In a work environment where talent is tough to find, loyalty is even harder to find, and there is a scarcity of skilled workers, companies may want to start wading into the pool of potential working moms to find their solution. While traditional visions of working moms may seem to be limited to teaching, the reality is that there are many ways companies can benefit from appealing to this group by offering nontraditional environments. A few identified by Relentless.com include:
- Flexible scheduling. What working moms most want to be able to do is balance their work and their home life. So perhaps there is a benefit to creating a “school-day” shift opportunity for moms who still want to be able to pick their kids up from school.
- In-office daycare. For moms whose kids are still too young to go to school, a company may want to consider permitting moms to bring their kids to work. Is it distracting? Possibly. Is it a way to get and keep talented candidates? Possibly. And if there is enough interest and participation, offering a licensed daycare on site may ease a young mom’s mind and make it easier for her to work.
- Telecommuting. It seems as though this is a solution to many of the flexibility needs sought by not only working mothers but by younger workers as a whole. According to Working Mother Magazine, for example, Aetna is now offering full-time work from home positions with full benefits. Obviously, before taking such a drastic step it would be essential to investigate what kinds of checks and balances are in place to measure productivity and to ensure that moms aren’t trying to work from the nursery.
In a tight market, finding new and innovative ways to attract and retain top talent, especially nontraditional talent, may mean the difference between growth and stagnation. However, there are some questions every company needs to consider before committing to a more flexible work environment:
- Is this role one which needs to be highly visible to others in the office? In other words, if this person is one who has to be on the floor to make decisions quickly during “regular” business hours, it may be one that is not well-suited to more flexible opportunities. There are some jobs which still need a 9-5 in-the-office presence for the sake of the work itself.
- Do you have the ability to fill gaps so that if you have a mom working from 7:30 until 4:00, that you can still cover from 4:00 – 5:00 if that is when your business is open? Again, that is a company culture question.
- How essential is it that people collaborate in real time? If you can afford the flexibility to allow folks to schedule their own shifts and they can make it work, you may want to consider trying it.
Now that the flowers from Mother’s Day are starting to dry out, it’s time to take a long hard look at what opportunities might be available to bring working moms back to work.