New Mums @ Work : How to retain them?

No matter how loud and clear we talk about gender equality, one thing that the almighty has not given us the freedom and will to change is delivering a baby. This still remains with the women and she remains the only source, out of the two partners, to bring life in the world. (No, I’m not complaining, I feel dignified to have been bestowed with this ability).

So what happens when a female professional goes on a maternity period? The onlookers maybe can only imagine what she must be going through. But its only her who can feel the emotional & physical changes-all good and bad experiences. It doesn’t really matter if she has already experienced her first child or not, there are some changes ought to take place every time she delivers, thanks to hormonal imbalances and circumstances around her.

What Organizations can do in order to help this transition easier for women, going on a break as long as 3 months or so and then coming back to the grind after such a long break? There are several basics that we need to keep in mind while dealing with new mums on the block, to begin with :

  1. Before she is about to proceed on her maternity leave, ensure she is not pressurized to finish all her tasks and the handover. She’ll be anyway in the anxious mode of getting closer to having her heart walk out of her body so help her chalking out a transition plan with her make-shift-take-over colleague. This will help her relax and not worry about the work that she is going to leave behind and the organization will also not have to be impaired in her absence.
  2. Don’t let her cut out. Stay connected with her via phone and/or visits while she is at home. Don’t let her get lost in that ‘stay away’ period. Lot of times the emotional changes make your priorities change and majority of the times it is temporary. There are females who have taken decisions of quitting their jobs in this period, which most of the times have turned out to be a purely emotional decision in haste. Later, they regret having kicked a job which presented them their sanity! On the other hand, there are females who look for the maternity period to be over sooner, not that those are any less motherly but let’s just say those are simply wired like that only! In any case, completely cutting out can have a wrong impression on her which may affect her decisions big time. That said, don’t over do it by constantly calling her, remember she’s on maternity leave to nurse and nurture her child and recover from her latest birth! (yes,delivering a child is like a new birth for the woman herself)
  3. Many a times females would want (have) to extend their maternity leaves. Don’t renounce out rightly, consider this option and work it out. In fact HR and her reporting manager/s can (should) work this option in advance and keep the gratifying solutions ready, just in case!
  4. Once the time comes for her to recommence work,have options of working half time from office and rest from home as need be. This will provide her a cushion to work out her new routine and settle down agilely with ease and will let her bounce back to the role and performance.
  5. Have facilities like DayCare at the workplace. Nothing beats this feature, which is like a divine sanction for new mums.Being able to bring the baby at work will have her undivided attention on work since she is aware she can take small breaks to see her child, nurse it and not feel guilty about anything at all.

If Organizations keep such options ready and define policies which are reciprocally friendly, there will be less of attrition in terms of new mums. This is a very effective retention tool which should be certainly considered.

All she needs is consideration and secondment that she is the same performer who scored high before going on her long breaks. Many organizations are coming up with such bills and there is a way to look forward to have happy new mums at the organizations, happy guilt free mums, resulting into developed and growing Organizations!

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What is HR ?

I was in conversation with an Intern recently and this how it went:

Me: Which area have you chosen for your intern-ship?

Her: Recruitment.

Me: Why?

Her: Because I like it!

Me: What’s so great about recruitment? Doesn’t it get monotonous after a while?

Her: Yes, then I can shift in HR.

Me: What is HR according to you?

Her: Motivating employees by Performance Management, providing them incentives, perks, salaries etc.

Me: What else?

Her: Training.

Me: Any non monetary ways to motivate employees you know of?

Her: *blank*

Me: You can take a minute to think.

Her: *still blank*; Don’t know!

Me: That’s HR!

Her: *surprised* !!!!!

Image Source : Dilbert Website

Human Resource is a tough job, no doubts about that. You’ve to cater to so many employees at the same time. Moreover, the management thinks you are siding with employees and the employees tag you as management’s advocate! It is a very difficult situation to handle and you can spend your entire life proving that you want employee friendly policies which will not affect organization’s bottom line!

But the beauty of the thing is, if you conquer the above, that, for me is an HR. A brilliant Core HR ! There are several ways to deal with retention of employees, non monetary ways. As good as retention is a challenge, it is a beautiful thing to handle. Yes, I’m calling it beautiful, where most of the HR professionals might dread stepping into.

Although, there is no fixed formula to the above, but being available, listening to employees and letting them vent out makes a difference. HR is not only PMS or Perks or Policies but empathy and trust!