An Open Letter to Bosses Everywhere: Why It's Important to Hire Moms
Hiring managers everywhere: This is the perfect moment to revisit how you're hiring moms at your company.
It's time to question your implicit biases and get ready to hire diverse teams that deliver 5x returns for your organization. We never sugarcoat it: moms make great employees. If you're actively seeking the most dynamic candidate in today's labor market, may we suggest the mayor of get-it-done-town: a woman with children.
As two moms and founders of Superkin, a lifestyle brand for ambitious parents, we recently launched our *Add to Resume: Raising Humans campaign that highlights the idea that parents can grow their careers and grow their families at the same time.
Sociologists coined the term "motherhood penalty" to reflect the systemic disadvantages working mothers encounter in perceived competence relative to others without kids. If anything good is to come from 14 hellish months of pandemic-level juggling for working parents, it's that we're embracing empathy in the office. So, let's bust some myths that have unnecessarily harmed working moms and start hiring them for all they bring to the table.
Myth #1: Mothers are less dedicated or committed to their jobs.
Let's start with the data. According to the United States Department of Labor, 85 percent of working women will become mothers during their careers and 41 percent of women are the breadwinner in their household. Are we really judging a woman's career ambition simply because she has to leave at 4 p.m. to pick up children at daycare that closes at 5 p.m. or occasionally make a mid-day trip to the pediatrician's office for a sick kid?
Perhaps this myth has been sustained by an unnecessary attachment to the 9-to-5 workday. Our lives don't operate in silos—and with technology, many tasks that were previously done behind an office desk can be just as efficient on a laptop at home. We've learned that flexible work doesn't mean we're less connected. So, let's agree to put a stop to the notion that factime aligns with competence or productivity.
Non-parents and parents alike have overwhelmingly signaled their wish to keep some hybrid version of in-office/remote work. Pandemic-era flexibility has driven increases in productivity and improved work-life balance. It's time we ditch the outdated structure that has penalized working parents. Prioritizing outcomes over hours levels the playing field for caregivers. Still with us? Sweet.
Myth #2: A candidate with a gap in their resume is less qualified than one without.
Care is expensive, some might call it downright unaffordable. When an employee values family and takes a step back from work to care for an ailing parent or nurture an infant, the decision is often made out of necessity and has absolutely no bearing on their capability. Women of color have been disproportionately affected by job loss and caretaking duties during the pandemic, so if we want to build back with a more inclusive work environment, we ought to reframe this kind of gap as a sign of integrity and dedication.
Unfortunately, recruiters often exclude candidates with resume gaps, inferring it's a signal from the labor market overall, or that this is a "problem" candidate. Instead, think about how to use the interview process to screen for team-player attitudes, work ethic, and competency. LinkedIn recently announced the addition of a standalone "Stay-at-home parent" title, and that's a strong institutional step to normalizing caregiving.
Why Hiring Moms Is imperative
Now that we've busted these myths, consider this: companies with greater representation outperform and moms are a critical component of building a diverse, problem-solving team. Motherhood comes with a whole new set of skills that expand our brains in ways that are extremely beneficial to the workplace. Three top of mind skills you should hire for:
- Empathy isn't just a nice to have—it's a vital leadership competency—and parents bring this to an organization in droves. Supporting the emotional growth of children and a family means understanding feelings big and small.
- Imagine an employee who can anticipate the needs of your customers. Moms are always thinking five steps ahead (change of clothes, bandaids, and even snacks!). The ability to have a contingency plan is a tangible skill that makes project management a breeze.
- She doesn't have time to waste. Ever seen someone more productive than a motivated mom with a great idea and a hard stop at 5 p.m.? This kind of productivity and drive—we call it multi-mastering—is a must-have!
We have some next steps for you, because we're all about action:
- Check the job description for signals that would turn off caregiving candidates, like overemphasizing a party or happy hour culture. This is also a great time to highlight your company's family-centric benefits. (Side note: If your benefits could use a 2021 refresh, Superkin can help.)
- To create a more diverse recruiting pipeline, offer generous referral bonuses for employees who submit diverse candidates (did you know working parents are more likely to be from underrepresented racial groups?)
- Consider partnering with the Mom Project, an organization that's connecting talented women with world-class employers.
It's time to hire moms. Rebuilding an inclusive environment that embraces caregiving will drive productivity and retention while improving the bottom line. Win, win, win.
Superkin is a lifestyle brand for ambitious parents, challenging the outdated notions of motherhood, founded in 2018 by colleagues, friends, and moms, Miriam Williams and Tara Elwell Henning. Superkin recently launched a parent concierge solution for companies looking to enhance and structure their parents' community at work. Learn more here!