Inside: Curious about how your HR Manager can support you as a working mom? Guest writer, Anabelle Collins, shares three key areas where HR can help you grow and succeed in your career.
Working moms are a huge part of the active labor market. As of 2021, mothers with children under the age of 18 have a labor force participation rate of more than 70%.
Despite this, working moms are also among the most adversely affected demographic whenever the economy takes a hit. Since 2020, women’s unemployment has risen by almost 3% and another 42% of working moms have been thinking of leaving the workforce because of mounting pressures. This leaves many working moms feeling left with no choice but to either overextend themselves or compromise their personal and professional lives.
Fortunately, it is possible for working mothers to find a happy medium. But this is not something that can be achieved alone.
Consequently, working mothers can find an ally in their office’s human resources (HR) manager. As professionals who are specifically trained and tasked with bettering employee conditions, HR managers can significantly support working moms’ careers. Here are a few examples of how:
Removing Gender Biases
Among the most common issues among working moms are other employees (especially bosses) thinking that having children makes mothers unable to take on higher-level company responsibilities. This may be influenced by their schedule in the office, how often they talk about their children, or assumptions about childcare. During critical job assessments, salary discussions, and promotion deliberations, these factors come into play and work against mothers.
With a capable HR manager, though, these assumptions can be negated and corrected. Since HR professionals are often involved in employee reviews, they can use this position to be your advocate. This ensures that your value to the company is not damaged by misconceptions about working moms.
Since HR managers act as a liaison between management and employees, do make sure to approach them for assistance early on. Although HR managers do make it a point to do their own check-ins, it is helpful when you come to them to better explain your circumstances. In this way, they’re able to counter any biases against you since you’ve given them an intimate understanding of your situation.
Ensuring Compensation and Benefits
As it is, women already deal with a gender pay gap of about 22.1%. On top of this, more women than men are impacted by parenting responsibilities. Case in point, a large number of the 2.4 million women who left the workforce between 2020 and 2021 did so because of caregiving responsibilities. As a result, many companies are trying to encourage women back into the workforce by sweetening compensation and benefits packages. Unfortunately, though, these packages are still not always up to snuff.
Compensation is something your HR department’s compensation and benefits manager can help with though. Among the most popular careers in human resource management right now, these managers are in charge of employee payments and benefits programs. This means that they develop the benefits and pay structure, and ensure company compliance. Through this, they ensure that wage rates are competitive and aligned with federal and state regulations.
Perhaps most importantly, though, HR compensation and benefits managers can also create policies that are more considerate to parenting. For instance, they can help spur the practice of longer parental leaves with fewer eligibility restrictions. Therefore, as a working mom, don’t hesitate to ask your HR department to clarify and even champion your compensation and benefits. This is something you deserve, and something HR managers will be happy to represent since it also helps increase overall employee engagement.
Achieving Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance has become a buzz term among companies and employees hoping to fight off worker burnout. Among working moms, though, work-life balance is especially crucial since they’ve got the extra task of rearing another human being.
Now, while work-life is promised in many companies, it falls on HR managers to actually put it into practice. Having said that, don’t hesitate to approach your HR manager with questions about the company culture that pertains to work-life balance. This means clarifying if work-life balance means having flexible work setups, reasonable workloads, and concrete family first policies.
Usually, HR managers will be able to give you accurate answers and even offer you additional work-life benefits should you need them. This can include being eligible for paid parental leave, acquiring child care assistance, and other relevant aid initiatives.
What’s more, some HR managers can also initiate the creation of internal efforts that provide support for parents. An example of this is an employee resource group (ERG) which can provide a wonderful support system among workers. This can help you enjoy community, inclusivity, and diversity.
Connect with Your HR Team
There will likely always be challenges to being a working parent. Balancing work and home life isn’t easy!
However, HR professionals can play an important role in breaking down the barriers between working moms and career success. Reach out to your HR department to get the support you need.