Forward-thinking organizations understand that maternity leave extends beyond simply accommodating one new mother; it represents a strategic opportunity to foster a supportive, inclusive culture that encourages high-performance teams. However, navigating the transition can prove challenging, even for companies with well-established maternity leave policies. As Kirsten Moorfield, COO of Cloverleaf, succinctly states, “Because people are complicated.”
As a seasoned executive and new mother who navigated three maternity leaves during my tenure as the only female vice president in a $3 billion company, I have first-hand experience with the unique professional and personal challenges this life event brings.
While mentoring women and their leaders on managing maternity leaves, I noticed distinct patterns that revealed why some teams thrive during this period while others falter. This insight inspired the creation of NestByRevel.com, a platform designed to support women in achieving career success without compromising personal well-being and quality family time.
Navigating Maternity Leave: 4 Proven Strategies The Workplace
To manage maternity leave effectively within your teams, it’s crucial to pivot your approach towards certain guiding principles. These principles, which form the backbone of successful maternity leave policies, revolve around four core strategies that contribute towards not only the smooth execution of leave but also towards building a resilient, empathetic, and adaptable workforce:
1. Team Collaboration: Foster teamwork among members to ensure smooth transition and continuity in customer service and achieve team objectives.
2. Delegation and Cross-Training: Collaborate with the expectant mother to delegate responsibilities. This approach minimizes workflow disruptions and provides growth opportunities for other team members.
3. Supportive Culture: Cultivate a flexible environment that prioritizes the well-being of new parents, while still meeting team commitments. Consider extending this flexibility to all team members.
4. Open Communication: Encourage an atmosphere where the expectant mother and the entire team can freely express their thoughts, plans, and concerns. This approach should respect boundaries and foster trust.
The Expectant Mother's Perspective: Balancing Work and New Parenthood
From the expectant mother’s viewpoint, maternity leave can be challenging. Entrusting others with your responsibilities while adapting to life with a newborn often brings feelings of insecurity and fear of being replaceable. Even well-intentioned comments from co-workers about “doing it all” or suggesting a reduced work schedule can induce self-doubt.
Cloverleaf serves as a valuable tool during this transition. It facilitates better understanding and communication among team members, promoting a sense of connection during the mother’s leave.
Daily coaching tips guide individuals in working with colleagues, identifying those needing more time for queries or others who value recognition for their efforts. Although the newborn initiates the need for this support, the entire team benefits by developing the awareness and skills needed for ongoing improvement.
Maternity Leave: A Catalyst for Growth and Success
When effectively managed, maternity leave becomes a potent catalyst for team growth and individual success. The next time a team member announces their pregnancy, celebrate this opportunity and invest in a comprehensive maternity leave program. As Melinda Gates has famously stated, “When you invest in a woman, you invest in the future.”
NestByRevel.com (Revel’s signature program for women)
Maternity Leave Prep (Link to our Maternity Leave Prep program)
RevelCoach.com (offers free Cloverleaf assessments)
I hope everyone reading this gets an opportunity for a summer break and a chance to recharge and see things from a fresh perspective.