Outside of work, we all use Mother’s Day as an opportunity to reflect on and be thankful for everything our mothers do for us. But with Mother’s Day approaching, it is important that we appreciate the contributions and commitment mothers make in the workplace as well as in the home.
Working mothers often juggle their careers with being the primary carer and home keeper. Attracting and retaining female talent is essential to business success and employers need to recognise and realise the needs of working mothers, especially with ongoing skills shortages and diversity high on the agenda of many corporate leaders.
Indeed, we are shifting towards a workplace culture where results, rather than time at a desk, indicate the performance of an employee. There is evidence to support that many mums in the workplace perform above and beyond expectations – often working after hours or operating with maximum efficiency due to their shorter-time frames.
But more work needs to be done in order to properly integrate working mothers into the workplace, and then ensure that they’re getting the right career development opportunities so that their skills can be put to best use. At SeventeenHundred, we see three key areas in which businesses that are genuine about enabling their working mothers suggests are focusing on.
Firstly, a good business needs to understand the value of and need for working mothers in the workplace, and being aware that when an employee becomes a parent, that it can be a normal part of a woman’s career journey rather than a career impediment.
Three trends are driving growth in this area:
- Greater career ambition;
- Economic factors where dual income is now critical for most families to survive;
- Improved childcare offerings means there is a higher likelihood of integrated working mothers and part-time roles.
In addition, for many mothers and carers, balancing career and family requires some degree of flexibility. There is evidence that supports real benefits for all employees as well as parents, and additional advantages for businesses. Agreeing on goals and employers loosening the reins results in workers unlocking their full potential, which increases employee retention, delivers great returns for employers, and improves the long-term success of the business.
Finally, working mothers have a number of responsibilities and often achieve successful outcomes due to their tireless dedication. The perception can be the contrary, with some women reporting attitudes that imply they are less productive because they leave early or work part-time. Acknowledging the significant contribution of working mothers in the workplace and the skills they have gained from becoming a parent is important.
There is certainly still a bias that holds working mothers back in many businesses in Australia. Our culture, to an extent, still expects mothers to stay at home with their children, even when this is simply not practical or desired for the typical Australian family… nor is it an attitude we should accept, as it dismisses the invaluable perspectives and skills that women bring to the workforce. Let’s celebrate all mothers who are hard-working both at home and in the workplace this Mother’s Day.
About the author
Fiona Hitchiner, VP Innovation & Partners, SeventeenHundred