What Working Moms Want: Ways to Attract and Retain Them
By WMM Contributor: Maura Metz
Are you searching for employees who are brilliant multi-taskers, creative, efficient, and resourceful? Then you’re going to want working moms on your team!
I asked Working Moms of Milwaukee (WMM) members what they look for in job offers and what factors kept them with their current employers, here are my key take-aways:
Flexibility and PTO: Since life doesn’t neatly fall outside of business hours, working moms need some flexibility in their schedule as well as time off to take care of sick kids, go to doctor’s appointments, and spend quality time with their families. Many of the WMM women also mentioned that having an option to work remotely was a big plus.
“My son is only three, but between swimming lessons, basketball, and other activities this summer, having a little wiggle room in my schedule is HUGE.”
- Libby Stork
Paid Maternity Leave: Paid maternity leave is important for the health of both the infant and the mother. This short-term investment can lead to the long-term retention of valuable employees. And if you have paid maternity or parental leave, make sure to brag about it! It’s a benefit that can be very attractive to prospective employees, but they might be hesitant to ask about it when applying for jobs due to pregnancy and parenting discrimination.
“My employer currently offers three months 100% paid maternity leave and two weeks 100% paid paternity leave.” –See Lor
Breastfeeding Friendly: Breast milk has an abundance of benefits for babies including providing excellent nutrition and reducing illnesses, and right now pumping at work is the best solution we have to help women balance working while meeting their baby’s needs. Be supportive. Go above the legal requirements, and provide a clean and private space. Be respectful when women need to take time to pump. Your efforts will not go unnoticed. Did you know Working Moms of Milwaukee has Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Awards?
“NO questions about the need to pump or breastfeed! Maybe it sounds excessive for this country, but it’s what’s needed to adequately care for ourselves and have a family!” - Meredith Goldberg
Family Friendly Culture: Create an environment that embraces working parents. As economist and author Emily Oster argues, we should “normalize the experience of parenting while working.” Women shouldn’t have to hide the reality of their childcare responsibilities out of fear that they won’t seem professional and dedicated to their work. A few WMM members noted that they prefer to work in settings with other working parents because they have a better understanding of the challenges they face.
“It was important to me in my last job search that there be other employees with young children working there. You can have work environments that check off all the boxes policy and procedure wise and still not have a family friendly work culture. I've worked places where I was the only person with young children and I didn't feel like I was working with people who always got it.” - Melissa Feldmeyer
Good Salary: In addition to good benefits, working moms are financially supporting their families and expect a salary that reflects their worth. Several working moms noted that it was the top factor in their decision to accept or decline a job.
“Soft benefits are important, but I do focus on salary. I think it's important that pay is commensurate with experience, as well as comparable to a male's salary for the same work.“ - Maura Ambroch
“I make a certain amount of money at my current company because I am valuable, and I don’t think accepting less is appropriate and my family fully depends on my income.” -Sara Mason-Bennett
Many of the WMM women explained that they turned down jobs that fell short of the factors listed above, while others stated that great policies kept them in their current jobs. As an employer, you can risk missing out on the talent of working mothers, or you can build a reputation for being an awesome workplace for working parents.