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The Benefits of Supporting Mothers in the Workplace

Fun fact: Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia originated Mother’s Day after a memorial service at her late mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia on May 12, 1907. Her mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health.

Although progress has been made in supporting women in the workplace, much more needs to be done. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2021, 24.2 million mothers in the US labor force had children under 18. Yet, out of that number, only 71.7% participated in the labor force, while working fathers had a participation rate of 92.5%.

Mother's Day is a holiday celebrated in many countries to celebrate mothers. In the US and like in most parts of the world, it is observed on the second Sunday in May. This 2024, we emphasize the significance of supporting working mothers in the workplace and its benefits to organizations.

Retaining key talents

Imagine this scenario: a pregnant woman gives birth to her baby, takes advantage of her paid maternity leave, but ultimately decides to leave her career behind. Why did this happen? Because the support she received during her transition back to work was inadequate. Surprisingly, research shows that 75% of new mothers are enthusiastic to return to work after giving birth. However, 43% of them end up leaving their jobs.

The cost of replacing an employee who leaves after giving birth can range from 20% to 213% of their annual salary. Moreover, according to a life coach for working women, losing a working mom within the first year of motherhood has a quantifiable cost of approximately $92,000.

What you can do: forget about the ‘mom box,’ or what mothering should be based on the definition of society. When an employee becomes a mother, they simply reprioritize how they spend their time, and employers should not penalize them for wanting to live a life.

Connect with our team to discover how you can support returning employees and keep them engaged.

Managing stress

Becoming a mother poses a great risk of anxiety, depression, and a whole slew of stress-related illnesses when not managed and mitigated at the onset. Often, this is triggered by a combination of work-related stressors and family-related concerns.

According to Leslie Forde's Mom, founder of Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs, an organization for parents and a framework for a balance based on research, it was believed that the bottom two-thirds of the priorities of mothers and expecting mothers include children’s well-being, activities, household duties, and professional roles. The top revolves around self-care: sleep and health; healthy adult relationships; and interests, such as fun, hobbies, and learning new skills.

What you can do: provide flexibility when needed. According to a study, 61% of parents prefer to work remotely full-time, while 37% consider a hybrid work arrangement their ideal setup. A lot of times, you do not have to reinvent the wheel to accommodate.

Consider working with ATS+Partners if you have questions about hybrid and remote work setups.

Taking advantage of Employee Resource Groups

Apart from a competitive salary and outstanding benefits that cover their dependents, one of the things that mothers look for in a workplace is psychological safety. However, Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs found that about 97% of mothers do not feel confident sharing with their managers what they need (or want). This is where employers can take advantage of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs, when formed right, maybe a safe space for parents, especially when they do not get this kind of support within their teams.

What you can do: establish an ERG for parents and caregivers. Mothers and expecting moms can find support in navigating their personal lives among parents in the organization. Expand your reach by tapping employees globally if you have teams outside your main office location.

By working with ATS+Partners, we can help your organization build stronger ERGs that support your overall Environment, Sustainability, and Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) priorities.

While the goal is to provide a better experience for mothers across organizations, everything starts with the representation of working moms in the workforce. By understanding their struggles, using this information to improve workplace policies, and unlocking ways to provide more, employers can create a more inclusive working environment for moms and help retain key talents.

Our team at ATS+Partners wishes everyone a Happy Mother's Day to those who celebrate this important occasion, whether you are a mother, expecting to be one, or a mother figure in someone's life!


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