Breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day was nice. And moms undoubtedly relished those sweet kisses and homemade cards from their little ones. (I know I did).
But, when it comes to their professional lives, what working moms really want is for employers to build supportive workplaces where they can thrive.
On average, moms overall are slightly less satisfied with their support at work than other women, according to our data at InHerSight, a platform that measures the experiences of women in the workplace.
And these less satisfied workers make up a big part of the labor force. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 70 percent of mothers with children under age 18 are working. More than 75 percent of them are employed full time.
Three wishes from working moms
Moms’ workplace desires should come as no surprise to anybody who has spent time with busy working parents.
They want flexible schedules, so they can make it to that youth soccer game sometimes; paid time off, so they don’t have to fret about bills when they have to stay home with a sick kid; and an equal shot with their male coworkers when they vie for jobs, promotions and assignments (aka, no “mommy track”).
Companies can do better. And some are.
Pulling from reviews of more than 65,000 companies on InHerSight, working moms tell us they are the most satisfied with the support they receive in two industries in particular — finance and technology.
Some of these companies, including Amrock, Boston Consulting Group, Ericsson, Edward Jones, Progressive Insurance and The Motley Fool, get top marks from employees for their female friendliness on InHerSight’s company review pages.
“I only wish I could have worked here when my children were younger so that I could have spent more time with my children,” wrote one senior level employee of Amrock. “Our company is very flexible for working parents!”
A mid-level employee wrote this in her review of the Boston Consulting Group: “This job has made me the envy of my working mom friends.”
Policies great, culture key
I spent my own first days as a working mom at The Motley Fool, the financial tech company. I can personally attest to the incredible flexibility and unlimited paid time off that the company offers. Indeed, they even supported my own work to launch InHerSight. Today, I’m a former employee, and Motley Fool Ventures is one of InHerSight’s investors.
And I’m far from the only mom who came away from a day at work at The Motley Fool with good feelings. According to the company’s recent employee engagement data, working moms there are even happier than their coworkers.
Kara Chambers, vice president for people insights, told us that 81 percent of moms at The Motley Fool said that most days they feel great when they leave work, compared to 66 percent of other employees there. And 96 percent said they were proud to work at the company - a whopping 11 percent more than their colleagues.
The reason for this high satisfaction and engagement from moms at The Motley Fool isn’t just great policies. They’re an important piece, certainly, but policies are only one part of the story.
It’s the how’s and why’s of a policy’s implementation that are often even more important than the policies themselves. Things that look great on paper (and sound even better in a press release) won't always be great in reality, while policies that may look middle-of-the-road could be fantastic depending on the culture that surrounds them.
“Most often, moms tell me the best part about The Motley Fool is the flexibility and autonomy we give them to get their work done when it works for them and their often-hectic lives,” said Chambers. “You can brag all day about how your company offers flexible work schedules and is supportive of parents, but if a mom gets the side eye from her boss because she decides to take a 3 p.m. yoga class or has to pick up a sick kid at daycare, then you’re not living up to your promise and are failing a vital part of your workforce.”
And that’s exactly how companies like The Motley Fool are getting it right for working moms. They have policies that support employees, and no side eyes are thrown when working moms — and any other employee — use them.
In other words, they have the right systems in place for working mothers, and the company culture to back them up.
By Ursula Mead
This article originally appeared in Bizwomen .