I overheard on the radio about this Australian company who is rewarding returning mothers to their workforce by paying them Double their salary when they return to work, for the first 6 weeks. My first impression was – “Oh hell No – don’t let any of my female employees find out about this!”
For those who don’t know I run a very young company – not young on experience – young on average age of employee. It comes with the territory – most 3rd party recruiting companies have a fairly young workforce. Get new recruiters right out of college, train and grow them into your culture – make them part of the “family”. There’s something else that comes with all the fun and energy of a young workforce – a ton of weddings and a ton of babies! We have the standard punchlines – “Don’t drink the water here!”, etc. But the reality is, in the last 10 years – there hasn’t been a time when someone in the office hasn’t been pregnant. It’s now part of the culture.
The Australian company got me thinking – no, not about paying my returning moms double – that’s crazy talk! It got me thinking about how valuable my returning moms are to my company. It’s a huge worry I have every time one of my employees comes in to share their awesome news. “Hey, Tim I’ve got something to tell! I’m pregnant!” My response – “Awesome! I’m so happy for you! Who’s the father?” The “who’s the father” line is joke – I usually the know the father – remember – we’re a family – not much happens that we don’t know about. I honestly feel so excited for them. Internally, though, I’m going “Oh, Shit!”, because I know I’ve got a realistic 50/50 shot at getting that person back after they deliver. That’s nature – I love my job, but once I hold that baby in my arms – I love it more and I’m finding out a way where I don’t have to leave them all day.
So, now I understand why this Australian company is rewarding returning mothers. Give them a little extra incentive to return – knowing how hard it is to pull them away from their baby and start this new life as a mom and an employee. Life just got doubly hard – we’ll give you double the pay! You deserve it. As HR Pros and Organizations, we tend to struggle to really understand how difficult this transition is. We welcome the people back, we understand the sleep deprivation and the separation anxiety – but we honestly have no idea how hard it is – unless you’ve gone through it yourself.
I love returning moms for these reasons:
– They get hard work and sacrifice!
– They can juggle a hundred things at once!
– They have perspective of what is important!
– They work doubly hard to maintain a balance in their life!
So, what is your organization doing to ensure your returning moms are going to return? I know if I could afford it, I would pay them double, but beyond that what else? Think of what new Moms need – a transition plan to ease back into their “new” life, flexibility, encouragement, understanding and maybe a big bottle of wine and a sitter every so often! When we talk about the cost of retention and engagement – this is what we are talking about. Finding ways to keep your best – in my world – My mommies are my best!