43% of women with children leave their job and the ones who continue to work, strive to strike a balance between their personal and work life on a daily basis.
As per another relevant estimate, it typically takes 20% of the employee’s annual salary to recruit a new candidate and it’s not just about the cost impact; a lot of these women are actually high performers, have the potential to reach leadership position and contribute to organization’s success.
HR leaders should ensure that their organizations provide a conducive environment that accommodates working mothers’ priorities so that they feel encouraged and motivated to continue their jobs and perform well. In this article, we have captured few ideas at operational /policy levels that well addresses working mother’s concerns and priorities without having them to make any compromises for their professional commitments.
#1 Flexibility: It is not surprising to understand that flexibility is amongst the top contending factors that working women seek for. Taking care of child's needs, attending school meetings are equally important for them as attending formal meetings in a workplace are. They do not expect a modern workplace to keep them tethered to one place for 10 hours straight. In case of an emergency like illness of their child, flexibility in terms of work from home, compressed hours or option to choose office timings is a boon for the working mothers.
#2 Expanding paid leaves: Paid maternity leave isn’t a new concept, however extending it to over a period of 6 months and including paternal leaves is the new trend. Companies like Danone are giving off 6 months of paid paternal leave to their employees in order to increase shared responsibilities between the parents. An example was set by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, when he took 2 months paid leave when his daughter Max was born. By increasing paid maternity leave in 2017 to 18 weeks from 2 weeks, Google halved the rate at which new mothers quit.
#3 Child care centres: Child care assistance and crèche facilities help in bolstering the performance of working mothers. It takes off the stress of their mind because they are no longer worried about their child’s food, hygiene and well being. There is a trustworthy and reliable staff taking care of them and can be inspected anytime they feel like. This helps them increase their focus on the work without any distractions and certainly improves their productivity.
#4 Summer camps: Vacations are a tough time for women because it sends them chills across the spine thinking of where will they leave their mini monsters who cannot be left unguarded at homes. Organizations can organizing summer camps for the children or can sponsor their participation in some skill or knowledge building workshops.
#5 Lactating rooms for mothers of infants. Companies can have special lactation rooms in order to support nursing mothers. This also gives mothers flexibility to express the milk, store in refrigerators and take back home to feed the child.
Pepsico CEO Indira K. Nooyi once said in an interview that “Women can’t have it all”. There is a constant double pull and eternal inner division that women experience while trying to manage both the worlds.
By introducing small measures and reforms at the policy levels such as stated above, organizations can retain the high performing talent and also build gender diversity at the workplace.
Ajita is a Leader for Client Engagement at PeopleCart for Middle East and South East Asia Market. PeopleCart is an Engagement , Recognition and Innovation platform for modern workplaces. She works closely with the clients in understanding the strategic objectives and aligning the product and solution to their digital transformation initiatives, with a larger goals of bringing happiness and productivity at workplace.