August 23, 2010 at 11:23 AM
According to a recent government-commissioned report, “Shaping a Fair Future”, increasing women’s participation in the labour market could be worth between £15 and £23 biliion or 1.3 to 2 per cent of GDP.
Imagine returning to work after a six-month sabbatical. You may have a different role and a new team, not to mention a new boss and a completely different political landscape. Sound stressful? Well add to that sleepless nights, the responsibility for another human being and childcare to organise. Is it any wonder that women returning to work after maternity leave can feel overwhelmed and don’t perform to their potential? And yet, the majority are largely unsupported by their organisations during this period of huge transition.
The negative implications for the employer of failing to support female employees are many:
• The cost of replacement of key staff
• Loss of talent to the competition
• Reduced work performance
• Increased absenteeism
• High staff turnover
• Low morale
I have observed in clients, and indeed in myself, that professional women have a tendency to “cope”. Whatever is thrown our way, we “cope” and, what is more, need to be seen to be “coping”. Unfortunately “coping” does not make for great performance. This tendency is exacerbated with the arrival of a baby, not least because there are just more things to juggle and more “coping” to be done.
Failure to seek support at this crucial time can lead to feelings of overwhelm, guilt, anxiety and conflict. A recent study revealed that nearly 25% of women worldwide feel stress almost every day and 23% of women executives and professionals worldwide say they feel super-stressed.
“Nine out of ten working Mums want employers to help them deal with anxiety, guilt and lack of confidence” (Research by Parentalk Charity)
With the double pressure of family and career, working mothers must reconcile their multiple roles, manage the inevitable overlap of commitments and develop their sense of self in order to bring confidence and clarity to their work and life. Coaching throughout the transition period of pregnancy, maternity and beyond means that a woman is more likely to return to work with confidence, self-belief and a clear view of their real contribution.
From the organisational perspective, maternity coaching can provide many benefits:
• Increases the proportion of women who return to work
• Helps working mothers to better understand their own values and priorities
• Reduces feelings of guilt, anxiety and resentment
• Supports the working mother to add value quickly on her return to work
• Increases the bottom line for the business
• Enables better planning for job cover and improved communication during maternity leave
• Provides working mothers with clarity, enabling them to achieve a good work/life balance
• Improves employee loyalty
• Creates an organisation of choice for high-quality returning women workers
• Builds competitive advantage
If you would like to understand more about how our Coaching model could support your existing Maternity programme, why not contact Plus Partnership?
Coach: Judith Cocking
©2010 Plus Partnership Ltd