What Working Mothers Actually Want From Their Managers Publish-Pandemic
The pandemic-induced forced remote work experiment is now a reality for many companies. Now that we’ve seen what’s possible, employees want flexibility, autonomy, and no longer have to commute to the office five days a week.
Additionally, many employees, especially mothers, have indicated that they will quit and find new jobs to meet their desired hybrid work schedule. According to a Monster survey from June 2021, 95 percent of workers are currently considering changing jobs, while a Microsoft study from January 2021 found that 41 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their current employer at some point this year.
Regardless of the reason for a job change, leaders must have the skills to lead a hybrid workforce in the future, and leading a hybrid team requires a level of leadership that not all managers have.
Remote work often highlights leadership gaps because managers need to treat their team like adults by trusting them to get their jobs done. It requires leaders to be clear about their expectations and communicate them in a way that employees fully understand, and it also requires leaders to hold these employees accountable for their results.
Attracting and retaining top talent has always been at the forefront of the corporate world, but the pandemic has changed everything. Hybrid and remote working are based on consciously creating an inclusive culture where both office workers and those working from home are considered for opportunities and included in important meetings. It requires a conscious approach to relationship building and getting to know people in order to build virtual relationship capital. Our new world of work also requires managers to focus more on people in their management approach.
Leaders need to learn to be more curious, more compassionate, more empathetic, and more vulnerable. You have to learn to slow down and pay attention to body language (yes, also virtually) and perceive nuances of conversations. You need to reach out to people after meetings and conversations to make sure they felt heard and were able to share. The best way to improve or learn these skills is with group or individual coaching to change mindsets and behaviors with regard to their own leadership styles and approaches.
The pandemic has forced everyone – but especially working parents – to judge what matters most to them. Many seek meaning when it comes to their careers. Managers need to figure out what drives their team and what works to help them connect with the values of the organization and find meaning in their work.
People also seek understanding and support for their personal situation. Studies show that more and more employees are willing to move away from managers who do not treat them with respect because they know life is fragile and they want to feel valued, respected and supported inside and outside of work. Empathy, vulnerability, compassion – all of these are what people expect from their superiors during the pandemic and beyond. And if managers are unwilling to move with the times, they will reap the consequences.
Teresa Hopke is CEO The Americas, Talking Talent, a global coaching company that inspires inclusive cultures that enable people and organizations to thrive. It works with organizations around the world to drive company-wide behavioral changes that accelerate business performance. As a working mother of four, Teresa is committed to creating a more inclusive world for her children and the organizations she serves.