by Nellie Akalp
Being a working mom myself, I understand the highs and lows of trying to balance a career and a family. I have four children and own a business with my husband, so I know how hard it is to do your best at work and do your best at home and still have time left over for a little “me” time. I also know the rewards I get being able to have both family and work in my life and how being a mom actually benefits my business, so I have no problem offering the same opportunity to other working moms. Here’s why hiring mothers benefits your business:
Moms are Motivated
If a mom is applying for a position in your company, you can infer a few possible scenarios:
- She is passionate about your company and/or her field of work.
- She wants to be part of a team.
- She prefers working to being a stay-at-home mom or is ready to go back to work after her stay-at-home phase has ended.
- She needs or wants the salary.
- She needs or wants the benefits.
It could be something completely different, but if she’s applying to work for your company you know she’s ready to add more to her plate—which brings me to my next point.
Moms are Organized Multitaskers
Raising children is a challenge on its own. Add a job into the mix and you have a potential superwoman coming to work for you. Kids’ schedules vary, from school drop off and pickup to sports practices to homework help, not to mention household duties such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc. To get it all done, any mom—whether she works outside the home or not—has to be an efficient, well-organized master of multitasking. You can feel confident a mom can handle anything you throw at her.
Moms Have “Mom Brain”
Mom brain is real and according to a scientific study reported by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, that’s good news for your business. The study found pregnant women experience a loss of gray matter in the brain which causes the brain to become “more efficient and refined, in a process associated with healthy cognitive and emotional development.” In other words, a mother’s brain is especially adept at figuring out what other people need and feel. That makes moms a great fit for positions in sales, customer service, management or any role that requires people skills.
What Working Moms Want
In case you’re worried about time restraints of hiring a working mom, you need to remember she will be concerned as well. More than anything else, the biggest benefit you can offer to a working mom employee is flex time. Flex time could mean flexible hours or flexible work environments (meaning the ability to work from home). Every working mother needs to balance caregiving and work responsibilities. Giving a mom some flexibility shows you trust her to get her work done—even if it’s on a different schedule than the standard 9-to-5.
If the job has set deadlines or schedules that change, give working moms as much notice as you can so they can adjust accordingly. Does your company have childcare on site? If you don’t there are still ways you can ensure a working mother gets the help she needs. You can offer flex spending accounts for child care expenses, later start times for moms who need to make school drop offs, or early outs for school pickup. If you have other working moms on your staff, you can put together a list of other helpful resources in the area such as after-school daycare facilities.
Interviews are a two-way street. You want to know if being a mother will hamper the employee in doing their job; the potential employee wants to know if you’re running a family-friendly company. She may ask you about your company culture or how people get promoted.
On your end, you are limited by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws on what you can and can’t ask during a job interview. This prohibits asking job candidates about their marital status, if they’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant, or how many children they have. Stay away from any questions about childcare or spouses, too. Instead, you can ask if the candidate has any time limitations (for example, “Would you be able to work weekends?”), whether she would be able to travel for work on short notice, and other questions that are relevant to the job duties.
Most likely the job applicant will offer information about her family during the interview. You might even find out she’s looking forward to spending time in an office or the opportunity to travel for work. Most working moms I know (myself included) treasure any kid-free hours spent away from home.
By making an effort to hire moms and make them happy working at your business, you’ll earn their gratitude and loyalty. Working mothers are motivated to succeed in everything they do, including making your company the best it can be.