Maternity Leave Changed My Business…And It Will Change Yours Too
I’ve figured out a winning strategy to help employees with personal development. Just send a teammate on maternity leave! In all seriousness, we’ve already gone through two maternity leaves this year, and we’re a pretty small team.
So let me tell you - maternity leave WILL impact your business. But maybe not how you’re thinking.
Earlier this year, our amazing Sales Fellowship Director, Caroline Kelly, went on maternity leave to welcome her new baby. Caroline had left behind some BIG shoes to fill during her leave. The team had to figure out how to cover her responsibilities while she was out; how to stretch a little further and work a little smarter. It was a lot of work for the team to share. And even though it sounds contradictory, her leave was great for everyone.
The benefits of maternity leave go far beyond attracting and retaining great female talent, although that is a huge part of it. Letting a woman know that you care about her and her family, and allowing her to physically recover is a big win for the talented women you want in your company.
Plus, women are more likely to return to work healthy, happy and productive after being on leave. In fact, when Aetna expanded its maternity leave policy, the percentage of women returning to work there jumped from 77 percent to 91 percent.
Not only that, but a 2016 Deloitte survey reported 50 percent of employees said they’d prefer more parental leave to a pay raise. Those are some powerful numbers!
We can’t ignore how instrumental parental leave is for our employees and for our businesses.
In my own experience, maternity leave enables other people on the team to reach their full potential. When Caroline went on leave, it was inspiring to watch the team take on more responsibility and grow in ways that they didn’t know they could. It’s made the team stronger than ever by allowing them to become more understanding of each other’s roles.
I’ve also seen how being a new mom has allowed Caroline to grow as a person and employee. Having that time at home with her little one allowed her to think about work differently and become more intentional with her time.
In addition to Caroline, we were lucky enough to have Executive Recruiter Sarah McArthur also go on maternity leave this summer and teach us another set of lessons.
Sarah has won the Real Reeder Award not once, but TWICE for being the embodiment of our culture. She’s the “office mom.” In Sarah’s absence, we’ve all had to learn to check in with each other more, care for each other more and take on more emotional and cultural roles.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for new parents - by birth, adoption, legal guardianship, surrogate or foster care - to get leave while they settle in at home.
It can boost employee morale to know that their company cares, reduce turnover when parents can come back to work, reduce costs so you don’t have to hire someone new to fill their role, give other employees more opportunity to learn and grow… and honestly, it’s just the right thing to do.
So, yes, I can tell you with certainty that maternity leave will impact your team and your company. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.