November 8, 2019
Simon Sinek's 2019 book The Infinite Game showed how many problems organisations face today are due to leaders playing the infinite game with a finite mind set. The players come and go but there is no definited end point to business. He showed how these organisations tend to lag behind in innovation, discretionary effort, morale and ultimately performance.
How an organisation approaches maternity leave, and indeed flexible working, is one such an example. Leaders with an infinite mindset see the long term benefits of supporting individual groups, such as parents, in a way that suits them and how introducing and investing in measures that support building diversity and innovation and boost staff morale will benefit a business in the long term.
HR Training Providers DPG found that 9 out of 10 (88%) of mothers experienced problems returning to work after maternity leave. The attitude and relationship between the mother and her line manager are crucial in helping a smooth transition back to work. When the return to work is poorly managed, it not only affects the mother's well-being but it also affects the team and company they work for.
Research by the Women's Business Council showed that planning by mothers and support from their employers are significant factors in whether a mother returns to work following maternity leave.
Mothers who don't feel supported to return to work after maternity leave are less likely to return or remain engaged in their roles. Losing valued and highly skilled women after maternity leave causes significant problems for an organisation from the financial implications of recruitment and training costs to the loss of benefits of having a diverse workforce.
As the pool of talented women shrinks this impacts the female talent pipeline and ultimately an organisations gender pay gap with fewer women reaching leadership and executive roles.
Costly 'Returnship programmes' help organisations redress the gender balance and bring women back into their organisations who have taken a career break.
But wouldn't it be better to approach this with an infinite mindset and support mothers through maternity leave and their return to work so many of them don't see leaving after their maternity leave as the only option?