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7 Ways to Create an Inclusive Work Environment for Working Moms

This weekend, we are going to celebrate mothers and all of the hard work they have done for us throughout our lives. Although we mainly think about what our mothers do at home when it comes to working moms, it’s important to also recognize the other side of that coin—the contributions they make in the workplace, and how successfully juggling both arenas allows them to nurture their children. 

However, many working mothers, as well as women who want to have children in the future, feel like their workplaces are not supportive of them. According to a study conducted by childcare service provider Bright Horizons:

  • - 41 percent of Americans believe that working mothers are less devoted to their jobs.
  • - 21 percent of women are nervous to disclose that they are pregnant to their boss. 
  • - 65 percent of women are worried about how having children will impact their careers.
  • - 19 percent of working mothers are concerned that they aren’t viewed as leaders in their workplace.
  • - 13 percent of working mothers are concerned that people at work don’t respect them.

While these statistics are jarring, there is another figure that organizations should also be concerned about: According to research from McKinsey, 86 percent of working mothers will actually leave a company in favor of an organization that supports their specific needs. In order to be one of the companies that women choose, it’s imperative to create an environment that is welcoming for them.

Seven tips can help your workplace become more inclusive for working mothers 

1. Advertise the resources you provide to working mothers

Just as with any other demographic you’re targeting to make your workplace more diverse, attracting working mothers begins with the job advertisements you post. To get working mothers excited about your company, be sure to showcase what benefits you have to offer them—from maternity leave to telecommuting opportunities to child care. And if you don’t yet have perks to offer these candidates, think about implementing some of the suggestions on this list.

2. Don’t focus on work history

In many cases, recruiters consider gaps in work experience to be a red flag against a candidate. However, this tendency can eliminate many great potential employees who took breaks in their careers for family reasons. To ensure that working mothers aren’t being passed over because of the time they take off, focus on candidates’ accomplishments as you evaluate them, not necessarily their work history. This can be done by using assessments that ask open-ended questions so candidates can explain the things they’ve been able to achieve in their jobs, despite the amount of time spent in a specific position.

3. Provide generous leave

New mothers need time to bond with their infants without worrying about finances and job security. Although the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows women to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave and have their jobs protected, organizations can become more inclusive by not only extending the amount of time that new mothers can take off but also paying for this time. But be sure not to forget paternity leave because supporting fathers by allowing them to take paid time off to care for their children also benefits working mothers and the entire family.

4. Offer flexible work hours

Whether mothers want to take time off to support their children during school events or take care of them when they’re sick, organizations can give them the flexibility they need to stay on top of these things. Allowing employees to have flexible schedules helps them to do what they need to do at home without guilt and stress, while also supporting them with their work performance.

5. Allow employees to work remotely

Throughout the pandemic, organizations have allowed employees to work from home out of necessity. But just because companies will resume working in the office doesn’t mean they can’t still embrace telecommuting. Implementing remote work policies can help working mothers who may need to spend time out of the office when childcare shortfalls come up.

6. Offer child care

Since childcare is a vital concern that working mothers have, providing this benefit can make your organization extremely attractive to them. Whether you offer childcare on site or provide stipends to help pay for it, this perk can go a long way toward making your company more attractive to working mothers.

7. Create a mentoring program.

Just as new mothers need guidance to step into their role as a parent, they also need help adjusting to the role of a working mother. Mentoring programs that connect new mothers with working moms in leadership positions can give women support that allows them to thrive both in the workplace and at home.

We all know that mothers are significant in the home, but it’s important to also celebrate them in the workplace. The fact is, working mothers bring a lot to the table—such as their ability to communicate well, multitask, and prioritize duties. By using these tips to create an inclusive workplace for them, you can ensure that your organization can both attract and retain these valuable employees.

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