Recently, millions of women have either quit their jobs to home school their children or have been forced out of the workforce due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. That means companies are losing some of their most valuable assets—hard working mothers!
I’m a life coach passionate about helping working moms successfully manage their careers and family lives. I’ve gained valuable insight from my clients during our sessions about how companies can create cultures that allow female employees to thrive. I also have firsthand experience as a mom working in the corporate world. Culled from these experiences, here are six tips that’ll help your company retain both prepartum and postpartum employees.
1. Ask them about the challenges they face
Before you make any rash decisions, ask your prepartum and postpartum employees what challenges they face and how your company can better accommodate their needs. You can either give them a written survey or allow them to provide feedback during an informal meeting with their supervisor or the HR department. Once you’ve given them the opportunity to share their thoughts, you’ll understand which issues are the most important to them during this important stage in their life.
2. Revise your corporate policies and benefits
Next, review the information and look for common themes. For example, perhaps your company learns that there’s an overwhelming demand for paternity leave from your prepartum and postpartum female employees. Or perhaps they want to feel more included during meetings, or they want extended deadlines and more flexible work schedules. After finding common themes, review your corporate policies and benefit packages and see what can be revised. Perhaps your organization could negotiate a discount with a local daycare or childcare center. Perhaps you can make flex-work arrangements an official benefit. The simple act of updating some of your policies, benefits, and procedures will create a more welcoming environment, and make your employees feel seen, heard, and respected.
3. Develop a company-sponsored mentorship program
According to a recent McKinsey study, women are less likely to advance in their careers due to a lack of mentorship and sponsorship. A mentor refers to senior level employees willing to share their expertise with others, while a sponsor is someone within the organization who is willing to leverage their power and be an advocate. Mentorship and sponsorship programs are wonderful ways to improve employee retention for everyone at the company, not just working moms. These programs go a long way toward preventing highly talented, ambitious employees from “slipping through the cracks,” while giving them the opportunity to receive relevant guidance on how to best take their career to the next level.
4. Recognize their efforts and reward them for doing excellent work
Working mothers are more tempted to leave a job when they feel unheard and invisible. An official employee reward and recognition program is one of the easiest and best ways to create an uplifting work culture that promotes hard work, drives engagement, and increases everyone's job satisfaction. Make positive reinforcement and constructive feedback part of your work routine. It will acknowledge the efforts of your employees and help them pivot if they are veering to the wrong path.
5. Compare your company’s employee salaries and close the wage gap
Review your company’s salary and benefits and compare the wages between your male and female employees. Are the women receiving equal pay for equal work? Were they offered the same stock options as their male counterparts? If you notice there is an obvious discrepancy, now is the time to rectify the situation and close the wage gap.
6. Prepare a path for female employees to return and progress in their career
Sometimes the best way to be an advocate for prepartum and postpartum female employees is to make sure they’ll have a seat at the table when they come back to work after their maternity leave. The company should commit to actively promoting women within the organization and be able to steer them towards solid career paths. This will allow returning moms and other female employees to have an equal opportunity to advance to the next level just as much as their male counterparts.
Gladys Simen is a life coach for moms who are trying to balance their work and family lives. She is a life enthusiast who has lived in five different countries, mastered two languages, and changed several professions. It took becoming a fabulous mama for her to tap into some big superpowers within herself. Formerly a quiet introvert, Gladys is now passionate about helping women live big, beautiful, shooting-for-the-stars kind of lives. Gladys considers herself an advocate for the working mama. You can connect with her via her website and LinkedIn.
For many professionals, the global pandemic has meant a drastic change from working in the office to working from home. Add to that the need to juggle work with family life, and finding any semblance of work-life balance could seem like an impossible task.