Mother’s Day is all about taking time to pause and show our appreciation 💐. And while I’ll be sure to treat my mum this weekend, I also want to recognise my friends, colleagues and network of working mums. The mums juggling everyday 🤹; the mums returning to work 👶; the mums who have had to leave their jobs💔; and the mums who face discrimination ⚖️.
I have been there. And I’m still juggling (what mum isn’t?)… but it feels good now, because as my friends say ‘I got lucky.’ 🍀
Why am I lucky? For over a year now I’ve been working at huggg, and the nice thing about working for startups is that they can choose their own path. Thankfully for me and the other parents at huggg, co-founders Paul Wickers (who is father to four young children) and Alice Cox (who is currently returning from maternity leave) have proactively decided to create a diverse culture, which is accommodating to parents.
So, the mums who work at huggg (#motherhuggger🙊) have put our heads together to share with you 8 ways to help parents to thrive at work and at home:
Provide contracts that offer parents security and flexibility – Whether it’s flexible working hours, working remotely, or unpaid leave over school holidays, technology makes it possible, so ensure your business culture is up to date.
🍾 Consciously promote people who require flexible working – Seeing employees who have to leave early to pick up their kids, or come in late after a school run, get promoted helps to create a culture where parents are not afraid to ask for the time they need. Being part-time doesn’t mean career progression has to slow down.
👛 Audit your pay structures and salaries often – Ensure that there is equal pay for equal value being brought to the organisation.
👨👧👦 Offer family-oriented benefits equally to all genders, not just “mothers” – The best way to encourage equality is to normalise fathers taking on equal responsibility in the home.
🤸 Build a company culture that views children and family as an asset – Not as a challenge to be met.
👋 Form a focus group of parents within the organisation – A place where they can ask real questions in a safe environment. Listen to them and enact their suggestions.
🍕 Don’t exclude parents from employee experiences and treats – Team drinks or lunches tend to be in the evenings or Friday lunch times, when many parents can’t attend. Ensure that they still get treats, like sending a huggg straight to their phone…
🤗 Managers should be visibly human so their staff know that they can be human too.
What does this look like in practice at huggg?
💥 We ask new starters what their perfect week looks like and find a way to make it a reality
🏃♀️ We can do school or nursery runs and still do jobs we love
🏅 Paul, our CEO, openly takes time out to watch his kids in school plays and sports days
🤰 One #motherhugger was given a permanent contract the moment she announced she was pregnant
🎉 We enjoyed a ‘new-office’ party full of huggg kids (they weren’t the noisy ones!)
👩💼 Our co-founder Alice is in the process of returning to work after her maternity leave
🌟 Each #motherhuggger has a role suitable for her experience – not her life-stage!
I’m not sharing my luck with you to make you envious – but to remind you that this is possible and what you deserve. And hopefully to show other businesses that they can be a forward-thinking equal opportunity employer and still feature as a Forbes ‘one-to-watch.’