For most women, returning to work after maternity leave is, at the very least, complicated. No matter how much they love their jobs, their bosses, and their colleagues, and no matter how eager they are to return to the professional world, many new mothers feel conflicted about transitioning back to the workplace (and away from being with their new children constantly).
Many companies, too, face challenges during this turbulent period, as they struggle to support and retain their people. A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that "one in five women quit their job before or shortly after the birth of their child in 2006 - 2008."1 But it doesn't have to be this challenging for women to balance motherhood and their careers.
During this pandemic, the frontline manufacturing workforce has played a critical role in the economy by continuing to work behind the scenes to ensure that hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants, and other essential businesses have the goods and supplies they need to keep going. In addition, many manufacturers have demonstrated incredible adaptability by pivoting away from their normal operations and toward producing the vital goods those frontline workers need (masks, ventilators, etc.).
The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated recently released the results of a survey titled "The Death of the Traditional Paycheck, " which focused on "how immediate access to earned wages (i.e., on-demand pay) and financial wellness can support recruitment, retention, and a better employee experience."1 The data revealed that the current paycheck system presents many challenges for workers, most of whom are ready for a change to the status quo.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the whole country hard. Seemingly overnight, everyone was told to stay home. Many organizations quickly pivoted to remote work, and others were forced to furlough or lay off employees. Months later, the business world is still reeling from the financial fallout of the pandemic.
When a company has to tighten its belt, programs deemed "unnecessary" or "optional" usually get dropped first. Unfortunately, diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs often fall into that category. During the pandemic, many such initiatives have landed on the chopping block.
As the world moves into the "new normal" and a new frontier emerges in the state of work, HR departments across the world are being asked to ramp up their employee engagement efforts. The pandemic and its effects on the economy have shaken many organizations to their core, revealing incredible humanity and resiliency - as well as deep fissures that require attention. No one has a roadmap for what comes next, yet the longstanding correlation between employee engagement and organizational health is a clear sign that focusing on engagement can help companies navigate the uncertainly ahead.