09/21/2016 Molly Moseley

Offering mother’s hours helps employers discover untapped talent

Kids across the country are back at school, and that means millions of parents are child-free once again during the day. For some, starting a new job is now an attractive option. The school day, however, doesn’t coincide with traditional business hours, which means parents must choose between putting kids in extended-day care or continuing to not work.

An emerging employment trend may be just the solution to this parenting dilemma — “Mother’s hours,” which employers are offering more frequently. These jobs feature flexible hours that often mirror when children are in school, like from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for example. This structure allows caregivers to maintain a career and still be there for their kids when they get on and off the school bus.

This movement is proving to be a win for employers, too. Because most of the country is in full-employment mode, a talent shortage is stressing many industries. Consider a professional mom who took five years off to raise her babies. Previously she worked 12 years as an analyst in the finance sector, and now she wants to use her skills again but she doesn’t want the typical full-time hours. There is a great opportunity for an employer to gain a highly skilled employee by offering flexible hours.

This isn’t an option for every business, of course, but when possible these hours can be really enticing to a large, valuable section of the workforce, providing a great competitive advantage. Companies that participate can build a strong team while creating a fantastic brand reputation. Employees become brand ambassadors and, all of a sudden, the talent pipeline is full with candidates coming to you.

Countless studies have shown that work-life balance is huge right now. When employees feel their employer genuinely prioritizes this balance, they are more engaged and productive at work. What’s more, they stick around. We all know the astronomical cost that comes with replacing an employee. When good employees stay, though, you don’t have to dump money into recruiting or training new ones.

Finally, when employees work a part-time schedule, benefits can be adjusted accordingly. You may get top talent at a bargain price because you not only avoid taking on a full-time salary, but you don’t have to offer traditional full-time benefits such as PTO or 401(k). That’s not to say you shouldn’t offer some perks, but they may not necessarily be the same as what’s offered to full-time staff.

For employers looking to take advantage of this trend, start by integrating the proper terms into job postings. For example, McDonald’s currently has multiple openings associated with the term “mother’s hours.” I’d argue, though, that you should update your keywords and use “parents’ hours,” as fathers may be just as interested in flexible schedules as mothers. Why limit your potential reach with a single word?

Do you think companies would attract more candidates if they were to offer these types of opportunities when possible? Is this the solution to the ongoing talent shortage? Please share your thoughts.