According to the Women in the Workplace study, the largest comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America, COVID-19 turned workplaces upside down and specially impacted women in the workplace. The pandemic came to intensify the already existing challenges women were already facing in the workplace and many had to leave the workforce to take care of their kids. According to the Department of Labor about 1.6 million fewer mothers of children under 18 were working in January 2021 than in January 2020, representing a 6.5% decline, and many employed moms scaled back on working hours to a larger extent than fathers. In recent months we have heard more and more about Returnship Programs. What are these returnship programs? They are internships for adults who have been away from the traditional workforce for a while. It's essentially a back-to-work program where people can return to their careers without having to start from the bottom of the career ladder. Returnship programs are not exclusive to women or moms, but a lot of companies are focusing on supporting women to return to the workplace through these programs.
As we celebrate mother's day I thought I would share my perspective on the tremendous value moms bring to the workplace. I remembered a commercial I saw on Spanish television that was super impactful for me and I know for many other women. Is one of those commercials that stick with you, that speak to your heard and your emotions. In this commercial you can see a mom who is trying to get back to work after being out of the workforce for a few years while staying home raising her kids. You could see her going to interview after interview always being questioned on the gap in her resume and as a result find herself being turned down from every job she applied to. On the last interview when she got asked what was she doing on the last years during that gap on employment she basically explained all the skills she was investing on developing, the same that got her that job.
Being a mom myself I can testify that becoming a mom has been the biggest blessing in my life. The moment I became a mom I started to become a better version or myself, and a more valuable asset to the companies and people I have worked for and with.
Here are some of the skills, form my perspective that every mom gets to add to their resume:
1. Time Management Skills: Mom's have superb time management skills gained from balancing several tasks in little time. I remember when I was pregnant. I had no idea how I was going to survive. Until that point I had live to work. I was already working well over 50 hours per week and felt the day had not enough hours to get everything done. How was I going to manage being a mom on top of everything else? And then I become a mom and my time management skills just skyrocket. As all other working moms I figured it out. I created my own time management system and most importantly I upgraded my time management skills out of necessity.
2. Planning Skills: Along with superb time management skills, moms tend to have very strong planning skills. Planning family meals, schools events, doctor's appointments and all the things that come with motherhood are definitely transferable skills into the workplace.
3. Prioritization Abilities: If anyone knows how to prioritize, that are moms. In most days moms have numerous activities that need to be done. Therefore, they develop the ability figure out what needs to be done right away and what can be pushed to later or another day. These soft skills are also important in a high-pressure work setting.
4. Problem Solving Skills & Creativity: Lets be brutally honest, being a mom is a blessing but kids come with a long list of problems, many of which require you to think on your feet and quickly jump to solve them. I definitely am a better, more efficient and effective problem solver since I become a mom. Not only that but also a more creative problem solving. We can't underestimate the power of mom creativity.
5. Communication Skills: When I talk about communication skills I cover the full range of skills, from listening to giving instructions and providing feedback. All of them! When we think about it, I am pretty convince that 80% (and I am just making this number up, call it my intuition) of the problems that organizations and teams face are due to gaps in communication. Communication are one of the most important skills in the workplace, regardless of whether you are an individual contributor, line manager or a leader. Being a mom is one of the most effective development measures to improve your communication skills. I am sure all moms reading this right now will agree with me.
6. Influence: Leadership at the end of the day is the ability to influence others. I always have believe that everyone in the organization is a leader. Whether you lead people, projects, meetings, tasks, you name is, everyone needs to be able to influence others. Subordinates, peers, your boss, customers, suppliers, and I keep going on. Being a mom teaches you how to influence others even when you can't use facts or logic to convince them of anything.
7. People Management Skills: If you think about what people management means, I am sure you can agree it encompasses a lot of things from giving feedback, managing conflict, develop, mentor, coach others and many more; all of which you develop being a mom.
8. Negotiation Skills: Personally I find sometimes more difficult to negotiate with my kids than with peers, vendors or customers. Kids can often be naughty, stubborn, and unreasonable and yet moms find themselves successfully negotiating in various ways with their kids, so I would say as a mom this is a skills we get to add to our resume! I am sure there are many other skills that moms bring to the workplaces and many other ways they are unique and valuable assets to any company, but these are just a few I can think of. So let me ask you, what skills would you add to this list?