Every year many people leave their jobs for one of the most important factors of life and that’s “Family”. There might be 1000s of reasons and occasions where family need you more than your office, and you have to make a choice, and you do make a wise choice of choosing Family above all. But what come later is the real nightmare, because after that much unavoidable break when you try to get back to your normal professional life, you find it to be not normal anymore. You get to start treated like an alien in your own world.

It really does not need a study to observe who gets impacted the most because of making the tough choice choosing between family and work, the numbers will show you the north for the female professionals. In my over 1.5 decade of experience I have met and even interviewed (Job/Exit) easily over 10,000 females who have left their jobs for their families. Now that reason could be any i.e. Getting Married and shifting to a different city/country, Maternity reasons, Child care, Even in many occasions I have even met women who were forced to leave their jobs post marriage by their spouses or in-laws. So when it is said, life of a women is not easy, it’s not wrong in many ways.

Well! after all that many women professionals do find the right point in their lives when they decide that they really want to go back and do have the consent from all sides as well. But, do they get the well deserving opportunities as they decide to move back? Not always, or rather I must say not easy at all. I am always of the advocacy that talent should be hired for their talent and not for gender or other biases, however that’s not the case with many other hiring managers / business heads. Some of the very common biases that I heard from them while choosing between a male or a female (specially returning from breaks) are like

Irregularities : It’s a very common biased approach that I have observed, when they look at a female’s resume and say “She would not be regular on work, and might take a lot of leaves, today she got married so she left her previous job, tomorrow she will go on Maternity, and then so on”, and hence they chose a male resource over a female. I understand that they might and will have to take offs from work because after all we all work for our families, and we have to take care of them. But, should that become a bottleneck in someones’ career?

Deskilled : This is again one reason I have heard for not hiring a female employee returning from a family break. Well! for that matter even a man can and will also get deskilled if taken a long break from work.

Potential Attrition : They are scared for having a possible attrition, as for them, that female candidate has already left one job for family reason and may leave again. For example, if her spouse is in such a job where he might get transfer i.e. Armed forces, she will also move along with him.

If you ask me, if someone gives these reasons for not hiring a talented female employee and choose a mediocre resource over her, than there is no bigger business mistake one could make. With such a blunder you are not only loosing on a talented resource, but also disrupting the Gender diversity of your organisation. And hence many organisations do make a mistake of hiring anyone and everyone just to maintain the Gender ratio.

Rather today in technologically well connected world, we can choose to hire anyone from anywhere, then why to just let go of great valuable resources. Haven’t you heard of Flexi Working? There are literally more benefits of adopting the Flexi working for both the employee and employer than the challenges. Some major benefits that could be are as below

Benefits to Employers 

  • Increased engagement level : When employees get the freedom to manage their work and personal life, the engagement level increases automatically, as they feel more empowered and in control of their own lives
  • Increased retention : Highly engaged employees love to come to work more often than of those who are less engaged. When you love your workplace you tend to stick to that for much longer period than anywhere else
  • Reduced operational cost : When you allow your employees to work from home, or to choose when they want to work, you actually end up in reduced cost of operations as you don’t have to pay for the workspace, electricity and other hygiene costs for that employee
  • Increased Talent Pool and Gender Diversity: Now since you are open to allow your employees to work from anywhere-anytime, you have actually increased your talent to hire from as now you can approach those female candidates as well that you were ruthlessly ignoring earlier. By adopting Flexi working and opening up to the larger talent pool, you increase your chances of creating a truly Gender Diverse organisation.

Benefits to Employees

  • Ability to manage work-life balance : If you have a flexible working option, then you could easily attend to your family matters, without effecting your work life. For example, if you have to go to attend the parents teacher meeting for children, now you can do that and complete your official tasks upon your return
  • Reduced time and money consumption : Now since you are free to chose your own work time, you can choose the right time to travel to office when the traffic is less, that ways you will save time in commuting and will also save money by buying less fuel. Alternatively, you can also choose not to travel at all, and work from home, saving all the money and time you would have consumed in commuting to office
  • More opportunities : If Flexi working becomes a norm, than there will be a lot more opportunities available for those resources who could not join the regular office workings jobs, because of their family commitments
  • Pursue you passion : When you have the freedom to work, you can also choose to pursue your passion, as now you can decide on what time and how much time you want to devote for your passion. As I have started pursuing my passion of Biking and touring, ever since I moved into flexible working environment.

About the Author

Dr. Manan is the founder of #GlocalizedHR and a 360º HR Setup and Transformation services company Fortune Architect. He is a scholar of Human Resources and works closely with companies design their data-driven talent acquisition strategies that drive effectiveness, growth, and competitive advantage. He also speaks, writes and chairs conferences on HR Development and management.

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