Employers have a critical role to play in providing support to all parents, but especially moms in the workplace. Women are invaluable to the workplace, and there are even numbers to prove firms that are more inclusive in general outperform those that aren’t. According to Built In, executive teams that are highly gender-diverse are found to be 21% more likely to outperform on profitability.
The pandemic has turned the workplace on its head, and while many employees are struggling with burnout and stress, working mothers have been particularly affected. 66% of mothers say that they, rather than their partners, are chiefly responsible for childcare. With much of the burden at home falling on them, many of them have had to make the difficult decision to take a step back from their careers or leave the workforce altogether.
If this trend is reflected in your workforce, your company has a lot to lose. Not only does it erase years of progress toward gender inclusivity, but you risk losing top talent and future company leaders. This trend, however, also presents employers with new opportunities to lead with empathy, flexibility, and creativity.
Many companies have been moving in this direction for years, but the rise of remote work and remote learning requires this to take on a new urgency. To make your new policies and arrangements more sustainable for moms in the workplace, here are five steps you can take:
Consider adopting new benefits
If your company doesn’t already provide comprehensive benefits for working parents, you may want to consider adopting new or expanding your company policies. Benefits such as unlimited vacation days, paid family leave, and childcare assistance not only helps all your working parents and their families, but can make you a more attractive place to work for prospective hires who already have children or are planning to start a family in the future. Read also: 5 Ways Employers Can Invest In Working Parents
Offer leaves of absence
If expanding your benefits is not an option for your company, offering sabbaticals or leaves of absence can be a short-term solution for employees who need it. This gives working mothers the opportunity to focus on their families, while creating a pathway for them to return to your company. While the logistics will vary on what works for you and your employees, this can be a good option for parents who just need a break but want to remain active in the workforce. Just remember, this should be a mutual decision.
Reduce workplace bias against caregivers
Recognize that caregivers, such as moms in the workplace, might have additional work and stress at home. While this actually makes them better multitaskers and more productive in their jobs, they are often criticized for being less committed to the company and passed on for leadership positions or challenging assignments due to a perceived “lack of time” or interest. It’s important to be aware of these biases so you are hiring and promoting a diverse and inclusive group of employees.
Establish flexible or part-time hours
While you should offer flexible hours to all of your employees, they can be especially helpful for moms in the workplace. With many working mothers splitting their time between work, household responsibilities, and virtual learning, working traditional hours might feel impossible. Giving them the flexibility to make their own schedules or become part-time is a great way to help reduce their stress and keep them engaged in the workforce. Read also: Workplace Flexibility: A Key Tactic For Employee Retention
Encourage peer-to-peer mentorship
Whether it’s in or out of the workplace, moms will often turn to one another for parenting advice. As an employer, you can encourage this further by establishing mentorship groups for the working parents on your staff. Providing and promoting mentorship and resources for moms in the workplace as well as other caregivers will help create a more supportive environment for these employees.