HR Management & Compliance

Why HR Needs to Focus on the Barriers Against Working Mothers

A working mom can often feel defeated before she begins. She knows her children are pulling on her, desiring her every moment of attention. She is working to provide not only stability for her family but also an outlet for herself to gain status and accomplishment throughout her days.

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Some of the bigger barriers that working mom’s come up against are the unexpected incidents that occur with having children. One can never predict that little Johnny is going to bump his head and have to come home and rest for the day. And who can prevent a child’s cold during cold and flu season? In many homes (but not all), the mother is the first line of responsibility when it comes to sick children. How does HR deal with this loss of time of their employer at work? How do they build it into their policies?

There are so many things to consider when hiring and managing employees. Mothers bring an added component. Here are three ways HR can begin to upgrade their systems when taking care, and I mean good care, of working mothers.

Know that Working Moms Have a Lot on Their Plate

Oftentimes, a mom’s  priority is not herself but of those around her. This isn’t a bad thing; it is something HR should take into consideration because a mother is more likely to have your needs in mind as a top priority when she is at the job. A working mom knows how to put what is most important first. The question is, does HR know that if they put her needs first, she will be able to be present and on task when she is at work, knowing that her family is also taken care of?

If a mother must leave work unexpectedly due to a sick or injured child, what if that sudden situation was built into the system like a sick day and it didn’t take away from her own sick days? If a mother has a sick child, she should not be penalized for taking care of her children. An employer could build in child sick days that allow for ease and relaxation for working mothers who just want to do the best they can.

When You Take Good Care of Mothers, They Will Take Good Care of You and Your Business

Allow for a flexible work schedule. If a mother must leave early to pick up a child, what if there was a policy to allow the mother to either pick up some hours on another day or work from home. We now live in a culture where almost anything can be done from the comfort of your home. Build working from home into everybody’s schedule so that when things come up, there is no significant absence of a person. If you have hired a working mom to be in a position where it requires her to be at a location all the time, perhaps you might want to reconsider that and create a position that does allow her to have more flexibility.

Make Sure it’s a Good Fit

When you are in the interview process, it could be a touchy subject to discuss children, yet you might want to figure out a way to have the type of conversation of how the mother can delegate tasks and make sure that her workload is done, no matter what. The key to a good employee is not that he or she is there all the time, it’s that he or she makes sure the work that needs to get done is done and done right.  Invite the working mother to use her communication skills in a bigger way so she doesn’t have to feel overwhelmed. If you set it up right, your entire team can work together to support each other.

You want to make sure that everybody you hire, whether mothers, fathers, or singles know that your company has their best interests in mind.  While you don’t have to favor the mothers, you want to take into consideration what their situation is and how you can work together for that to benefit both you and the mother.

Samantha Lewis is a life coach, corporate wellness practitioner, and certified facilitator of several special programs by Access Consciousness®, including Being You Adventures.

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