
It is with all the goodwill in the world that I wish to take advantage of International Women's Day to speak out on this subject!

My career at Letsignit in three words: key account project manager, mother and manager.

My adventure at Letsignit started as a project manager. I say adventure because these last seven years have been very enriching on a personal and professional level.

It was a rich experience, because we had to evolve at the same time as the company.

I was able to experience some very beautiful moments, whether with my colleagues, my clients or my pregnancy, in a caring professional environment. Of course, I am not the only woman in the company who has become a mother.

I have celebrated the formalization of some employees' pregnancies, shared moments of complicity with future mothers, and accompanied some of them in their daily "worries."

As a mother and manager, I have noticed a lot, both from my own experience and from the feedback of my colleagues. Here are the observations I have made concerning the place of pregnant women in companies.

Bad pressure and misconceptions about pregnancy.

Certain behaviors or ways of thinking within companies have become normalized. As women, we make sure that we tick all the boxes to fit this assigned 'professional image.' We continually try harder, without allowing ourselves a 'gap' to satisfy our superiors and colleagues.

The results? We create bad stress for ourselves. We ask ourselves the wrong questions. This is especially true when we announce a pregnancy.

Pregnancy is synonymous with change. This means adapting the workload and anticipating the upcoming maternity leave to maintain a balance within the department.

Conditioned to perform our tasks with a well-defined process, shaking up certain habits can be unwelcome.

As I said earlier, the first questions that come to mind are: how will they react? What will they say? Will my pregnancy be taken well? Is it the right time?

In the end, isn't all this simply the result of fear of our colleagues' gaze and judgement?

Are we afraid of being considered 'persona non grata' because we are pregnant?

If I have one piece of advice to give you, don't be afraid of the way your colleagues look at you, and their reactions more widely. Being pregnant does not make you a different person.

This will not prevent you from doing your job or getting promoted.

For example, I became a manager after my pregnancy. All your efforts are judged on continuity and will not be forgotten because you are pregnant. On the contrary.

Maternity leave is part of the lifecycle of a company.

There is never a right or wrong time to announce your pregnancy.

The company is still running at full speed and we are still immersed in our projects.

What's more, digital forces companies to reinvent themselves. Change has become commonplace. If an employee goes on maternity leave, "it's not a big deal."

Any change - no matter how small - needs to be anticipated. Don't wait until the last moment to announce your pregnancy (in any case, there will come a time when you can no longer hide your belly).

Furthermore, we live in an age where society is more openminded than in the past. Today, many business leaders, directors and managers welcome the pregnancy of a female employee with open arms.

They are well-aware that a woman will have to give birth. We are putting ourselves under a lot of pressure when the news can be very welcome.

The leadership and managers should be friendly to pregnant women and set an example.

They are the ones who (indirectly) determine the behavior and reaction of the employees. Therefore, they must make it a point to set a good example and open up to their teams. Some of them are already the father or mother of a child. Even if this is part of their private sphere, it is important to show that they too have a family life and that they have experienced a pregnancy or accompanied their spouse.

In this way, they:

  1. reassure some women
  2. encourage their staff to be more caring
  3. perhaps help some men to be more supportive of their wives
  4. normalise women's pregnancy in the workplace.

I am speaking to you from experience.

As a matter of fact, I was really stressed on the day I announced my pregnancy. I was part of the first wave of thirty-somethings to have a child. I must have been the third or fourth.

When I went to see Emilie Peythieux, Customer Service Manager, to share the news, I was nervous. Once I had officially announced my pregnancy, she happily replied: "Oh my! I knew it!"

At the end of our exchange, Emilie strongly recommended that I make my pregnancy official myself to Damien Neyret, the CEO of Letsignit. She considered that it was a very personal matter and that I should make it official in person and not through an intermediary.

At that time, I was not yet one of the company's old hands. So I took my courage in both hands and managed my stress to announce it. It's one thing to announce your pregnancy to your manager. To tell your boss is quite another.

When I told Damien Neyret about it, he answered with a singular expression and a big smile: "That's great news!" You can imagine my surprise and relief at that moment. With hindsight, I think that Emilie already knew that Damien's reaction would be positive.

To be honest, I had my preconceptions. I was afraid of the reaction of my superiors and colleagues. I misdirected my mind by asking myself futile questions. Their reaction - more than positive - showed me that I had put myself under bad pressure for nothing.

Finally, the news was very well received by all departments.

This quickly became a norm within the company. Everyone at Letsignit is happy for their employees and is very caring. There is no animosity. Everyone makes it a point of honor to make Letsignit a big family.

Why? Because Damien Neyret, Emilie Peythieux, the other members of the mangement team (Capucine Roche and Anthony POYAC👋) and the managers showed their teams the right mindset to adopt.

What is the moral of this testimony?

Ladies, all your questions are the result of the fear of your colleagues' eyes and judgement. Detach yourself from this and live your pregnancy to the fullest! You will be surprised to see that the reactions can be benevolent.

The CEO, directors and managers play a key role in the inclusion of pregnant women in a company. They are the reference points of the company. If they don't lead by example, it will be difficult to have supportive employees and to change attitudes.

With the right attitude and mindset, this type of event will become a normality and part of the company's culture.

I hope, ladies and gentlemen, that I have helped you to gain some perspective on the subject through my personal reflections.

I will conclude this feedback with a final piece of advice: be kind to your employees. Whatever the situation.

About the author
Stéphanie is a Key Account Project Manager who specializes in supporting major accounts. She intervenes at the beginning of the solution deployment to facilitate the process by handling technical explanations. Stéphanie has extensive knowledge of the solution and understands the workings of large entities. Her daily goal is to provide the best support to her clients. In addition to being an outstanding project manager, she is also a dynamic and energetic woman who never misses an opportunity to share her good mood and lovely flowery outfits!
About Letsignit
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Frequently
asked questions
1
Is it possible to track the number of clicks on email signatures?

Yes, with the 'Campaigns' offer, it is possible to track the number of clicks on the email signatures of all your employees in the 'Statistics' area of the platform.

You can then access a detailed or global view of the number of clicks on the email signatures of each employee. You can use the search option to target a specific signature or a given period. Finally, you have the possibility to export all statistics to an Excel document.

If you launch campaigns with banners inserted in your email signatures, you can also access their performance via this same space.

2
Can we add links to social networks, our website, and appointment-setting applications such as Calendly?

With Letsignit, you can easily add social network icons in your collaborators' email signatures and link to your company pages. Also, our "attributes" feature allows you to manage personalized URLs for each of your collaborators such as their individual LinkedIn profile.

And that's not all: you can add links to an appointment-setting application, allow your customers to leave reviews easily, and integrate our 'Chat on Teams' widget to let anyone start a discussion via Microsoft Teams chat.

3
Can employees update their signature information themselves (number, function, etc.)?

It’s up to you! As an administrator of the Letsignit platform, you choose whether or not to grant modification rights to your employees. These permissions are managed on an attribute-by-attribute basis, which means that you can decide to allow the employee to change their phone number, but not the address of your premises, for example.

This feature applies to all attributes in your directory, including custom attributes created on Letsignit. When your employees change one or more attributes, your directory is obviously not affected.

4
Why it is important to standardize our email signatures on a large scale to ensure our identity and brand image?

It often happens that employees make their email signature their own: custom format, bad fonts, colors inconsistent with the brand standards... all of this has an impact on your brand!

A consistent visual identity is considered authentic and outperforms a perceived weak one by 20%. And, your customers are 2.4 times more likely to buy your products.

With Letsignit, take back control over your brand identity by standardizing all your email signatures. Our tool has many features that allow you to customize your signatures by department, by audience or by subsidiary. Not to mention the possibility of carrying out campaigns within your email signatures thanks to our Campaign offer.

5
What is the user experience like for our employees?

What is the user experience like for our employees?

  • If you opt for the Letsignit Add-in for Outlook, they will have a dedicated space in their Outlook account where they will be able to view the signatures and campaigns assigned to them.
  • If you opt for the Letsignit Desktop APP, they will be able to preview all their signatures and campaigns in this space. If they want to change their default signature to another one when sending an email, this will be done in their signature library in Outlook.

In both cases:

  • They preview their signature before sending an email and choose from signatures assigned to them.
  • Based on the permissions granted, they will also be able to modify their personal information such as their name, position, or address in these spaces.

In short, they have autonomy in their email signature, but you keep control on the field, signatures, and banners they can edit or use.

6
Can my employees have multiple signatures available to them?

With our "multi-signature" feature, your employees can benefit from multiple email signatures. No technical manipulation is required. Thanks to our Add-in for Outlook or the desktop app, they can change their email signatures as they wish with just a few clicks.

Regarding the creation of email signatures, you can make several variations such as:

Everything has been thought of to go further in the personalization process based on the recipient of your emails.

7
Regarding “Green IT,” have you implemented measures to limit the digital footprint of email signatures?

If sending emails has an impact, non-optimized email signatures also have an impact. An unsuitable format or an image that is too heavy considerably increases the size of your signatures... and therefore, your emails.

As a responsible economic actor, we contribute to reducing our CO2 emissions and those of our customers in several ways:

  • Optimization of the weight of signatures and campaigns in emails.
  • Green features: lightening of signatures during response/transfer emails, possibility of not embedding images, implementation of lighter signatures for internal exchanges.
  • Integration of a 'Switch to Teams' widget to encourage your employees to continue their exchanges via chat, rather than email.

As we are increasingly involved in sustainability initiatives, our priority in 2023 is to develop even more green IT functionality.

8
Regarding “Green IT,” have you implemented measures to limit the digital footprint of email signatures?

If sending emails has an impact, non-optimized email signatures also have an impact. An unsuitable format or an image that is too heavy considerably increases the size of your signatures... and therefore, your emails.

As a responsible economic actor, we contribute to reducing our CO2 emissions and those of our customers in several ways:

  • Optimization of the weight of signatures and campaigns in emails.
  • Green features: lightening of signatures during response/transfer emails, possibility of not embedding images, implementation of lighter signatures for internal exchanges.
  • Integration of a 'Switch to Teams' widget to encourage your employees to continue their exchanges via chat, rather than email.

As we are increasingly involved in sustainability initiatives, our priority in 2023 is to develop even more green IT functionality.

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