I've spent the majority of my career working with large organizations/companies to support them in achieving improved outcomes for maternal and child health - mostly for their customers or communities. It's easy to forget however how much needs to be done from within one's own organization - through its employees.
Even great, well-intentioned organizations can leave their employees well-being as second priority. For example, UNICEF is wildly committed and successful in advocating for 6-month maternity leave for entire nations, but while I was on maternity leave, it had only been offering 4-months to its own employees. By US standards, this is still incredible, and I was very grateful still, but how does an organization not live up to its own standards?
I believe this happens within MANY organizations - as employees we shy away from advocating for ourselves, especially women. The good news is after joining my fellow UNICEF colleagues to advocate from within for 6-months leave, this has since changed.
Organizations for and non-profit, I believe, have an underestimated role in the mental wellness of a country, particularly of women who make up 58% of the workforce in the US. Businesses that focus on the mental well-being of mothers specifically through maternity leave, gain the residual, positive effect of longer breastfed babies who are also less frequently sick, which means reduced employee absenteeism and increased productivity upon her return.
Promoting her mental well-being in the workplace also improves employee morale and increases job satisfaction which reduces turnover rates, and loss of institutional knowledge particularly if she leaves the workforce altogether.
And finally, organizations that focus on new moms in the workplace, support her baby, her family and the broader community at large. By doing this, organizations increase contributions to the local economy and a more resilient workforce. So what's not to support?
I'd like to thank Authority Magazine for letting me share what I think the "5 things that Businesses Can Do to Support the Mental Wellness of their Employees." You can read it here.
The video summary can be found here:
I'd love to hear more from all of you what unique or laudable things that businesses are doing for you or their employees, especially for moms and parents?