Why you need moms in your workforce
Moms are amazing.
I personally have accomplished way more as a Mom than I ever knew I could. Years ago, when I asked a friend of mine how balancing motherhood with working full time was going, she said something like, “it’s incredible how much you expand.” I didn’t quite know what she meant – until I became a Mom.
And as a Mom who’s a hiring manager? Well, it’s changed my perspective. Sometimes I’ll have a concern about someone’s soft skills and bring it up with a peer before making a hiring decision. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Well, she’s a mom, right?” Like that status of being a mother comes with a certain set of skills. Like being a mother is a qualification in and of itself.
And it is!
By nature, Moms are:
- Multitaskers. When is the last time someone saw a Mom with young kids NOT doing three or five things at once? Whether she has one kid or five, there are dishes to be done, laundry to fold, and teeth to brush, not to mention emails to respond to and meetings to schedule.
- Organizers. I haven’t met a Mom who doesn’t have a color-coded calendar or doesn’t have a hand-written day planner full of to-do items and activities. How else can she work 40 hours and still ensure her kid has constant childcare, transport to and from school, and never miss a basketball game?
- Managers of chaos. Moms have 500 things to do at any given time, and they know they can’t do it alone. They know how to ask for help, assign out tasks, make to-do lists, and strategize around how to accomplish everything that needs to get done – while still making sure their “team” (aka the kiddos) have fun and learn new skills every day.
- Sympathizers. Maybe the greatest strength of a Mom is to look at the situation of someone else and really understand their perspective, commonly referred to as emotional intelligence. And yet, Moms still have to make the call that isn’t going to please everyone. Yes, eating ice cream for breakfast would be SO fun, but it’s not good for us either.
Moms benefit your company through:
- Diversity of thought. More diversity means different viewpoints at the table. And that diversity of thought can make for innovative decisions. Moms have a unique view of the world that companies should take advantage of.
- Financial impact. A study conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) analyzed almost 22,000 global publicly traded companies in 91 countries and found a positive financial impact of women in leadership positions. Having a 30% female share in corporate leadership (the CEO, the board and other C-suite positions) is associated with a one-percentage-point increase in net margin — which translates to a 15% increase in profitability for a typical company.
- Replacement savings. Just imagine if every working Mom decided on the same day to leave the workforce. Every employer would feel the impact on their productivity and profitability. Federal Reserve Governor, Lael Brainard, shares the economic concerns: “If not soon reversed, the decline in the participation rate for prime‑age women could have longer-term implications for household incomes and potential growth… [which could harm] not only the prospects of these individuals but also the economy’s potential growth rate.” The ripple effect would expand beyond individual companies to the economy as a whole.
Moms can offer so much to organizations through acquired life skills. As employers who expect Moms in our workforce to give 100% to their job and our company, we need to show the same commitment in supporting Moms.
What we can give to Moms:
- Understanding. At the end of the day, we all need a little understanding. And that understanding must extend to what’s important to each employee. Things happen. And personally, I can’t function if my kid is in the ER and I don’t know what’s going on. Offer the understanding and know that Moms are just as worried about losing their traction at work as you are. Let them know that life happens and give them permission to take care of their family.
- Flexibility. For the working Mom, in many cases, she must be the one to take the kiddos to and from daycare. Or to the doctor. Or to physical therapy. Or school let out early today without warning. Or the babysitter got sick… Give that Mom some flexibility to take care of her kids – and don’t forget, she must take care of herself as well! Allow for shifting work hours, offer telecommute time and consider limited core hours when in-office participation is required. And trust that the work will get done – possibly during naps or after bedtime – but it will get done.
- Time. Just time. At the end of the day, Moms need to be able to take a day off at the drop of a hat if their kid is sick and want to take time to enjoy their kids while they’re small. Give PTO hours as a reward for a job well done, consider offering a benefit like Summer Hours while kids are out of school, and make sure your company offers a strong maternity leave policy.
So just to address the elephant in the room, yeah, a mom’s first priority is going to be her kids. But that doesn’t mean a mom isn’t fully committed to being a top performer and using her skills to your company’s benefit. For me personally, having that small-in-size, BIG commitment outside of work makes me that much more committed to doing my job well and ensuring I can continue to provide for my family.
I’ve had to expand my sympathetic, multitasking-amid-the-organized-chaos skills, as well as had to rely on the understanding, flexibility, and time given to me by my company. But I believe that practice and qualification of being a Mom have made me a better leader and a better employee.
Moms are amazing. And Moms get things done.
About the author
Karissa Buckner serves as Recruiting Manager for Synergis where she trains and mentors an amazing team of Recruiters. She also helps them to achieve success through goal setting, accountability, tenacity and customer service. Prior to her current role, she served as a Creative Recruiter for five years, placing candidates in UX, UI, VUI and Research roles. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, graduating Magna Cum Laude. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing geeky board games, and watering way too many houseplants.