How to Hire and Retain Working Moms (And Why You Should)

It’s hard to describe the challenges of balancing work and motherhood or to fully explain the difficulty of looking for a job after leaving the workforce to raise children. 

I personally didn’t understand the nuances of these types of experiences or the obstacles this demographic faces until I became a working mom myself a few months back, returning to work after the birth of my first son. 

As a breastfeeding mom, one of the first things I noticed right away was how lucky I was to work from home so that I could easily take breaks out of my work day to nurse him. I’ve heard far too many stories from other mothers that are delegated a tiny closet or a public bathroom at their workplace so that they can pump during the day – which in case you didn’t know, you have to do as often as every two hours. 

This is just one (albeit big) piece of the working mom puzzle, and something that many businesses are beginning to improve their policies on to retain more working moms and attempt to make an already difficult transition back to work just a little bit easier. 

Making an effort to cater to mothers in the workplace is beneficial for moms of course, but it can be beneficial to your business as well. In this article, we’ll cover some of the best reasons to have moms on your team, then get into some practical tips for hiring and retaining them. 

Benefits of hiring working moms

There are some pretty compelling reasons to hire moms. Working moms have a near superhuman-like ability to multitask, and bring some serious time management skills to the table. Moms often have good leadership skills and are adept at overcoming challenges and adjusting to change. 

Hiring mothers also creates a more diverse workforce. Having a diverse team allows a business to tap into the value of its employees’ unique perspectives, resulting in more ways of thinking and fresh ideas, along with more productivity and creativity. 

Plus, moms often serve as a shining example to the rest of your team regarding work-life balance and setting boundaries. Sick baby? Count on a mom to prioritize what’s important and make it clear to teammates that it’s ok to do the same. 

How to attract working mothers to your open roles 

Looking for a job is difficult enough as it is. As an employer, you should aim to make it easy for busy mothers to learn about your company and move through your hiring process. Here are some changes you can make during recruitment to appeal to more working moms. 

Lead with attractive benefits in job postings 

Moms aren’t the only job seekers that care about your benefits and compensation. You should always lead with this information in your job postings, so that applicants can see what you are offering and decide early on if you’re the right fit for them. 

Certain benefits will be more appealing to working mothers like: 

  • Paid sick leave 
  • Unlimited PTO 
  • Paid parental leave 
  • On-site daycare or stipend for child care expenses 
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) 
  • Health insurance 

Make the application process easy 

We’ve all got the same 24 hours in a day, right? Ehh not exactly. Often (but not always) moms, in addition to raising children and working outside of the home, take on more of the household workload

All that to say: working moms are busy, so when they’re looking for a job, a quick and easy application and streamlined hiring process will stand out to them. 

60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out applications because of length and complexity. No job seeker wants to spend 30+ minutes filling out an application, retyping information that’s included in their resume, or creating an account just to apply. Instead, working moms (and other job seekers) want to be able to apply to jobs from their phone in just a few clicks. 

Make your application mobile-friendly and easy to complete. Don’t ask for any sensitive information upfront and limit yourself to 2-3 pre-screen questions

If you’re curious about how job seekers feel about your application, click the button below to download our Application Grader – a free resource that you can use to see how your application experience is perceived by candidates. 

Let moms schedule interviews on their own time 

And when it comes to scheduling interviews with working moms, let them schedule on their own time when it’s most convenient for them. You can do this with CareerPlug’s automated interview scheduling tool, Autopilot. 

Autopilot syncs to your calendar, then automatically sends candidates a link to schedule an interview. Candidates can select an interview time, based on your availability, whenever it’s convenient for them. Plus, it will send them automatic reminders leading up to the interview. 

Autopilot is a game changer for busy candidates and busy employers. Watch the video below to see how working mom and CareerPlug President, Jenny Leman uses Autopilot to get time back in her day: 

Rethink your resume requirements

No one should be judged unfairly for having gaps in their resume, including people that have taken off to raise children. And when it comes to college degrees, many employers are ditching these requirements altogether, in favor of more “skills-based” candidate evaluation. 

A proven work history or educational experience is valuable of course, but so is a proven track record of learning, growing, and taking on new responsibilities – and take it from me, this describes the skills you learn raising tiny humans perfectly. 

How to retain working moms 

To both hire and retain working moms, you need to focus on making your workplace more inclusive. This starts by learning more about the challenges moms face at work, and using that perspective to make positive changes to your work environment. Here are some ideas to help address what’s important to working moms. 

Offer the right accommodations to make nursing moms more comfortable

To keep the mothers you have on your team, consider offering the right accommodations to make their lives a little easier. 

One big area for improvement at many workplaces is having dedicated breastfeeding areas for moms. A lot of moms may choose to continue breastfeeding for several months (or even years) after returning to work – but unfortunately, many moms often give up breastfeeding earlier than they’d like to because of less than desirable pumping conditions at work. In one survey, a third of mothers reported that they stopped breastfeeding after returning to work, with 19% even saying they received pressure from work to stop. 

Dedicated pumping areas can make an already difficult transition back to work a little easier and go a long way in showing the moms on your team that you support them. 

Offer flexible working options 

As you might imagine, a flexible work schedule is huge for working mothers. 48% of moms reported a desire for their employer to better support them with increased flexibility and remote working options. 

Along with offering flexibility, extend trust to your employees that they will do their job even with unconventional hours or varying schedules. As CareerPlug’s Growth and Development Manager, Amy Campero shares: 

“I think the most important thing is flexibility and trust from the employer. I appreciate that I can be honest about doctors appointments, school pick-up, a sick kid at home and how summer is a bit nutty because of camp schedules. I feel trusted by my manager and the company that I will get my work done no matter what – even if it means my days look different than an employee with no kids.” 

Show them a clear path for growth 

Employee development is an important part of any retention strategy. In our Toxic Work Environment Report, we found that “more opportunities for growth” was the number one change employees wanted to see at work.

But working moms in particular, often find it more challenging to progress at work. 41% of working mothers said that being a parent has made it more difficult for them to advance in their career (just 20% of working fathers said the same). 

Here are some ways to connect working moms with more opportunities and support their growth: 

  • Promote from within.
  • Provide ongoing feedback on employee performance
  • Pay for educational opportunities like seminars, books, and online classes.
  • Help employees set and reach goals with a Growth Plan

Provide recognition and feedback 

Recognition is an important part of employee feedback that can help you retain your employees. Finding ways to recognize employees leads to a more engaged workforce. And an engaged workforce is more satisfied, productive, creative, and collaborative.  

However, many employers aren’t committing to employee recognition and are missing out on these benefits. 50% of employees want more recognition for their work. 

Being a mom can sometimes be thankless work, so it can be gratifying to receive recognition for a job well done. Consider implementing formal employee recognition programs where achievements can be publicly acknowledged within the company and employees can easily be recognized by both supervisors and coworkers. 

Recognition doesn’t always have to go through this formal process though. If you see a working mom (or anyone else) going above and beyond, be sure to let them know in the moment. Only good can come from making your employees feel valued and appreciated.

Listen to what the working moms on your team have to say

I’m only six months into motherhood, but I can already tell you that every day is a different challenge. On any given day, the moms that work for you may be running on just a couple of hours of sleep, stressed out over a sick child, overwhelmed with household responsibilities, or a combination of all these things and more! 

One of the easiest and kindest ways to support the moms in your workforce is to maintain an open line of communication and be willing to discuss their ever-changing needs. Moms need compassion, empathy, and understanding. They need supervisors that acknowledge their challenges, coworkers that ask how they are feeling, and a workplace that supports them. 

Getting insight from your employees will help you understand what changes you need to make to become a great place to work – which is what all of us (moms and otherwise) are looking for! 

Attract and hire more easily with CareerPlug

CareerPlug’s hiring software can help you attract more great candidates to your open roles and move them through your hiring process more quickly! This creates a great candidate experience and improves your ability to make more of the right hires. Try it out today!


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