Today's savvy leaders understand the value of supporting working mothers. After all, according to data from the Pew Research Center, women may delay motherhood, but they're still more likely to be mothers at some point in their lives than not.
So, how is it that in the United States, 60% of companies still do not offer paid maternity leave, and almost half of women report needing to take a career break after starting a family due to a lack of schedule flexibility (64 percent), lack of high-quality affordable childcare (55 percent), and inadequate maternity leave (29 percent)?
Creating a company culture that supports working mothers has never been more important than it is today. But we can't just talk about it. HR leaders that want to stand for women in the workplace need to walk the walk by supporting working mothers with their company culture. Here are the three most important ways to do so:
1. Build a compensation and benefits package with the long-term in mind
Attracting and retaining in-demand talent starts with offering industry-standard compensation and benefits packages that focus on the long term. Instead of day-to-day perks like free food, team-building events, and gym memberships, working mothers are looking for benefits that help them balance passion for work and love for family, such as paid parental leave, paid time off, and health insurance.
It might seem like these benefits focus too much on the personal. But giving working mothers access to time and financial resources at home is what allows them to make the best possible contribution at work. And when you build a company culture based on serving and empowering the individual, no matter what their circumstances at home, it creates a ripple effect throughout the company where everyone has what they need to perform.
[Keep reading: 8 Must-Offer Benefits That'll Attract & Recruit Working Moms]
2. Focus on results achieved, not time served
The need for a flexible schedule frequently tops the chart for working parents, working mothers in particular. This was made even more clear throughout the pandemic as working parents were tasked with working remotely while children of all ages were prevented from attending daycare, school, or extracurricular activities. All the while, the burden of home maintenance and childcare falls disproportionately on the working mom, leaving women twice as likely as men to say they'll leave their employer within a year following the pandemic.
One of the most powerful ways companies can build a culture that supports working moms is to continue to offer as much flexibility in where and when work gets done as possible. Many companies were able to make huge advances in the shift to results-oriented workplaces thanks to the pandemic - while maintaining or even raising productivity - as organizations adapted to the different locations, schedules, and requirements of a suddenly remote workforce.
[Keep reading: 9 Great Companies for Working Mothers]
3. Lead by example
It's one thing to create policy and offer benefits that make it easier to be a working mom. It's another thing entirely to show, by example, that working mothers are welcome in your company culture. The most important step you can take starts with representation, or ensuring that there are no barriers to advancement or promotion for women who become mothers within your organization and choose to exercise their benefits.
For example, Noemie Patocka, Divisional VP of HR at Hudson's Bay, shared how her manager responded to her request for her first maternity leave: "You have 40 years to work, but only one year like this to spend with your family," her manager had said, making her feel comfortable taking that much needed time to bond with her new baby without feeling penalized.
[Keep reading: How Companies Can Better Support Working Parents]
Thriving working moms reflect well on your employer brand
Developing a company culture that supports parenthood for women is essential in retaining a diverse and inclusive workplace for the long haul. It's also a powerful way to ensure you're building a foundation for an attractive employer brand - a place where everyone feels supported and included in building the career and life they want.
Are you supporting working mothers with your company culture? To get involved in the conversation on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Profile today.