What Working Moms Want for Mother's Day

Hint: It’s not flowers.

In case you didn’t know, working moms are good for business. Studies show the “mom skills” that women hone as caregivers – including patience, empathy, efficiency, and multi-tasking – transfer to their roles in the workplace, making them more valuable employees and leaders. According to research cited in an Inc.com article, “women-led teams were more collaborative, communicative, and open to learning." The same article cites a study of businesses from 2002 to 2014 that found the ones led by women had returns 226 percent higher than their competition.

Despite these compelling stats, when women become moms they are faced with the “motherhood penalty,” a reality of mothers getting paid less, seeing fewer opportunities for advancement, and becoming less hirable. On the other hand, fatherhood is proven to boosts men’s’ earnings. A CNBC article reports that full-time working moms in the U.S. earn just three quarters of every dollar paid to a dad. And because the burden of childcare and housework disproportionally falls on mothers, it is moms who are forced to leave the workforce when they aren’t receiving enough structural support. Case in point: during the COVID pandemic, women’s unpaid childcare hours increased to an average of nearly 32 hours per week, 8 hours more than men. So, it’s no surprise that in April 2020 maternal employment declined by 15.7% compared to just 9.6% for fathers, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

So how can you elevate your culture of inclusion and honor the moms in your workplace this Mother’s Day? First, re-evaluate your childcare support.

For working moms, childcare is the number one reason for cutting back working hours or leaving the workforce altogether. A report from The Best Place for Working Parents reveals employees’ childcare challenges cost businesses $13B per year in productivity. However, benefits like flexible work arrangements, dependent care FSAs, on-site childcare, and subsidized childcare are proven to meaningfully boost productivity, reduce employee absences, decrease job turnover, and save companies money.

One company that is getting it right -- Patagonia, a organization that retains an impressive 95% of its maternal employees. Forbes senior contributor Blake Morgan shares that Patagonia has created a culture that is truly inclusive of working parents, providing on-site child care and after-school pickup programs for employees’ children, and even allowing mothers to nurse their babies during meetings. And the payoff has carried over to the next generation of employees: about 25 children who went through the Patagonia childcare program now work for the company as adults.

Do the moms in your organization feel a true sense of inclusion and belonging at work? BridgeWorks can help you find out.