The latest news and advice from our recruitment experts.
For most employers, there will be a time when a staff member takes parental leave. Usually, female employees take a significantly longer time away than their male counterparts as families often chose for mothers to be the primary caregiver.
According to statistics New Zealand the majority of these women return to work. In June 2014, almost 75% of New Zealand mothers aged 25-49 were employed (these were mums with partners, while solo mothers were just less than 70%), representing a steady increase in the last 20 years.
For employers, this is great news. It means talented staff are returning to work, or in some instances looking to re-enter the work force in a new role. Having children doesn’t detract from their skills and experience, if anything balancing work and family can make employees more resilient to stress and pressure.
With around 60 000 children born each year in New Zealand along with the high percentages of parents returning to work, organisations who don’t invest in great back-to-work recruitment programmes risk missing out on great talent, and moreover losing existing staff who have children.
Offer part-time or flexible working scenarios. An organisation might offer a reintroduction solution where staff start part time and transition to full time over a period of perhaps six months. Or allow them to set their hours outside of the usual 9-5, Monday to Friday with the ability to work overtime some days and leave early other days, providing access to a building out of hours, or working from home.
Working from home. Various technologies now offer remote staff easy access to a network so that a sick day or parental day off needs not affect deadlines. Being able to care for children guilt-free as well as keep on top of work, is hugely beneficial to both the organization and the staff member.
Working mums (and many other employees in fact) often find balancing work and personal life difficult. Promoting fitness in the workplace improves health and wellbeing. Offering subsidised or free activities during work hours, such as yoga or tai chi sessions once a week, or walking lunches or meetings, will attract working parents who struggle to find time to stay active.
A private place to pump is great for breastfeeding mums who want to work but still give their children breastmilk. Asking a returning mother if such a facility is needed (and then providing it) scores plenty of brownie points!
Staff parties for the whole family, or events during work hours. Alcoholic fuelled expensive after-work drinks are fun, but not when they exclude team members who have to go home to care for young children. Mix it up with a lunch when working parents are around, and/or consider a Christmas party where families are invited.
Health insurance with family benefits is also always an attractive proposition.
The same New Zealand national statistics show that around 80 percent of working mothers were satisfied with their jobs in 2014. When surveying how stressful they found work, solo mums and mums with kids found work to be less stressful than women without children, even when in similar jobs. In other words, returning mums are generally happy at work and able to handle stress.
So while mothers who return to work may at first be often absent for sick children, their long-term contribution to the company is equally as important as those without children. However, those organisations that go one step further and actively provide flexible solutions for working mothers stand to gain the best talent from a very large sector of the working population.
For more information on how QJumpers can provide advice on the recruitment process, contact us on 0800 758673, firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website.
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