A recent study conducted by HR training provider DPG reported that 9 in 10 women experience challenges when transitioning back to work from maternity leave. The survey further sheds light on the following issues:
- 54% of new mothers struggle to balance their time between childcare and work;
- 52% experience guilt for spending so much time away from their children;
- 33% struggle to cover childcare costs; and
- 12% have suffered from mental health issues related to their return to work.
The above statistics are clear indication that organisations can play a big role for returning mothers, especially in the support they provide.
What do we do at Progressive Recruitment to welcome mothers back to work?
In July, we were excited to have our Talent Acquisition Consultant Nicola Capsanis return to our Sydney office from her maternity leave. Last year, Nicola had a beautiful baby girl named Pia and we could not be happier to have her back with us. To ensure that we are providing Nicola with the right platform to transition seamlessly back to work after going on maternity leave, we suggested that she starts off on a part time basis for her first six months back.
At Progressive Recruitment, we understand that balancing work with parenting duties can be a serious struggle – especially for new mothers. We want to ensure that every working mother do not feel that they are compromising their career or fear that they are perceived to be less committed to work. As such, we also offer the following three benefits to ensure all new parents have the support they need to succeed:
1. Flexible working hours
One of the key benefits that our employees truly enjoy and one that doesn’t cost us anything – flexibility. We offer all working mothers the opportunity to work flexible hours so they can work around their other responsibilities. We understand that parents have duties outside of work that they need to attend to and we want to give them the right support that will allow them to perform and alleviate the pressure of excelling at being both a parent and a colleague. Our flexible working has allowed new parents like Lausanne Lau, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Progressive Recruitment, to get where she needs to be – without impacting on their productivity at work. Lausanne further shares her experience working at Progressive Recruitment below:
“Working for a global firm like Progressive Recruitment has enabled me to experience the real benefits of being part of a diverse workforce after relocating to Melbourne, Australia. My first observation was Australia’s strong focus on work-life balance and employee welfare. At Progressive Recruitment specifically, this includes a generous employee benefits program such as health cover, wellness initiatives and maternity benefits for mothers returning to the workforce. I was able to benefit from the enhanced maternity scheme and reprise my role on a flexible working arrangement so I could smoothly transition back to work without compromising my duties at home”.
2. Working remotely
To help mothers acclimate successfully back to work, we have an operating system in place that allows them to work remotely from home. Spending time away from the family and having to be in the office 9 to 5 can sometimes exert unnecessary pressure on parents. To help our people enjoy a work-life balance, we have therefore introduced the possibility for our people to work remotely. This will allow our employees to work from home when necessary to look after their family. And this is possible by making use of our tools such as video conferencing platforms to connect with colleagues when employees are working from home. Through the flexibility and freedom our people get to balance their work and home responsibilities, we have seen increased accountability and improved performances as they are able to work in an environment that is favourable to their circumstances despite going through a transition.
3. Enhanced maternity scheme
Women often feel pressured to return to work after going on maternity leave due to financial strain. To ensure that new mothers feel more comfortable in taking time out and return to work when they are ready, we have committed to providing them with greater financial support. This is carried out by topping up the government’s weekly parental leave pay of $740.60 with the employee’s salary. We also offer a soft return to work as many of our employees are first-time mothers and need some time to adjust to a new routine. Along with their manager, they agree on a flexible back-to-work plan whereby they can transition back into their role with three days a week before eventually progressing to a five-day working week.
We also offer ‘keeping in touch’ days whereby the new parent can come into the office for a couple of hours to allow a smooth transition back to work. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues in the office as well. Feedback received is that this has made the transition back to work much easier and as such, enabled us to successfully retain more mothers in our team.
What other initiatives have we implemented?
Apart from recognising that new parents are no different from before in the work they are able to deliver, we want to make sure we combat any unconscious bias in the office environment. Through the training facilitated by our Learning and Development team, our people learned how to consciously combat any unconscious bias through a structured approach. As a result, this has successfully helped to generate greater understanding on new parents as well as mothers returning to work in addition to creating awareness about flexible ways of working. You can find out more about how to reduce unconscious bias in the workplace in this article produced by our Global Learning and Development Specialist Daniel Batts.
How do you support the mothers in your organisation?
At Progressive Recruitment, we applaud all mothers for their heroic efforts in managing the nuances of work while caring for the new addition(s) in their family. The above well-being changes have made a significant impact on the lives of the mothers at Progressive Recruitment and we are positive they can help your company too.
At Progressive Recruitment, we always ensure to provide equal opportunities to mothers returning to the workforce and we work closely with Aveline Tan, our HR Business Partner who is in charge of this project to assist with the transition. Likewise, we try to do the same through the candidates that we place by working closely with external HR agencies and line managers.
Should you have any questions on how to provide support or would like to join us, please feel free to give us a call on 0424 135 452 for a confidential discussion.