What are working mothers really looking for in the workforce today? Forget about shiny perks and focus on the practical. When it comes to hiring mothers to build out your teams, these four elements are critical to getting top talent to come on board and stick around for a while.
Of all the things that a company can do to attract and retain employees who are also mothers, a culture of flexibility just might be the most important. Being a mom, whether as a single parent or with a partner, is a lot of work, and companies need to have policies in place to accommodate working parents.
Flexibility is important both in terms of actual scheduling and in terms of offering remote or hybrid work options. This means that working moms can flex their hours around family needs, handle childcare emergencies without fear of professional repercussions, and use the time that would otherwise be spent on a commute on their families. Flexibility should also encompass in-office support, such as space and time to accommodate pumping breaks for nursing mothers.
Paid family leave is always a hot topic when it comes to hiring and benefits, and it’s also one of the ways that a company can truly stand out in the hiring marketplace. In the United States, many workers don’t qualify for any paid parental leave at all.
That leaves a lot of room for individual employers to make a difference. For new parents, having adequate parental leave is critical, so prospective employees who are moms or planning to become moms in the near future will definitely be looking at the parental leave policies of an employer. In particular, generous policies that impose as few limits as possible (in terms of gender, age, or childbirth versus adoption) are especially appealing, and they genuinely support working moms so that they don’t have to choose between starting a family or launching a career.
Now more than ever, prospective employees are looking for jobs that include reliable healthcare benefits. This goes double for working moms (and working parents in general). Health benefits that include maternal care, family and pediatric care, and other family-related options aren’t just “perks” for these employees – they’re often make-or-break elements of a job offer package.
Offering a robust benefits package is part of building a culture that doesn’t just talk about supporting working moms, but actually does the work. By ensuring that these mothers can take care of themselves and their families, companies can take some of the guesswork and worry out of the equation. In turn, that willingness to go above and beyond for employees helps to create a sense of loyalty toward the company. Plus, employees who are spending less time stressing about basic needs like healthcare can spend more energy on their careers, which benefits both the company itself and the employees’ personal career goals.
As of 2022, women are still earning approximately 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Pay equity is getting better, especially for women with close-to-identical qualifications as men in the same positions, but there’s still work to do. One of the simplest and most intuitive ways that companies can recruit and retain working moms isn’t even a “perk”; it’s just to provide equal pay.
Equal pay isn’t just about the raw numbers – it has a ripple effect. During the pandemic, for instance, more women left their jobs for family-related reasons than men did, because the pay gap meant that they were more likely to be the lower wage earner. In turn, they’re now the ones with resume gaps and stalled careers. It’s also an issue of morale, which affects everything from turnover to productivity and more. No perks can make up for inadequate pay, so make sure your company’s priorities are clear.
By Rose Dorta
Are you a high-performing leader or believe you have the potential to tackle a more challenging role? Would you be interested in career opportunities that are seeking these attributes?
I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions that you have. Email me, Rose Dorta, managing director of Kaizen HR Solutions, here.