The increasing number of women in the workforce is a global phenomenon. Nearly three-quarters of employers in a recent poll say retaining female talent in the workforce is the most important issue in HR in 2017, as changes to childcare funding could impact on the recruitment and retention of working mothers. Last year proved to be a banner one for companies like Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, and Apple, which took bold steps to generously support parental leave and post-maternity benefits. The leaders of these groundbreaking companies realize they need to retain their best and brightest talent, particularly women, as they approach new life milestones. And their actions have prompted more companies to ask what it means for an innovative company to meet the needs of a very traditional issue.
Today’s organizations need to address this concern quite quickly if they want to hire and retain top-tier working mothers in their organization. One way to do this is by promoting good work-life balance and making their lives easier by addressing their specific needs through employee benefits and easing of their high-pressure lives. Even working mothers have started to realize this fact. They are now selecting organizations that provide specific employee benefits that help them achieve an equilibrium in their lives.
Now that you are aware of this one thing that working mothers do care about while working for an organization you need to go one step further by finding out the different employee benefits that will make the lives of working mothers easier. We have done exactly that by enumerating certain pointers in the form of employee benefits that you can implement as a part of a successful hiring and retainment strategy for working mothers in your organization.
1. Give Personal Perks
Being a working mother is an achievement in itself. There are certain employers who recognize this fact and celebrate this accomplishment by offering personal perks to working mothers that they cannot avail normally due to lack of time. Giving perks like providing unlimited coffee in the office or a fully paid yoga class and gym subscription is a great way to appreciate the hard work put in by working mothers.
Remember, most of the working mothers do not have the time to take care of their personal needs as they keep on juggling between household and office duties. You can also get creative and offer amenities like in-office manicures/pedicures and visits from hairdressers which can make their day. By providing these perks you are displaying the value of the working mothers in your organization which will go a long way in attracting them.
2. Flexible Work Culture
This one is an absolute must for working moms—and it’s so much more than just a “perk.” The good news? Most companies already offer some form of flexibility. However, taking advantage of these programs can be tricky if they are mismanaged or they carry a negative stigma. Approach the subject by figuring out what kind of flexibility you need and why (you can find more information about the six types of workplace flexibility here), making a business case for it, and proving that it works by producing awesome results. Companies like Samsung NEXT and MoveOn.org, which are currently hiring on Werk, are committed to creating flexible environments where working moms can thrive.
3. PAID FAMILY LEAVE
This benefit is also a no-brainer, yet the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not require employers to cover family leave. By law, all companies must at least offer 12 weeks of leave—but there’s no guarantee you’ll be compensated during that time. So if you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, research your company’s maternity leave policies before you accept the position. IKEA recently unveiled a new policy that would grant all employees, part- and full-time, up to four months of paid parental leave.
4. GENEROUS PAID TIME OFF
How many times have you used up your vacation days to care for yourself or your family? There’s nothing worse than having to cut your hard-earned trip to Hawaii short because your baby got sick. Thankfully, many companies are starting to adopt generous PTO policies and some are going as far to offer unlimited vacation days. But at some companies, it’s difficult to actually use them, due to lack of adequate coverage plans or negative stigmas associated with PTO. If ample vacation time is one of your top priorities, get a feel for your office’s attitude toward vacations before taking a position. Netflix has been heralded for its unlimited PTO policy, as well as its broader culture of “freedom and responsibility.”
5. Private Lactation Rooms
All nursing moms need a clean, private place to pump—and the good news is that it’s currently mandated by federal law. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act amended the law to require employers to provide a private space shielded from view that is not a bathroom, for nursing moms for up to one year. But not all lactation rooms are created equal. Take Google, where they come equipped with locks, curtains, desks, a comfortable chair, a footrest, a refrigerator, cubbies, wipes, disinfectants, a stocked magazine rack, a hospital-grade Medela pump, a mirror, and a side table. It’s open 24/7 and easy to book through an online tool.
6. Daycare Or Nursery On-site
Every working mom knows how expensive childcare can be, and things are only getting worse. Child care costs are outpacing inflation, soaring by about 21 percent in the last seven years. That’s why on-site day care centers are becoming essential for many working families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to stay in the workforce. Since introducing their on-site child care program 33 years ago, Patagonia has seen increased retention rates among working moms. Not only that, but employees who utilize these programs are often more productive, engaged, and loyal.
7. Affordable Health Insurance
Out-of-pocket health insurance costs can really add up, especially when you need coverage for your kids as well. But not many companies are willing to cover 100 percent of your healthcare costs, and even fewer will pay for your dependents. FactSet Research Systems stands out for their generous policies, covering both their employees and their children at 100 percent—and that includes fertility treatment. Part-time employees working at least 30 hours per week are also eligible for this elusive and much-appreciated perk.
There are many highly motivated, talented professional women who aren’t interested in opting out of their careers simply because they made the decision to start or extend their family. Employers can support working women who want to continue to pursue their careers by providing them the tools, policies, and programs that support a work-life balance.